Saturday, November 22, 2014

11 Electronic Databases In the Field of Social Sciences

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

11 Electronic Databases In the Field of Social Sciences


To familiarize the students with different types of  Electronic Databases in Social Sciences.

2. Introduction

The emergence of information and communication technologies (ICT) during last two decades have profoundly impacted all walks of life including teaching learning and research. This has led to development of reading material in electronic format which is available to readers online through the Internet. A stage has arrived where bulk of reading material in printed form is being digitized and made accessible commercially by publishers in the form of databases. During  the last   decade  several databases of  journals, books and other scholarly materials have  been  subscribed to by  libraries and made  available  to  their scholars. Academic Institutions and scholarly societies are producing their research output digitally and making them available to public freely through their institutional repositories.

. Background

In fact, changes in the procedures or practices that have been introduced in the recent past in the provision of access to information or databases have been truly dramatic.  Now most of the librarians have considered the option of replacing significant portion of primary hard copy material with electronic resources.  Three major changes that have occurred during the past four decades can be identified
 i) First, in the early 1970’s abstracting and indexing services i.e. ERIC and Chemical Abstract which provided access to the proint literature were made available as online databases.  In electronic form the records were more widely available.  They had more access points and search was quicker than the print version.  Though libraries cancelled some printed indexing and abstracting subscription, these early databases could not fully replace primary hard copy source material.  A fair amount of full text material were later added to the early online systems.  These were plain ASCII text. Though this was fine for searching information, it could not replace the original richly formatted, illustrated printed pages.
ii) Second; the next major change was the CD-ROM revoluation of 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The feature of CD-ROM as well as facilities like graaphical user interface allowed more refined database implementations.  In spite of the limitation that one disk could hold oly 650 megabytes data, CD-ROM was able to provide a significant amount of fully formatted page images.  And due to low cost production, there was an explosion in the full text electronic reference works consisting of smaller databases. In just 10 years (1985 to 1996) the number of CD-ROM the number of CD-ROM increased from two titles to 5379 titlesThese CD ROM disks could replace some of the primary print material.  In fact CD-ROM disks were mostly secondary sources like bibliographic or small scale primary sources.
iii) Third; the next major change was brought by the Internet.  One can say that the Internet changed everything or more accurately it can be said that it brought many of the promises of earlier technologies to the full potential.  The developments like graphical user interface, cheaper computers at home, and a computer literate population finally provided the environment for extensive end user searching.  As a result, information became widely available and cheap.  With decreasing cost of scanning and storage of full text data, and ever increasing number of Internet users, the publishers of scholarly periodicals could justify mounting  long runs of primary material often with the facility of full text searching.  These developments has forced many librarians to go virtual; substituting significant portions of hard copy collections with electronic only versions. 

4. The Electronic Age: Benefits and Losses

How do we asserts the gains and losses of this electronic age? These are certainly a number of gains for the information service provides and libraries particularly due to the versatility of the World Wide Web.
  • There is no time barrier.  Twenty four hours/seven days a week is the code word of the current electronic age.  One can access information any time.
  • Similarly, there is no distance barrier.  In a sense, world wide access menas team member can share inforamtio and work on projects regardless of geographic or institutional boundaries.
  • Timely and centralized updating of information/databases eliminates the problem of outdated information and errors that were difficult to overcome with print and CD-ROM products.  Also flat rate access has become the preferred model for most of the organizations.  At the same time, due to cheap server equipment and storage, information on the databases can be given free of cost by the organizations for the purpose of publicty.  Also, corrections can be made in the databases quickly on the basis of feedback received from the users. 
  • Hyperlinks were part of the web from the very beginning allowing the users to navigate across databases and find related material.  This hyper linking facility is now getting more popular with cooperative efforts of institutions and database producers who are constantly developing new tools and techniques.  New enhanced features of databases are now becoming increasingly available as interfaces nature.  They take better advantage of the power of computers to create and analyse relationships within the database.
  • Now a days, databases have the ability to add supplementary material such as various types of audio-visual resources in a wide variety of formats.  Data in the form of interactive graphs and spread sheets add totally new dimension to the reading of documents. These are all very important gains.
 However, on the other hand there are certain visible losses also.
  • Perhaps, the most significant loss is transition of a library form ownership model to licensing model.  As librarians and administrators of institutions, many of us are greatly concerned about the increasing amount of  material that is licensed rather than owned by libraries.  This also leads us to contract law (in lieu of copyright law) which means loss of the first sale doctrine that allows libraries to freely lend or give away the specific copy purchased.  It is doctrine that allows libraries to freely lend or give away the specific copy purchased.It is true that a number of database vendors allow their customers to buy the back files of their material through the investment needed is often quite significant.
  • Another loss is the fact that in case of sudden interruption in access to database even for a day or so, there is no alternative to offer the user.  There could be a reason like faulty Internet connection, problem with vendors downloading by the users etc.
  • Also, rapidly changing standards and formats leads to legitimate concern about long time use of material.  One can say that an upgrade path is always technically available.  However, the real question is the cost of the format conversion compared to the value of information.  How many of us find it necessary to maintrain a DOS based on windows version computer? Data/information in a particular format can be transferred, imaged, re-keyed or verbally read into a new format if that information is needed badly by the users.
  • The emergence of large number of interfaces or retrieval systems used in databases is an important disabling factor in the electronic age.  A reader or a regular visitor to a library has lost the age old card catalogue. Many of us have not thought about the card catalogue for a long time.  The card catalogue was essentially a universal interface prominently on display in every library of the world.  By using card catalogue the library users may not have found what they actually wanted, but they at least knew they were looking at right resource and has some idea as to how the catalogue worked.
The Internet has changed the information retrieval scenario to a great extent.  The way people access data or information has dramatically changed.  Now information is widely and inexpensively available.  There are notable gains as the users are allowed to uncover obscure facts, quotes, organizations and practical information (e.g. weather report, traffic conditions, maps etc.) with a few clicks.  Previously, locating such information would have required number of phone calls or consulting print resources. One can say that lack of barriers to publication on the web has been found to be good in terms of previously hidden information.  It has created problems in terms of determining whether the information located on the Internet is authentic or of high quality. 

5. Important Features of Databases

The electronic databases have the following important features.
  • Huge information reservoir
  • Up-to-date information
  • Multimedia format
  • Quick information retrieval
  • Multidisciplinary approach
  • Peer-reviewed Information sources
  • Various search options
  • Special services i.e. Selective Dissemination of Inforamtion (SDI), Alerts, etc.
These databases contain virtually millions of records and   keep increasing on daily basis. They not only contain textual information but also have images, audio and videos. All these databases have inbuilt search engines which allow a user to carry out search by author, title, subject and keywords. It also leads to quicker retrieval of information.
Electronic databases allow a user to have additional value added services like SDI and article alerts. As and when an article or information appears in the database of a reader’s choice or interest, he or she is immediately informed by email. This saves a lot of time of user and also leads to effective utilization of resources.

6. Contents of Databases:

An electronic database may consist of following
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Book reviews/chapters/citations
  • Dissertations/theses
  • Citation and Analysis
  • Abstracts of articles/theses 

7.0 Kinds of Databases

Electronic databases can be divided in following broad categories:
  • Aggregators
  • Subject specific
  • Full text
  • Abstract only
  • Citation only

7.1 Aggregators

Databases of full-text articles defined by subject area and sold as a single product, rather than as individual subscriptions. An aggregator is essentially a vendor or distributor who provides access to several databases of different kinds. Proquest ( and Ebsco Publishing ( are to major aggregators.

7.2 Subject Specific Databases

Databases which are confined to a particular subject and are brought out mostly by learned societies or organizations are described as subject databases. Databases brought out American Psychological Association, American Marketing Associations are good examples of subject specific databases which are available for subscription as single product.

7.3 Full Text Databases

Full text database consist of complete text of the subject covered by the database like journals, books and magazines. Business Source Premier and ABI –INFORM   are full text databases of   journals in the area of business and management.( (

7.4 Abstract only Databases

Some databases like econolit contain only abstracts of articles but allow one to access full text by providing links. (

7.5 Citation Databases

Citation databases like Scopus and Web of Knowledge are citation analysis data bases allowing one to know as to how many times a particular research paper has been cited by other  researchers. (

8. Guidelines for Databases

Following steps are involved in creating a database.
  • Journal article is published
  • “Content Providers” / Publishers/copyright holders
  • Sold/licensed to vendors
  • Indexers and Abstractors added to database
  • Vendor sells/licenses database to libraries
  • Subscriptions paid yearly

9. Some important Databases in Social Sciences

Some important databases in the field of social sciences are described below with their features.
H.W.Wilson provides a number of subject-based indexes  with a substantial full-text content.  Citations typically include abstracts and in many cases link out to the library’s OPAC, other databases and Web sites.  Subject-specific titles include:
  • Education Full Text
  • General Scince Full Text
  • Humanities Full Text
  • Social Sciences Full Text
  • Wilson Business Full Text
These and more are included in Wilson’s OmniFile full Text database, which covers more than 4,000 journals, nearly 60 percent of them full-text ( a ‘Select Edition” carries full-text records only).
On Line Index Indian Periodicals.
As regards, social science journal articles published in India, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi has developed a package containing index of articles that have appeared in 105Indian periodicals.  The database is known as on-line Index (OLI).  The OLI is made available to the scholars free of cost through the Internet. On the basis of suggestions received from scholars, ISID has also brought out print version of the index to certain important periodicals.  The first volume published in print form contained articles published in Economic and political weekly(EPW) (1966-1996). The second volume in the series brought out in 1997 contained index to articles published in major sixteen economics journals.  Later, a revised and consolidated edition for EPW articles appeared covering the period 1966-2006 with author and subject index.
Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Database.
In India, the Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre , an autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of the university Grants Commission (UGC), is presently involved in creating infrastructure for sharing of library and information resources among academic and research institutions.  Under the project ‘Shodhganga’, the INFLIBNET programme is developing a digital repository of Phd Theses and dissertations that have been submitted to University departments. It would be accessible to all institutes and universities in the country ‘Shodhganga’ is using D-Space open source digitial repository software for this purpose.  In 2009, the UGC passed a resolution for submitting M.Phil and Phd Theses on-one.  This project was launched in 2010 and so far 40 universities across the country have joined this project and as a result, INFLIBNET has been able to create a repository containing approximately 15,000 Theses and dissertations from all subject fields; natural science, social sciences and the humanities.

 Current Abstracts
Current Abstracts offers complete bibliographic citation information for nearly 9,800 scholarly academic journals. This database provides up-to-date table of contents, abstracting and indexing for all included journals.
 Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, (LISTA) 
It indexes more than 600 periodicals, plus books, research reports and proceedings. Subject coverage includes librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more. Coverage in the database extends back files as far as the mid-1960s.
 ABI/INFORM Complete
The Database Includes: ABI/INFORM Dateline, ABI/INFORM Global, and ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. It provides a comprehensive coverage of business and economic events from across the globe.           
It offers nearly 3,000 full-text titles covering business and economic conditions, corporate strategies, management techniques, as well as competitive and product information.
The Database includes 3970 journals and provides access to 14,000 full-text doctoral dissertations and master’s theses; 5,200 documents available from the publishers Ivey, Thunderbird, Idea Group, and Darden; The Wall Street Journal, Eastern Edition; the premier business newspaper in North America, with back file coverage to 1984; and linking to Safari Business Books Online.
 Academic Search Premier
ASP covers nearly every area of academic study including: computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, ethnic studies, and many more.
It is the world's largest scholarly, multi-disciplinary full text database containing full-text of 4,650 serials, including more than 3,600 peer-reviewed publications. It offers indexing and abstracts for more than 8,200 journals in the collection. PDF back files to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and it provides searchable cited references for more than 1,000 titles.  Emerald Management Xtra
Emerald Management Xtra is the largest, most comprehensive collection of peer reviewed management journals and online support for librarians, faculty, researchers and deans.
By bringing together integrated access to journals, reviews and user-centric support resources, Emerald Management Xtra helps position the library at the heart of a university's service provision.
It offers much more than journals in a library or papers online; Emerald Management Xtra provides the opportunity to exchange ideas and information, get to know what is happening in the world of research work-in-progress, find out what relevant conferences are being planned and read reviews of previous ones.
•           190 full text journals
•           Reviews from the world's top 300 management journals
•           Access to over 75,000 full text management articles of the highest calibre
Emerald Management Xtra offers an extending collection of 75,000 full text articles from journals published by Emerald, which include more peer-reviewed primary journals in management than any other publisher.
 Humanities International Complete
Humanities International Complete is a comprehensive database of humanities content, providing full text of hundreds of journals, books and other published sources from around the world.  This database includes all data from American Humanities Index and Humanities International Index (over 2,000 titles and 2 million records). The database includes full text for more than 770 journals. 
HIC is an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and educators interested in all aspects of the humanities, with worldwide content pertaining to literary, scholarly and creative thought.
 Sage Journals Online
The SAGE Full-Text Collections are award-winning, discipline-specific research databases of the most popular peer-reviewed journals in Communication Studies, Criminology, Education, Management & Organization Studies, Materials Science, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Urban Studies & Planning published by SAGE Publications and participating societies.
These comprehensive databases include more than 256 journals, 360,000 articles, book reviews, and editorials, with all the original graphics, tables, and page numbers. The Collections provide researchers and students with a research environment that is easy to use and complete with the most up-to-date content and back files back to volume 1, issue 1.
 Soc Index with Full text
SocINDEX with Full Text is the world's most comprehensive and highest quality sociology research database. The database features more than 1,910,000 records with subject headings from a 19,300 term sociological thesaurus designed by subject experts and expert lexicographers. SocINDEX with Full Text contains full text for 397 "core" coverage journals dating back to 1908, and 150 "priority" coverage journals. This database also includes full text for more than 720 books and monographs, and full text for 6,743 conference papers.
SocINDEX with Full Text offers comprehensive coverage of sociology including abortion, criminology & criminal justice, demography, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, marriage & family, political sociology, religion, rural & urban sociology, social development, social psychology, social structure, social work, socio-cultural anthropology, sociological history, sociological research, sociological theory, substance abuse & other addictions, violence and many others.
 Cambridge University Press (CUP)
In line with the CUP commitment of Cambridge University Press (CUP)to advance learning, knowledge and research worldwide, the CUPv currently publishes over 220 peer-reviewed academic journals for the global market. Containing the latest research from a broad sweep of subject areas, Cambridge journals are accessible worldwide in print and online
J-STOR is a not–for–profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive of over one thousand academic journals and other scholarly content
JSTOR was founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. Today, it works with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources.

With participation and support from the international scholarly community, JSTOR has created a high-quality, interdisciplinary archive of scholarship, is actively preserving over one thousand academic journals in both digital and print formats, and continues to greatly expand access to scholarly works and other materials needed for research and teaching globally.

JSTOR offers a high-quality, interdisciplinary archive to support scholarship and teaching. It includes archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. The entire corpus is full-text searchable, offers search term highlighting, includes high-quality images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references.
The archive is unique in terms of scale, content, and the significant use it receives. It is recognized specifically for:

•           offering a unique, interlinked aggregation of scholarly works
•           facilitating interdisciplinary and historical research
•           exemplary standards for digitization and completeness
•           interfaces and functionality that support academic use
•           highly reliable access
•           Long-term preservation

 Oxford University Press       (OUP)
Oxford Journals is a division of Oxford University Press,  (OUP)which is a department of Oxford University. It publishes well over 230 academic and research journals covering a broad range of subject areas, two-thirds of which are published in collaboration with learned societies and other international organizations.

Oxford Journals is working with over 100 society partners to maximize the global reach of journals published by us on their behalf. It engages with librarians through advisory groups and other means to ensure that it continues to meet their changing needs.

The American Psychological Associations’s (APA) PsycInfo indexes more than 2,100 journals, along with books, book chapers and dissertations.  Some citations date back to the nineteenth century and coverage is international in scope.  PsycInfo is available directly from the APA or from a variety of vendors including EBSCO, OCLC First Search and ProQuest.

During the past twenty years, several new periodcal databases and indexes have been added in the list of available sources.  There are now many databases to choose from and it sometimes become confusing.  How do we identify or know the coverage of databases in details so that we can satisfy the need of a specialized user.  There are tools now available to help us to know which journal titles are included in which indexes. 

For example Serials Solutions (nttp:// work from a customized list of databases provided by a library to the readers.  When the title of a periodicals is entered, it will tell the library which of the databases contain full text articles from that particular periodical and for what years.  A library can also subscribe to its article linker feature which allows one to provide more information about a particular article.  The reader is looking for and also in certain cases provides direct links to the article in the database.

Similarly, EBSCO A to Z ( to z)) offers this type of solutions to the libraries.  One can customize the list of databases so that users searching to AtoZ product will find which of libraries databases cover which journal.  One can also list of print journals that are subscribed to by the library.  The readers will be able to know which titles are available only in print.

Another ijportant source for periodicals is the Ulrichs’  It offers a comprehensive listing of information of all kinds of magazines, journals, newspapers, newsletters, etc. it has alist of over 2,50,000 titles that are published from 200 countries.  The details provided  include pricing and publishers information as well as where they are indexed. By using this directory, libraries can also set up the capability of link from journal titles to full text (Through Serials Solution or several other tools) or to the holding record of the library. There are links to the full text version in many cases.  A handful of companies i.e. Wilson, Gate ProQuest, BESCO, Lexis Nexis, OCLC Produce most of the database so that many of the interfaces look similar to each other.

As a matter of fact, social sciences have become home for evershifting constituency of disciplines.  Several inter-disciplinary topics have found place in it.  Internet and other electronic media are having a major impact upon both the subject area and its library and information services.  Finding information is not a problem the difficult task lies in locating relevant high quality resources.  Today, almost all libraries subscribe to web based periodical indexes and abstracts to help their user locate articles.  The web based indexes are clearly superior to their print counterparts in many ways; searching is easier, faster and more flexible, and there are links to the full text version in many cases.A handful of companies i e Wilson,Gale,Pro Quest,EBSCO,Lexis Nexis,OCLC produce most of the databases so that many of the interfaces look similar to each other. 


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