Answered By: Gabe Gossett
Last Updated: Jan 14, 2016     Views: 1187

A citation database includes information about sources. Citation information included describes a source, including details such as author, date published, source, and other details. Sometimes the databases will also include information such the sources cited by another source or who has cited the source you are looking at. Citation databases are typically focused on journal articles, but may include other sources such as books, dissertations, videos, and reports.

Keep in mind that a citation database will not necessarily give you access to the items it indexes, also described as "full text" access. 

Examples of citation databases include PsycINFO and Web of Science. While they will not provide direct access to full text, the full text of articles are usually just a few clicks away using the Find It button.

Example Find It button
Find It button example

Comments (2)

  1. This helps but my question is: Is Google considered a data base for citation purposes? I mean it is a search engine but technically isn't it a data base? Some citations ask "if the information was retrieved from a data base." Since I am searching on and retrieving from Google,,,, should I not include this when the citation ask "Did you retrieve from a data base?" I'm on the fence...I've used data bases in school and understand the difference but there are also similarities.
    by April on Jan 04, 2017.
  2. Hi, April.

    That's a good question, and like many things, the answer is, "It depends." But your first question: Is Google a database. You are correct, it is a search engine. And when citations mention something being from a database, I would not consider Google a database like I would something from EBSCO.

    If you are citing an article from a news site or a webpage, you could site it as an online news source or website. If you are citing from an online journal, you can cite it as an online journal. Most citation styles will ask that you use a URL or DOI (Digital Online Identifier). So, while you wouldn't use Google or Google Scholar as the database name, you would cite the item as an online source.

    If you still aren't sure or have specific questions, you can message us or chat with someone in the Libraries Ask Us page: http://askus.library.wwu.edu/.
    by Elizabeth Stephan on Jan 04, 2017.

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