A database provides a way of organizing information so that you can easily find what you are looking for.

We usually think of searchable electronic indexes and catalogs when we refer to databases. The library catalog, Academic Search Complete, and LexisNexis Academic are examples of electronic databases. They let you quickly go to a topic in books or periodicals.

In an electronic database each article or book has its own record, which provides information about it.

Each record is composed of individual pieces of information called fields. Fields include such information as the author, title, publisher, subject heading, etc. for that item. Each of these fields is a searchable access point to the information.