Back to Top
Close Menu

Sidney Martin Library

Research Help

How to Use the Library

Understanding Basics with some Key Definitions

Database: an organized collection of records whose data can be searched to retrieve a record(s) e.g. OPAC (On-line Public Access Catalogue) is a database of the holdings – books, journals, multimedia etc. of the Cave Hill Campus libraries.  Psychinfo is a database of articles published in the field of psychology.

When you retrieve a record in the library’s OPAC you will be pointed to where to find that item on the shelf. When you retrieve a record in an article database like Psychinfo, 90% of the time you will have access to the full text of the article associated with that record. 

Click here for useful database searching tips »


Web Subject Directory: An internet research tool on the World Wide Web that organizes internet resources by subject headings and subheadings.  Subject directories are usually compiled by human beings who apply some selection criteria to resources included in the database.(

There are two types of these directories:

  1. Commercial e.g. yahoo, google

  2. Professional e.g. Intute, Infomine.

Specialised Search Engine: Unlike your general purpose search engines like Yahoo, Google, these search engines tend to generally focus on the scholarly literature in a specialized field of study.

Currently the majority of these are to be found in the Pure and Applied Sciences.  Google Scholar is an example of a multidisciplinary specialized search engine.

Meta Search Engine: a search engine which executes your search query across several search engines at the same time.

Need help identifying a topic to research?  Click here for some suggestions! »

Useful Research Resources: Online academic research