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University Library

Electronic Resources Training

Database Basics

What Is a Library Database?

  • A library database is an electronic (online) catalog,  index, and/or full-text of the published items
  • Library databases are searchable
  • The library subscribes to many databases so the Cal State LA community has access to these resources.  When you're searching a database, you are not searching "the web".

What Types of Resources Are Covered by Library Databases?

  • Articles in Journals/Magazines/Newspapers
  • Reference Information (i.e. entries from Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc.)
  • eBooks
  • Documents including primary sources
  • Media including streaming videos, streaming music, images, and art works
  • Data, data sets, and statistics 
  • Open Access journals, magazine, and ebooks that you can access without login  

How Do Library Databases Differ in What They Cover?
Some library databases index items from many subject areas. If you're not sure which database to choose, the Academic Search Complete database is a good place to start.  Most library databases index items from a specific subject (i.e. academic discipline). To locate a database by subject, go to the Database page, select databases by subject. 

How to Access Library Databases?

The University Library subscribes to over 240 electronic databases.  These databases covers scholarly journal articles in a variety of subject disciplines, and streaming videos, streaming music, reference material including encyclopedias, statistical data, art works and images, as well as primary sources.  

All of these databases are accessible both on- and off-campus.  If you need to access the library databases from off-campus, you can either launch the VPN or via EZPorxy login using your MyCalStateLA Identity ID and password when prompted. 

To access library databases, go to library homepage (, and click Databases link. 

You can select a database by name, subject, type, and vendor, or search database by keyword




John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300