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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 main bibliographic databases relevant to Mathematics and Physics 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.
Bibliographic databases relevant to Mathematics and Physics
Some of the key bibliographic databases relevant to Mathematics and Physics are listed below.
If you need help using any of these resources, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Web of Science Core Collection This link opens in a new windowAccess 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.
Scopus This link opens in a new windowSCOPUS 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.
MathSciNet This link opens in a new windowMathSciNet provides Web access to the signed reviews and bibliographic data from Mathematical reviews and Current mathematical publications.
arXiv This link opens in a new windowarXiv is an Open Access scholarly publishing platform which contains pre-peer reviewed author manuscripts, prior to being published in academic journals. It includes over 1 million e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.
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.
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
The ZETOC and Journal TOCs services will email you the tables of contents of new journal issues as they are published. They cover a wide range of subjects and you can select multiple journals.
You can also 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.