Skip to Main Content

Complete Your Assignment - With SFU Library

What's a Database?

A database is a repository of information. Library databases are collections of materials a library has purchased access to. Databases can house eBooks, streaming video, and a wide variety of periodical articles.

College libraries purchase access to many databases. Major publishing companies (e.g. Oxford University Press, Cochrane Library) and database vendors (e.g. EBSCO, Gale, Elsevier, JSTOR...) may provide a variety of collections through multiple databases. Some are subject-specific (e.g. nursing) and some house sources that are in a specific format (e.g. streaming video).  

Material housed in library databases isn't available on the "open web" - you access it by logging in through a library's website.

Discovery Search Tools

Libraries use "discovery" tools so you can search through lots of different databases at once. Your results often include a wide variety of sources including books, eBooks, journal articles, news articles, and media. You can find the Discovery Search box on the library homepage.