Q&A: General Databases vs. Full Text Services
Submitted by email@example.com on Fri, 05/15/2009 - 14:08.
Roughly, and somewhat too simply, the difference is between an indexed database and a full text service. JSTOR and Project Muse are essentially full text of selected ranges of certain titles. Academic Search Premier has many full text links, but its primary function is to allow keyword searching over a very broad range of materials and subjects, with standardized subject terms as another point of access. Of course, there can be some understandable confusion, as both JSTOR and Project Muse offer a search interface as well.
The historically honest answer would be that they differ in content based on who agreed to supply that content and what form it would take: Abstracting and indexing of articles vs. full text searching. For example, JSTOR started as a full text database, containing historic runs of academic journals in many fields, with a 5 year window denying access to recent issues. Academic Search Premier began as a way of doing subject searches over a broad range of disciplines and in a massive number of journal titles, plus offering standardized subject terms to aid your searching. Over time, each has evolved somewhat, one towards ever more full text content [Academic Search Premier] and the other towards an improved search interface [JSTOR]. You will note that Project Muse also gives you the ability to search the back runs of JSTOR periodicals.