Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

State Agency Databases Project: What is a Database?

For a resource to be included in the State Agency Databases Project guides, it must be:

  1. Produced by an agency of a state government or a political subdivision (i.e. county, city, school district, library district, etc).
    • An agency is an entity that either gets a majority of its funding from state/local government AND/OR its governance is appointed by the State government. Under this definition of agency, most state universities with a state appointed board of regents is a state agency for project purposes.
  2. Available to be searched by the public.
  3. Be a database. What is a database? Here is our definition:

Database - An information resource where the end user varies input and gets different results based on the input.

  • The input can take the form of typing in terms into a resource with fielded searching capability.
  • The input can take the form of choosing criteria from a list.
  • The input can take the form of selecting from various drop down boxes or radio buttons.
  • Stretching the definition a little, searching text from a single subject wiki can count as a database.

Records in a database may be surrogates (meaning they describe an object) or they may be the objects themselves (like a database of full-text electronic government reports).

What doesn't count as a database? Links to top level pages for States or their agencies. This project isn't aiming to be an agency directory as most state websites already do a good job of that. Neither is it really intended to be a 50-State, "cool links" list because other sites are fulfilling that role, at least in part.

Our documents specialists may sometimes find non database or non-agency resources that are useful for their state. They have the option of creating an "Other Resources" tab for their State Guide, but that is not a project requirement.