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Halifax Public Libraries


Websites Vs. Databases

Websites and databases are valuable research tools that have their own advantages and disadvantages. Websites are searched using a search engine, like Google, and are available for free. Databases are paid for by the library. You can access them through the library’s website. You may need a library card to use them.

When should I use a database and when should I search the Internet?

Use a database when:

  • you want access to magazine and newspaper articles or statistical information
  • your teacher says you can’t use the web. Most database articles have already printed in other sources, like Maclean's magazine, and can be cited like a printed source.
  • you want to be able to quickly judge the quality of the article. Most databases clearly identify where and when an article was published, and who wrote it.

Use the Internet when:

  • you want access to a particular website
  • you want information about an organization. Many organizations have websites that give information not readily available in print
  • you are willing to evaluate the quality of the content
  • you want government information. A lot of government information is only available online
  • you want really current information

Questions to ask when evaluating a source:

  • How current is the information? When was it published or last updated?

  • Who wrote it? What biases might they have? What expertise do they have? Are they affiliated with a reputable organization?

  • Who does the website link to and who links to them? This can tell you a lot about biases. Are the links active and up to date?

  • What is the purpose of the site? Is the purpose clearly stated? Does the information seem to support the purpose?

  • Does the information seem accurate? Does it match with information from other sources? Does the writing follow basic grammar and spelling rules?


  • The Lie Tree
  • The way he lived
  • A drop of night
  • Thief of lies
  • Defender
  • Character, driven
  • Every young adult's break-up survival guide
  • Hidden gold
  • The heart of stone
  • The last boy and girl in the world
  • The epidemic
  • I see reality
  • Finding Hope
  • Under the Dusty Moon
  • Flawd
  • Dark energy
  • Hot pterodactyl boyfriend
  • Harmony House
  • Burning
  • See no color
  • One of us
  • A tangle of gold
  • It should have been a #GoodDay
  • Beautiful broken things
  • The radiant road
  • Speak a word for freedom
  • When we collided
  • Hit count
  • Fig
  • The beast of Cretacea
  • Essential maps for the lost
  • Queen
  • Exit, pursued by a bear
  • The Raven King
  • Breakaway
  • The forbidden orchid
  • The young adult's guide to public speaking