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What are the best databases for my subject?

The Library provides access to bibliographic databases in the life sciences, social sciences and natural sciences. Follow these tips and instructions to find the best databases for your subject.

What is a bibliographic database?

Bibliographic databases contain descriptions of publications, such as journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings and reports. Often, but not always, you will be directed to the full text of a publication from the database.

WUR Library Search, Scopus and Web of Science are databases which cover all sciences. CAB Abstracts (agriculture), SciFinder (chemistry) and ABI/Inform (management studies) are examples of subject-specific databases. To get a more complete overview of available literature, it is always best to consult more than one database.

How to find the best databases

Go to the list of recommended databases and browse for suitable databases using the ‘filter by subject’ on the left. Refine for a more specific subject. A list with suitable databases will be shown. The stars give an indication of how useful the database is for your subject. Go to ‘more info’ to find extra information about the database (abstract, descriptors etcetera).

How to start searching

Access the database by clicking on its title. Every database has its own features, e.g. regarding the use of wildcards, phrase searching and availability of an index or thesaurus. Read the help file of each database to find out the specific options.

Off-campus access

When consulting a database off campus, make sure that you go to the database via the Library website. To obtain the full text of publications off campus you need to be logged in to My Library.

More features

You can save your search question or create a literature alert in bibliographic databases. Set up an alert if you want to stay up-to-date on a subject. If you want to use these options, you first have to register for each database separately. Consult the help file of the database to find out how. Results can be exported to EndNote or other reference management software.