Unit of competency details

CULINS403A - Search library and information databases (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 20/Dec/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to BSBLIB407 - Search library and information databasesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages Unit moved from Library, Information and Cultural Services Training Package to Business Services Training Package. 13/Jan/2016
Supersedes and is equivalent to CULLB005B - Search databasesCULLB005B Search databases. Minor change to unit descriptor, application of unit, required knowledge and critical aspects for assessment. Changes made to title, elements and performance criteria, required skills, range statement and method of assessment. 19/Dec/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091301 Librarianship And Information Management  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091301 Librarianship And Information Management  12/Apr/2012 
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Modification History



Release 1

This unit of competency first released with CUL11 Library, Information and Cultural Services Training Package version 1.0

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to search and retrieve information from a range of bibliographic and full text databases. The unit focuses on the range of databases available to information services providers and the skills necessary to formulate effective search strategies to meet customer information needs.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to individuals who undertake regular database searches as part of their information services role.

Work is undertaken with limited supervision and according to organisational and system guidelines.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Identify and access databases

1.1 Assess range of databases  available to information services providers 

1.2 Differentiate between databases and internet websites as sources of information

1.3 Select appropriate databases to meet specific information needs

1.4 Use required procedures  to access databases

1.5 Comply with copyright and licensing conditions  relevant to the use of databases

2. Construct searches

2.1 Conduct database searches using a range of search techniques  suited to information needs

2.2 Use and manipulate features of databases  to construct effective searches and access required information

2.3 Consult online manuals and database search tips to refine or revise search strategies

3. Present information

3.1 Evaluate search results  to identify information that meets needs

3.2 Conduct further searches as required and download as required

3.3 Present or organise information in formats  appropriate to customer needs

3.4 Prepare reference lists as required according to standard referencing styles 

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication and teamwork skills to:
  • consult with colleagues
  • present search results to customers
  • information literacy skills to define, locate, evaluate and present information
  • literacy skills to:
  • interpret a wide range of information and ideas
  • prepare reference lists as required
  • problem-solving skills to develop alternative search processes or methods when information cannot be found
  • self-management skills to:
  • prioritise work tasks and meet deadlines
  • seek expert advice as required
  • technology skills to use a range of industry-current databases and datasets.

Required knowledge 

  • role of databases in the context of the information services industry
  • scope and type of databases available to information services providers
  • features of commonly used databases, including:
  • bibliographic information
  • downloadable records
  • in-print status
  • current prices
  • difference between database and internet searching
  • database searching techniques and procedures
  • copyright, moral rights and intellectual property issues and legislation relevant to the use of information from databases.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • search a range of databases
  • use search techniques to source information in response to a range of customer needs
  • use current industry systems and equipment
  • respond to multiple and varied information requests.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • technology and databases to support information searching.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • direct observation or verified evidence of the candidate using databases to retrieve information
  • evaluation of appropriateness of information sourced in response to different needs
  • verbal or written questioning to assess knowledge of databases and different searching techniques
  • direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance.

Assessment methods should closely reflect workplace demands and the needs of particular client groups (consider the requirements of different age groups, clients with English as a second language, clients with disabilities, remote library users, etc.).

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • CULINS401A Assist customers to access information.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Databases  may include:

  • bibliographic databases, such as:
  • library catalogues
  • Library of Congress catalogue
  • databases accessed via library websites, such as:
  • Australian National Data Service (ANDS)
  • Libraries Australia
  • National Library of Australia
  • public libraries
  • state libraries
  • Trove
  • datasets accessed through paid subscriptions to aggregators and vendors
  • full text databases available through Electronic Resources Australia (ERA)
  • literature databases
  • publisher and vendor databases containing bibliographic records.

Information services providers  may include:

  • archives
  • co-located local government services, such as:
  • councils
  • galleries
  • libraries
  • museums
  • tourist information centres
  • community advisory organisations or bureaus
  • galleries
  • government departments, agencies or shopfronts
  • information units, including:
  • business and financial information units
  • information units within a parent organisation
  • libraries, such as:
  • business
  • law
  • medical
  • public and private
  • school
  • TAFE
  • university
  • museums
  • records management units.

Procedures  may relate to:

  • access restricted to authorised persons, such as:
  • members of library
  • students and staff of school or university
  • free access to databases provided through various state and national libraries
  • logging on via secure password or authentication of internet protocol (IP) address.

Copyright and licensing conditions  may relate to:

  • constraints on usage by specific groups
  • downloading and printing of entire works
  • number of concurrent users at any one time
  • terms and conditions of licensing agreements.

Search techniques  may include:

  • compiling lists of keywords and related phrases
  • conducting single searches, that is, repeating same search one database at a time
  • consulting indexes or thesauruses to determine standardised subject headings or search terms, such as:
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
  • medical subject headings (MESH)
  • following online search tips
  • ISBN or ISSN searches
  • limiting by date, language or format
  • reviewing and revising search items
  • searching across a range of databases using federated search engines
  • seeking assistance from colleagues or external organisations
  • using Boolean operators
  • using different access points, such as:
  • author
  • combined searches
  • keyword
  • subject
  • title
  • using subject terms and descriptors
  • using truncation symbols and wildcards.

Features of databases  may include:

  • ability to interface with referencing applications, such as endnote
  • ability to print or email articles
  • abstracts
  • availability of bibliographic or full text information or a combination of both
  • availability of online help and search tips
  • basic and advanced search features
  • citations only
  • downloading of bibliographic and other records
  • federated search engines
  • full text
  • pay per view databases
  • range of subjects covered by individual databases or datasets
  • scholarly or academic content
  • single search engines.

Search results  may include:

  • bibliographic citations
  • full text articles
  • lists of relevant information resources
  • results lists as displayed on screen.

Formats  may include:

  • annotated bibliographies
  • delivered as email attachments
  • diagrammatic
  • electronic copies
  • print-based
  • provide explanation of search strategy
  • reference lists or bibliographies created manually or using endnotes.

Standard referencing styles  may include:

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS)
  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • Harvard referencing style
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Vancouver.

Unit Sector(s)

Knowledge management - Information services

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