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LCC Library

ESL: English as a Second Language: Magazines and Newspapers

LCC Library resources for English language learners

What's a Database?

What's a Library Database tutorial

Database Search Tips

You are probably used to searching Google.  But databases are different, and if you search them as if they are Google you might not find much.  Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Spell it right!  The databases won't correct your spelling, so if nothing comes back, maybe you just misspelled something.

  • Keep it simple.  Search for only two or three words at a time, not whole sentences.

  • Only important words.  Only use the words that most describe your topic, not other topics. For example, you wouldn't want to use the words the, an, a, or, for, of, from, to, or even effects or how

  • Try, try again.  If your search doesn't bring back enough results the first time, search again using other words that mean similar things.

  • Wikipedia can actually help . . . If you're not sure what words to use, it can be a good idea to check other websites like Wikipedia or a thesaurus to find words to search for in the databases.

Easy Reading Databases

Library databases are organized collections of magazine and newspaper articles.  The articles were originally published on paper, and often can't be found for free on the Internet. The Library pays so that you can access them.

You can search these databases to find articles about your topic that are also at your reading level. Use "advanced search" to specify which Lexile reading level you need.

Primary Search

Primary Search
Search more than 60 popular magazines at an elementary school reading level. Users may limit searches to articles within a certain range of Lexile Reading Levels.

Middle search plus
Middle Search Plus
Search more than 140 popular magazines at a middle school reading level. Users may limit searches to articles within a certain range of Lexile Reading Levels. Also contains biographies and an Image Collection of photos, maps and flags.
MAS ultra database MAS Ultra - School Edition
Search more than 700 popular magazines at a high school reading level. Also contains pamphlets, reference books, biographies and an Image Collection.

Examples of Database Searches

Searching Library Databases is Different from Searching Google

In Google you can type almost anything and still get useful articles. But the databases can be more tricky. When you search a database, make sure you use as few words as possible.  Compare this example of a Google search to the same search in a database:

If you don't get enough results, you can try different ways to say the same thing, for example:

Google Search    Database Search
the effects of television advertising
on young children
TV commercials toddlers                    

Here are some other examples:

Google Search    Database Search
the popularity of hip-hop music in Cuba hip hop cuba                        

Google Search    Database Search
how college students can reduce the effects of stress   college students reduce stress                

Google Search    Database Search
does capital punishment reduce the crime rate?         capital punishment crime rate                
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