My Information Skills

Self-paced tutorials on research and study skills for TAFE SA students

Databases vs. the Internet

Google can find you some great sources of information, but will only find free and open information, and will rank results by popularity rather than quality. You will often miss out on the most scholarly information and it can be especially difficult to verify the accuracy of information that could have been put there by anyone in the world.

Library databases are online collections of articles, videos, images and information that you can limit to only sources that have been checked by experts in your field who have done proper scholarly research. Because scholarly articles often cost money to access, they are not found by search engines and are found only in what is known as 'the deep web'.

  TAFE SA Online Databases Internet
Accessibility Designed so that students can search and retrieve information using different search options, such as limiting to particular authors or subjects. Information overload!
Cost Articles from scholarly journals, Australian Standards and Building Codes are paid for by the library and accessible to staff and students of TAFE SA for free. Searching is free via Google Scholar, however you will often need to pay for full access to articles, standards and building codes.
Searching You are only searching for information within each database and there are many options to limit your search to exactly what you are looking for. You are searching billions of pages and it is not as easy to limit your results.
Authority, accuracy and bias Resources have been evaluated and recommended for inclusion into the databases by experts in the field. Anyone can put information on the internet and individuals or organisations may have a hidden agenda.
Advertisements Databases are advertisement free. Yes, and your top search results will contain advertisements.
Content You can search specifically for case studies, industry journal articles, SWOT analyses, best practice sheets and standards. You will get a mixed result list and it can be hard to limit to a particular type of source.

Watch this short YouTube clip produced by the John M. Pfau Library to gain a greater understanding of how libraries can help you access 'the deep web' as a safer alternative to Google for tertiary-level research: