In an article in this journal Ottewill and Hudson (1997) raised a number of issues concerning students’ use of electronic bibliographic databases. They emphasized the need for co‐operation between academics and librarians in database training and in coursework where databases would be used. We report a project on students’ use of bibliographic databases. Our findings reveal that access to these databases, whilst solving many of the problems students experience in sourcing reference material for coursework and research, raises new intellectual problems due to the sheer breadth and depth of their coverage of subject matter. Typically database training programmes focus on search skills and the use of different interfaces. However, our findings demonstrate that students should be encouraged to develop a more critical perspective on databases since these can be seductive, time‐consuming and, in certain circumstances, counterproductive resources. Students would benefit from more guidance on the quality cues that academics and librarians employ when evaluating different databases and their contents
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