What is a website: A website is a page or series of related pages created to make the user aware of the content. The site often includes links to other web pages or sites.
Authorship: Anyone can author a website, it is especially easy to do if using a web editor. Therefore the user must make the judgment as to the author's qualifications in addressing the issue unless those qualifications are provided within the site.
Authentication: The content may or may not be authenticated before it is included in the website. Therefore the user must make the judgment as to accuracy of the information.
Consistency: Content within a site or between sites may or may not be consistent in its origin or format. If data is not consistent in its origin it may not be comparable.
Currency: Sites will sometimes provide the date when information has been updated but often they do not. The importance of this criterion varies with the type of content. It is generally more important if the content is statistical and generally less important if the content is historical.
Access: Anyone with access to the World Wide Web can access the vast majority of websites.
What is a database: A database is a collection of records that are related in some manner and formatted in essentially the same way.
Authorship: Because databases are difficult to create (the information needs to be collected, formatted and authenticated) and require the use of many resources, a lot of databases originate from major database publishers such as ProQuest, EBSCO or Gale. Other publishers of databases include governments, quisi-government organizations, NGO's and international organizations such as the World Bank.
Authentication: The content in each record is normally authenticated for accuracy before it is included in the database. Therefore the information is largely assumed to be accurate.
Consistency: Because information is collected and published by the same organization using the same formatting there is internal consistency in a given database but there is less likely to be consistency between databases.
Currency: Information in databases is mostly updated on a scheduled basis and is therefore considered to be up to date.
Access: Because databases are difficult to produce and often expensive, one must normally subscribe in order to use them. The subscription is licensed and sets who can use the database. Most of the resources listed in this library guide are databases that the CMU library subscribes to so that students, faculty and staff can use them.
For a full list of databases in the CMU Library go to http://libguides.cmich.edu/az.php
For a list of statistical sources and datasets by subject go to http://libguides.cmich.edu/statsdatasets