Beyond the general databases available to students of the social sciences the first, and in many ways the most important, set of databases the Internet makes widely available are those held by libraries. While most students have utilised the online catalogue of their own library to find books and journals, fewer know about or use the specialised databases offered by their libraries, and fewer still have used the Internet to access the databases and catalogues offered by ‘foreign’ libraries.
Most university libraries are developing and subscribing to a range of useful databases. While some of the more useful of these are only available to registered students, directly from library computer terminals, or though password connections, an increasing number are offering a range of services to the public.
Each of these resources can be utilised to help anyone at any stage of the learning process. For example, looking at the databases listed under ‘Study Skills’, they contain information and offer advice on a range of topics such as how to structure, research and write an essay as well as providing a link to the University of Newcastle’s database on Writing Research Theses and Dissertations.
There is even information on how and where to get advice on finding employment. While each university library site offers different information and directories, the point to remember is that that most are offering a wide range of databases which can be utilised to help both the research and learning processes of any student at any stage of their academic career.