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Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Library: Electronic Database Information

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Information


What is an Electronic Database?

An Electronic Database is a computer-based collection or listing of information.  It can include professional, peer-reviewed journal articles that are organized in a systematic way with searchable elements or fields.  This allows the search to be fast and easy.

How do We Search Electronic Databases?

The  below sub-sections/tabs provide tools and resources that show you:

  •  "How To" organize your literature searches to access information from available electronic databases using:
    • Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Terms and;
    • Boolean Operators        

.*** Please Note:  As you explore searching the electronic database tabs, please note that becoming proficient at searching requires trial-and-error practice.  So, the tabs provide resources/tools, but you should anticipate the need to spend "time" exploring each database to learn their different formats, layout, tools, etc. so that you can develop efficient search strategies and habits ***

For assistance in searching online databases, please refer to the PubMed, CINAHL, and eBooks sections under this tab.  There are step-by-step tutorials for searching those databases.

Quick Links to the electronic databases are available on the Home Tab, Electronic Searching Tab, and below.


What are MeSH terms? 

MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings, and is best described in the excerpt from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s, "Fact Sheet, Medical Subject Headings" (2013a):

"MeSH is the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus. It consists of sets of terms naming descriptors in a hierarchical structure that permits searching at various levels of specificity.   MeSH descriptors are arranged in both an alphabetic and a hierarchical structure. At the most general level of the hierarchical structure are very broad headings such as "Anatomy" or "Mental Disorders." More specific headings are found at more narrow levels of the twelve-level hierarchy, such as "Ankle" and "Conduct Disorder." There are 27,149 descriptors in 2014 MeSH. There are also over 218,000 entry terms that assist in finding the most appropriate MeSH Heading, for example, "Vitamin C" is an entry term to "Ascorbic Acid." In addition to these headings, there are more than 219,000 headings called Supplementary Concept Records (formerly Supplementary Chemical Records) within a separate thesaurus"  

To understand using MeSH terms to perform literature searches, review the following video tutorials:  

nks to an external site.)


Boolean Operators:

  • Include 3 "connector" words (AND, OR, & NOT) used to either broaden or narrow your search
    • Example of "AND":  "fur" AND "paws" will give animals that have both fur and paws (i.e., cats, dogs, squirrels) 
    • Example of "OR":  "fur" OR "paws" will give animals that have either fur or paws (i.e., cats, raccoons, cows, deer, goats)
    • Example of "NOT":  "fur" NOT "paws" will give animals that do not have paws (deer, goats, sheep)
  • "AND", "OR", & "NOT" are usually capitalized when using in Boolean Operators.
  • Used to generate more efficient, focused, and exact search results (Alliant Libraries, n.d.)

Review the following short tutorials to provide you with a "how to use" overview of boolean operators:

The following link provides a cheat sheet guiding you through the process of

using boolean operators:


Below are some additional resources to assist in searching electronic databases

Library Database vs Google

Which is better, using the Library Database or Google?  Watch this video and find out....


This video was created by a previous Librarian.  If you need assistance, please email, call or stop by the Library for assistance.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Cassie Dixon.  You may either stop by the Library, call, or send an email.