What does this mean for searching within databases?
Fields have different data values. For example records in a database may have a "Title" field, and the data values for the Title field will be different. The data values in the title fields of records may be Catch-22, Gravity's Rainbow, or Alice in Wonderland. The fields that are defined are almost always searchable.
Searching a database is different than searching Google. If you just type in your research question into a database search engine, you may find some relevant results; however, you will not find all the relevant literature because of the way databases are designed as described above.
What is an interface?
An interface is the medium used to communicate with a system.
An interface is what you are seeing on your screen. It includes the way the search engine, search fields, and data sets exchange information and communicate. Ultimately the interface can play a major role in what you retrieve. An interface also includes the rules or the syntax with which you use to communicate with a system.
That's why we have database search strategies. We want you to be able to maximize your search results by knowing how to utilize both database fields and interfaces.
Example of the Structure of records in the MEDLINE database with the PubMed Interface