One fundamental difference between Google, for example, and database searching is the question of privacy and confidentiality. Every keystroke entered into search engines whose business model is based on surveillance of its users is harvested and stored and disseminated for commercial, electoral and political purposes. Every discovery you make belongs to them. Even users’ medical information is being collected from mobile phone sensors to target users for pharmaceutical and health industry advertising. Not to mention illegal surveillance and data collection on children.
The most secure and private searching and research environment is a curated database that does not collect this information on its users. Areastudies.com only collects aggregate data on the numbers of sessions and searches at the institutional level. Guaranteed. And that is confident searching.