LibGuides are research guides created by Mount Holyoke librarians. There are different guides for various subject areas or specific classes that point you towards the best resources in each area, and how to use them to complete your research.
Remember it matters WHERE you search. For example, you won't find articles in a catalog, but you will find the title of a journal. Let's go through our checklist of terms before we begin using the tabs at the top of the guide.
Catalog - a compilation of information about books, journals, and films. This source will only tell you the title of a journal; it will not tell you all of the articles that are contained in it. Similary, it will tell you the title of a book, but it will not show you the entire contents of that book. The catalog's purpose is to help you find the items in print or online, not deliver the entire contents of the items to you.
Citation - a reference to an item from which a quotation or information was taken. Includes enough information to locate the original item. For example: a book citation would include author, title, place of publication, publisher and date of publication; an article citation would include author, title, name of periodical, date, and page reference. A citation may be found in a research paper, a periodical index, or in a catalog. A compilation of citations is usually called references, works cited, bibliographies, or endnotes depending on the style guide (APA, MLA, etc).
Database - a collection of information in electronic format. Most of the library's databases are periodical indexes that help you identify articles published in journals. We also have databases that provide statistical information.
Index - a list of topics mentioned in a book (usually at the end of the book), or a periodical index is used to identify articles in journals, magazines, or newspapers.
It also helps to keep in mind that each source is a silo of information, meaning that it only shows the information contained in it, not everything that is available. Searching in JSTOR (a database) for articles, only finds articles in JSTOR, so you might be missing a good article that is in ProjectMuse (another database). These sources are not cross-searchable. You can't search everything with one search box (even Google has limits - more on this topic in the "Deep Web" tab).
Think about what you want to find and use the source (catalog, database, search engine - i.e. Google or Bing) that will give you that type of information. We're here to help you, so ask librarians! Our job is to help you navigate through all the information sources available.