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Differences Between Electronic Databases & Print Indexes

 
 
ELECTRONIC DATABASES

PRINT INDEXES

Sometimes have full-text Never have full-text
Some subject areas are covered only by electronic databases Some subject areas are covered mainly by print indexes
Are updated more quickly than print indexes Are updated less frequently than electronic databases
Do not go back as far as print indexes Cover a longer range of years than electronic databases do
Can search several years all at once, so search takes less time Must search one year or a portion of a year, one volume at a time
Can search a word or phrase found in the subject, title or abstract = several access points Search is usually limited to a word or phrase which is the official subject heading recognized by the index
Can search several concepts all at once using Boolean and or Boolean or (Examples: math and homework, women or females) Can search only one concept at a time, must then read the article title or abstract to see if the article covers the other concepts of interest to you
Can use truncation (Example: handicap* picks up all forms of the word "handicap", such as handicap, handicaps, handicapped, etc.) Cannot use truncation; instead you must look up each form of the word separately
Some databases can be searched off campus via home computers Print indexes must be used in the Library building
Works when computer system works Can use if computer system is down
 
 

 


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Last Updated: 24-Jun-2013 | Questions or comments to librarian@apsu.edu