Databases can help you to search for relevant resources. There are two main kinds of database you're likely to come across:

  • Bibliographic databases
  • Full-text databases

Bibliographic databases

Bibliographic databases index the titles and abstracts of journal articles, books and conference papers. They are useful for conducting a structured literature search across a large range of publications. You can check which publications are included in the search. Though the databases themselves may not include the full text, most databases are linked to Oxford holdings so you can easily find out how to access any articles you are interested in. Look for the 'Find it @ Oxford' link.

Full-text databases

Full-text databases provide direct access to primary and secondary sources. These can include images, maps and statistics as well as books and articles. While a bibliographic database can only find your search terms if they appear in the title or abstract, a full text database can often search through the entire article.

Finding out more

The guide OxLIP+ for databases explains how to find and connect to databases.

Individual databases will have their own Help pages giving advice on searching. Some library guides for particular subjects give details of how to use specific databases relevant to that subject: see Oxford Libguides.

The Rewley House Library holds printed guides on "How to Search Effectively" and "How to find journal articles on your topic".


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