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Introduction - what are bibliographic databases?
Bibliographic databases (often just referred to as 'databases') allow you to search across a wide range of journals and this is the best way to find relevant academic information on your topic. The bibliographic databases relevant to Geography are listed below.
These databases contain references and abstracts and will link you to the full text of the article where QUB has a subscription to the e-journal. NB you will not get the full text for every article you find in a database, but you can apply for the article on Inter Library Loan if it is not available via QUB.
Constructing a search strategy
Before you start searching the databases, you will need to construct a search strategy:
- Break your search topic into key concepts
- For each concept, think of keywords and synonyms
- Connect similar keywords using the OR command
- Combine different concepts using the AND command
- Use brackets to group OR terms together
eg (teenager OR adolescent OR adolescence) AND (autism OR autistic spectrum disorder OR asperger's syndrome OR pervasive developmental disorder)
For a more detailed description of search techniques, please see separate page on Designing a search strategy.
Key bibliographic databases relevant to Geography
The key bibliographic databases relevant to Geography are listed below. These are the best databases to start with when you are doing your literature search. Start with Web of Science or Scopus as they are the biggest databases and cover all subject areas. If you need any help, please contact me at email@example.com
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) An online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
GreenFILE GreenFILE indexes scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports. This resource offers a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the environment. Drawing on the connection between the environment and disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology, GreenFILE serves as an informative resource for anyone concerned about the issues facing our planet. The database contains nearly 300,000 records, full text for selected titles and searchable cited references for more than 200 titles as well.
Historical Abstracts Historical Abstracts is an exceptional resource that covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, history of education, and more - essential for libraries supporting upper-division and graduate research. This authoritative database provides indexing of more than 2,300 academic historical journals in over 40 languages back to 1955. History and social science researchers have used Historical Abstracts to discover significant and groundbreaking work for more than 50 years.
International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) This database includes over two million bibliographic references to journal articles and to books, reviews and selected chapters dating back to 1951. It is unique in its broad coverage of international material and incorporates over 100 languages and countries. Over 2,800 journals are regularly indexed and some 7,000 books are included each year.
JSTOR Arts & Sciences JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that enables discovery, access, and preservation of scholarly content. It enables access to a full-text journals.
JSTOR Ireland An interdisciplinary collection of materials from and about Ireland. When complete, the Ireland Collection will contain a minimum of 75 journals, including journals with moving walls between 1 and 5 years and ceased journals from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Over 200 monographs and 2,500 manuscript pages will also be included.
Scopus SCOPUS is the world's largest bibliographic and citation database. It covers nearly 20,000 academic journals from a wide range of subjects and dates from 1996 to the present. SCOPUS will also be the source of the citation data which will be used by some of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment panels. As well as carrying out literature searches, you can set up current awareness alerts, view citation counts, determine your h-index and assess the quality of journal titles. SCOPUS is part of the SciVerse suite of resources which is produced by Elsevier and includes the ScienceDirect electronic journals service.
Sociological Abstracts (1952 - current) This database abstracts and indexes the international literature of sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,800+ serials publications and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, conference papers and working papers. Cited references are included for many journal articles.
Web of Science Access to citation databases, journals and conference proceedings with current and retrospective coverage in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Includes Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Conference Proceedings Citation Index and Emerging Sources Citation Index.
Databases relevant to other subjects
The full range of databases available at QUB can be found in the Databases A-Z list, but note that this list will contain journal and e-book databases as well as bibliographic databases; bibliographic databases such as the ones listed above are the best way to conduct a comprehensive literature review.
Top Tip - Reference lists and Citation searching
If you find a relevant article, an easy way to find other articles on the same topic is to look at the Reference list/Bibliography. Most databases also have a Citation search feature which means you can link to other articles that have referred to your original paper.
Keeping up to date
You can set up email alerts within bibliographic databases to find out what new articles are being published in your area of interest; check out the Help screens in each database for instructions of how to do this.