Finding Knowledge in Digital Library

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The age of technology has changed the way in which scholars, researchers, and even non-scholars find knowledge. Basically, finding information has become easier, convenient, and effective due to the technological revolution (Thede & Sewell, 2010). In particular, the presence of the internet plays a fundamentally vital role when it comes to researching and obtaining information. Using the internet information can be found in the digital libraries or the search engines. However, these two sources are essentially different because of the nature, scope, and credibility of the information they contain. In that light, therefore, this paper compares the knowledge found in the digital library databases versus the search engines.

Comparing the Knowledge found in Digital Databases and Search Engines

When comparing the information retrieved from both the digital databases and the search engines, there are various aspects that should be considered. In particular, these aspects include the type of information obtained, the circumstances of use, accessibility and usability among others. As such, this comparison will take such a format in order to understand how these two sources compare in different aspects.

Type of Sources Found

Essentially, the two sources of information differ in regard to the type of knowledge obtained from them. In the online digital libraries databases, there are numerous scholarly journals articles regarding various fields of nursing and diagnosis. Besides, the databases include crucial nursing directories that students and researchers can use to obtain specific information and descriptions. Further, the databases contain many credible books that address different issues according to the orientations of the authors. On the other hand, the search engines such as Google and Bing have different characteristics when it comes to the types of sources. First, the number of scholarly journals and books found in the search engines is essentially smaller than the databases (Risjord, 2010). In addition to this, the search engines rely of popular, commercial and governmental websites to obtain information. In this case, some of the websites include Wikipedia, eBay, Library of Congress and U.S. Census Bureau. Further, in regard to the issue of content, the digital library databases do not contain sponsored ads such as the Adsense. In contrast, the search engines are mostly full of ads and sponsors that aim to make money through traffic and clicks. These ads usually obstruct the users because they even cover some important parts of the information that is read. In fact, the absence of ads in the databases makes the users prefer the digital libraries to the search engines in case they have access to both sources.

Creditability of the Information and Review Procedures

The online library databases are controlled by the administrations personnel who review the information being published. As such, it contains information that has been thoroughly reviewed and written by professionals or journalists. This is an indication that the information published must come from a credible source and author. On the other hand, the search engines are not controlled to ensure this credibility and reliability of the information (Finkelman, 2012). Anybody is allowed to develop and publish content regardless of their academic or professional qualifications. In other words, the search engines mainly contain of opinions and ideas that may not have scientific backing. Further, the information provided for publication is analyzed to determine its accuracy level and relevance. On the other hand, the evaluation of accuracy and relevance is not done. As such, scholars and researchers cannot rely on the search engines to make crucial scientific determinations in nursing such as literature review. Lastly, the databases are always updated on regular basis. This exercise ensures that the information is current and up-to-date in order to keep tracking changes in the diagnostic and nursing world. On other hand, most of the search engines are not updated regularly despite their biasness and unreliability. In that regard, therefore, relying on the information they provide is not preferred because of information currency.

When to Use

In essence, the databases are suitable for college and university level students and scholars. This is based on the fact that the information found in the libraries is credible and evaluated for accuracy. On the other hand, the search engines can be used by nurses for personal use. In fact, in most cases, the search engines are preferred to provide background information or act as the point of departure during research. In addition to this, the databases are used when scholars or researchers need to find valid and credible knowledge quickly. On the contrary, the search engines are used when the scholar has ample time to evaluate information for accuracy and determine the one that will be used.

Cost of Retrieval

Most of the databases usually have a fee that must be paid in order to access the information contained. In this case, the payment might be done as tuition fee of taxes to the state. The information contained in the search engines is usually provide free of charge because the websites are either public or meant to attract traffic. In other words, the users provide the information in order to attract traffic.

Accessibility of these Sources

In most Library databases, the information is accessed by those who have subscribed and paid for the service. In case the scholar has to access the information required, s/he must log-in and access the information using a personal account. On the contrary, the users are not necessarily required to log-in to a personal account in order to access the information. This is based on the fact that most of them are free and the nature of their revenue model is structured in a manner that does not make it difficult for the users to visit the websites.


The digital library databases enable the users to conduct a precise search in order to get focused information. In contrast, the search engines have low-capability search filters that may not give precise results.

Permanence and Stability of the Information

Information contained in the databases is essentially retained for a considerably long period of time so that the users can retrieve the information repeatedly. This is based on the fact that the information in books and articles do not change. The content found in the search engines can be changed. In fact, the websites domains can even be changed so that the original links do not exist anymore.

Citation of the Information

Most of the databases provide citations that are formatted in form of APA, Havard or MLA among others. Whereas the databases provide citations, the search engines do not provide these citations for the articles and books.


It cannot be disputed that the digital library databases are better sources of information as compared to search engines. In this case, the databases provide evaluated, accurate and permanent information. In contrast, the search engines provide unevaluated, essentially inaccurate, and unstable content.


Finkelman, A. (2012). Leadership and management for nurses in core competencies for quality care. Boston: Pearson.

Risjord, M. (2010). Nursing knowledge science, practice, and philosophy. Chichester, Angleterre: Wiley.

Thede, L., & Sewell, J. (2010). Informatics and nursing competencies and applications. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.

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