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How do I use databases at Notre Dame?

In a nutshell:

  • Bring a flash (USB) drive and paper to take notes with.
  • Use the "Research Workstations" (see a photo).
  • Ask the Notre Dame librarians for help if you need it.

Where do I go?

Hesburgh LibraryHesburgh Library, by Flickr user patterbt To search for articles or information in databases that Notre Dame has but Saint Mary's doesn't have, you need to go to a library on the Notre Dame campus.  (Why?)  Your best option is Hesburgh Library, the main library, located just north of the football stadium. The Sweep bus stops there on its route.

Once you get inside Hesburgh Library, go through the glass doors and security gates into the main lobby of the library. Directly ahead of you will be more glass doors and a sign that says "Reference."  Go through those doors into the reference room.

You'll want to use a group of computers that are labelled as "Research Workstations."  They are the first set of computers you come to as you walk in the door to the reference room:

Research Workstations at Hesburgh LibraryResearch Workstations at Hesburgh Library

These computers don't require a username and password, and they don't have a time limit.  If you're registered for a class at Notre Dame and have a Notre Dame username and password, you can use the regular computers in the reference area instead.

Look for this sign at the Research WorkstationsLook for this sign at the Research Workstations

How do I get to the databases?

The home page for the browsers on the Research Workstations is the Notre Dame library home page, so just open up Firefox or Internet Explorer to get there.  Once you're on the library's home page, click the tab for "Databases."  If you know the name of the database you need (for example, Biological Abstracts, RILM, America: History and Life, etc.) you can use the alphabetical links to find that specific database.  Otherwise, go to "Research by Subject" and choose the subject that you're doing research for (for example, Biology, Music, History, etc.):

What can I do with my search results?

The Research Workstations are set up so that you can't print from them.  You also can't get access to your SMC email (or any other email, like Yahoo! or Gmail), and they don't have Microsoft Word on them.  So...

  • Bring a flash (USB) drive with you to save your search results and any full text articles that you might find. 
  • Some databases will be able to send search results and articles to your email address, so look for that function within the database that you are searching. 
  • If all else fails, write down the citation information for the articles you need, and the librarians at Notre Dame or here at Saint Mary's can help you get the articles. 
  • Be sure to ask the Notre Dame librarians for help if you need it! 

Why do I have to go to Notre Dame?

"Why can't I just use Notre Dame's databases from a computer here at Saint Mary's College?" 

We wish this were possible, but unfortunately, the companies that own the databases have very restrictive contracts with the libraries that license (purchase) the databases from them.  Those contracts say that authorized Notre Dame users (Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff) can use the databases from anywhere, but anyone else -- including Saint Mary's students, faculty, and staff -- has to be physically on the Notre Dame campus to use the databases. 

It works the other way around as well:  Notre Dame users can't use Saint Mary's databases unless they're here on the SMC campus.

Need Help? Ask a Librarian!