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Mathematics: Bibliographic databases

Library support for Mathematics

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 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.

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

For a more detailed description of search techniques, please see separate page on Planning your search strategy. 

Bibliographic databases relevant to Mathematics

Some of the key bibliographic databases relevant to Mathematics are listed below. 

  • Web of Science Core Collection - 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. 
  • SCOPUS - 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. 
  • IEEE Xplore - Full-text access to the journals and conference proceedings of both the IET and the IEEE as well as to IEEE standards. Coverage is from 1988 to the present although selected content dating back to 1950 is also included. 
  • MathSciNet - MathSciNet provides Web access to the signed reviews and bibliographic data from Mathematical reviews and Current mathematical publications. 
  • arXiv arXiv 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. 

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. 

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. 

Subject librarian support for literature searching

Subject Librarians are able to show QUB students and staff undertaking any type of literature search (e.g. literature review, scoping review, systematic review) how to:

  • Structure searches using AND/OR
  • Select appropriate databases
  • Search selected databases
  • Save and re-run searches
  • Export database results
  • Store and deduplicate results using EndNote

At peak periods of demand, Subject Librarians might not be able to deliver all of the above. Please contact your Subject Librarian Carol Dunlop at to check availability.

QUB students and staff must provide Subject Librarians with a clear search topic or question, along with a selection of appropriate keywords and synonyms. Students should discuss these with their supervisor before contacting Subject Librarians.

Subject Librarians are unable to do the following for QUB students and staff:

  • Peer review, or approve, search strategies        
  • Create search strategies from scratch
  • Search databases or grey literature sources
  • Deduplicate results
  • Screen results