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Using Databases

This tutorial contain information about the basics of searching most of the CUW databases. Need help with a specific database? Scroll down or look for a tutorial on the relevant subject guide.

Databases (Alphabetical list)
Databases by Subject


  • Databases are searchable collections of electronic articles, books, video, and audio that are not available free online.
  • Use your portal login to access databases.
  • Use keywords or subject terms to search for items, and filters to narrow your results.
  • Subject terms provide more relevant results and are specific to each database.
  • CUW Databases come from 3 main providers. Databases from the same provider have similar interfaces and can be searched together. 

What are Databases?

This video will cover the basics of databases and when you should use them.

Google vs. Databases (2 min)

General Database Searching

This video clip covers basic features of most databases including keywords, filters, and results display options.

Basic Features and Filters (2 min)

Reading a Database Record (1 min)

Databases provide metadata, which is information about the item you have found, that can be used to evaluate the item. This video will cover what to look for in metadata.

Should I use this result? (2 min)

This video covers more about the types of journal articles in library databases.

Is this source scholarly? (2 min)

Using Specific Databases

Need help searching in a specific database? Most CUW library databases are from one of 3 providers: Ebscohost, ProQuest, or Gale. Each provider has a unique interface for searching. You must be logged in to Portal to access databases off-campus.

Which provider is it?

In the Databases A-Z list, the provider/vendor is always listed in parenthesis after the database.

A-z databases list

Inside the database, look for the provider logo near the database title.

Ebscohost databases
Proquest vender database
Gale Vender Database

Provider interfaces

Each provider uses the similar layout for all of its databases. Some of the advanced search filters and options will vary however. Watch the videos below to learn about each interface.

ProQuest (Proquest Central)

Go to: Proquest

EbscoHost (Search Complete)

1. Go to: EbscoHost

Gale (Opposing Viewpoints)

Double click any video to open a larger version.

Note: Subject Specific Database Tutorials are Located in the Subject Guides on the Databases tab.

Using Subject Terms

Subject terms: standardized terms for different topics or source types assigned by librarians. 

Subject terms are specific to each provider but are often based on Library of Congress or MeSH Classification. Look for your topic in a database thesaurus to find the best subject terms.

Subject Terms vs. Keywords (2 min)

Double click any video to open a larger version.



Go to: Subject Terms

Search Multiple Databases at Once


Databases from the same provider (Ebsco, ProQuest) can be searched at the same time. However, each database has different advanced search filters.

1. Go to: Proquest. 

2. Click “View By Subject”.

Click View by Subject link

3. Click on one subject area, OR check the box next to multiple subject areas, then “use selected databases”.

Click a subject area or check multiple areas at once


1. Go to: EbscoHost

2. Read the database descriptions and check the best databases for your topic.

3. Click the Continue button.

Check the databases of interest then select continue

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