Skip to main content

American Values: A Project: Databases

Use this LibGuide as a resource for your American Values project. Feel free to use the links and any information available.

Database Collection @ VHSLC

Tips for Searching on Databases

Research databases provide students with access to academic and reliable materials and is a necessary tool in any research project. Databases use different algorithms than Google does, so use the following tips in order to get better results:
  • Browse the Index: For this specific project, you might want to look for a catalog of important events. Gale offers historical moments categorized by decade. Feel free to explore that information under "Browse Topics" on the top left hand side of the page.
  • Spelling counts: Databases are case sensitive - therefore make sure you capitalize and spell your terms correctly
  • Avoid Stop Words:  unlike Google - databases will count commonly use words and using them will yield you too many results. Avoid a, an, the, in , of, on, are, be, if, into, which. Make sure all your terms are important to your search
  • Phrase Search: When you are typing a phrase into a database, write it in quotations (i.e. "Great Depression") - otherwise it will search it as separate terms
  • Advanced Search
    • Boolean operators: within advanced searching, you may include various operators in order to yield more specific results to complex search terms. The most basic Boolean operators are AND, OR, NOT
      • Great Depression AND banks
      • Great Depression NOT Euro
      • Great Depression OR "stock market crash of 1929"
      • Other operators are NEAR 5, NEAR 10, NEAR 15. These will search for two keywords that are 5, 10, or 15 words away from each other
    • Within advanced search you may also modify the search fields to narrow  your result by file type, author, date of publication, language, type/subject of journal, and peer-reviewed. The options of fields varies by database. 
  • Truncation Search: in order to expand your keyword search, you may use truncation to include various word endings and spellings (ex. child* = children, childhood)

GALE Databases


Recommended for:

  • General research

  • Subject-based inquiries

  • Multi-media sources (videos, images, audio)

  • Primary sources

  • Reliable information for current events   

‚Äč   Features:

  • Google-compatible: save PDF, links, and citations directly to the drive and classroom
  • Topic Pages: Each collection of materials has a topic page - similar to wikipedia’s format a that provides a summary and a list of sources by media format
  • Currency of information: Gale is updated multiple times a day - therefore the featured content is often current yet vetted material
  • Citation Tools: the database with generate a citation based for each article based on MLA, APA, or Chicago

EBSCO Databases

USERNAME: maroon


  • Explora Secondary Schools: A collection of information developed for high school students organized by subject and topic
  • EbscoHost Web: When searching we recommend using the following collections for this project:
    • Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia: simple and short encyclopedia entries 
    • Novelist K-8: A collection of book summaries and reviews. Searchable by topic and grade level - a great tool to find sample children's books!