Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

WRI 146: Constructing the Past: Database Basics

Guide for using the library successfully in this writing seminar.

Database suggestions specific to this course (avail. via PUL)

This list is not exhaustive. One can also do keyword searches within the database titles and descriptions on the DATABASES tab on the library's webpage: e.g. one can type in "fashion" or "environment," for example, to see what databases cover these subjects.

More database suggestions by topic (here and next TAB)

Database suggestions (depending on the database, will index books, journal articles, dissertations, book reviews, exhibition/film reviews, unpublished documents and more). Can search for these in the DATABASES tab on the library home page, and then click into the selected database and perform a search on your topic.


ProQuest Central
Ebsco Academic Search
Wilson OmniFile
Readers’ Guide (popular literature) (1890+)

Archaeological Sites Index
Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA)


Humanities/Social Scis.:                                           
Humanities Source (1925+)
Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective (1907-84)
Web of Science (sciences/social sciences/humanities): especially useful for citation tracking--who cited what, and who cited by whom
Francis (international)
Essay and General Literature Index
Social Sciences Full Text

Art & Architecture Source; ARTBibliographies Modern
Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) / International Bibliography of Art (IBA)

Anthropology Plus (1800+)

RILM Abstracts; Music Index Online

International Index of Music Periodicals

ATLA; Philosopher’s Index

Database Searching tips

. the Advanced Search will usually give you more options

2. Phrase searching:  can put a phrase in quotes

3. Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT - connects two or more words to narrow or broaden a search, or to help clarify terms with multiple meanings (can be combined with phrase searching) [sometimes you have to type these in--in CAPS--and sometimes you will see them listed to connect subject terms (select AND, OR or NOT)]

4. Most databases we subscribe to that combine both scholarly and more popular sources allow one to limit to only scholarly, or peer-reviewed, or both types of resources

5. Most databases allow one to save results in a folder for future access, or to easily e-mail citations and/or full-text (e.g. a PDF) to oneself to consult later on. Just make sure to empty out the folder before leaving a database, or you will lose your saved items (unless you have created an account and logged in).

6. One can almost always limit by date and language (of the source)

7. Many databases includes abstracts or summaries of the books or journal articles so as to provide enough information, often, to know if it's worth it to read an item in its entirety online or go seek out in the library

8. Depending on the database, a range of material can be included: advertisements, book reviews, feature articles, book reviews, images, newspaper articles, dissertations, etc.

9. You may have to brainstorm a bit up front to determine all the possible ways your subject or key terms could be formulated both commonly and by the particular database/search engine you are using