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Online Databases Fact Sheet

What is an online database?

The online databases provided by the County Library contain information from published works, including complete articles from magazines, newspapers and books such as Time, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times and the World Book Encyclopedia.

There are different kinds of databases to help you with your research.

How are the online databases different from websites?

Online Databases

  • Material in databases is written by professionals and experts in the field.
  • You often see the EXACT same article that is in the magazine or book. Citation information is given.
  • Most information in databases is not available elsewhere unless you pay for it. You cannot find it using Google or other search engines.
  • Some publishers no longer provide information in print, only in online databases.
  • Cost: Free to you! Even from home.


  • Anyone with a computer can publish on the Web, regardless of expertise.
  • Some websites publish incorrect facts, hoaxes and jokes.
  • There is some excellent and unique information on the Internet, but you have to sort through it and determine its reliability.
  • Search engines use their own guidelines for displaying search results, sometimes influenced by advertisers.
  • Many websites are free, but others charge for information.

How do I use the online databases?

You can access the online databases from any County Library. When accessing databases from home, you will be prompted to enter your 13-digit library card number (no spaces). Click on All Databases to see a list of the Library's databases by subject.

Need help using a database? Call your local County Library or email us.