collage of ports

This site will be taken down June 30, 2018.

The Penn Online Research Tutorial (PORT) site was built with old software that is neither sustainable nor secure.
The pages have not been maintained, but they can be consulted for historical reference on the Internet Archive.
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Subject Specific Vs. General Resources
Subject Specific Databases
Some resources provide content with a specific discipline in mind; these tools typically provide comprehensive coverage of scholarly literature in a defined field. For instance, a database might strive to list every scholarly journal article written about American History. Works listed in such databases usually range from merely scholarly to highly technical.

General Databases
General databases typically include information about articles from many disciplines, but don't cover any discipline as comprehensively as a subject specific database would. General databases also in

Subject specific vs. general databases:

Content: Subject Specific vs. General Databases

Subject specific databases are especially good for

  • Searches that are comprehensive within a discipline
  • Finding articles about little-studied topics
  • Limiting your search to scholarly articles
  • In-depth research

General databases are especially good for

  • Performing multi-disciplinary searches
  • Finding information when there is no clear discipline
  • Likelihood of finding some information about any general topic
  • Browsing and starting the search process

Features: Subject Specific vs. General Databases

  Subject Specific Databases General Databases
Credibility of material Generally high Varies
Level of resources Mostly scholarly Varies
Availability of full-text Moderate High
Search capabilities Sophisticated, subject specific search features Sophisticated