Library Databases


WorldCat – find books and make requests 

Indexes – SciFinder-n (SciFinder-n register), PubMed [Countway Library Research Guide]

Citation index – Web of Science

Preprints – allows for rapid communication BEFORE peer review e.g. arXiv, CiteSeerX [a few publishers won't accept previously "published" manuscripts]

Reviews – Annual Reviews

Dissertations – search by advisor, topic, school

Patents – technical information (~70% of technical information can only be found in patents)

Gray literatures - technical reports, white papers

  • government agencies, university research centers, national/regional laboratories,research councils, think tanks, etc.

Keyword searching tips:

  • Consider different spellings e.g. color vs. colour
  • Consider pluralizations e.g. children/child, women/woman
  • Spell out terms e.g. "near field communication" vs NFC
  • Use synonyms and related terms e.g. drone or "unmanned aerial vehicle" or "remotely piloted vehicles" or "unmanned aircraft system"
  • Most databases allow truncation with an asterisk e.g. catalys* with bring catalyst, catalysis and catalysts

Structure and identifier searching

  • Structure and reaction drawing - exact, substructure, similarity search 
  • CAS registry number searching
  • Document identifier searching
  • Author identifier searching

Preprints Servers:

  • - e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance, Statistics, Electrical Engineering and Systems Science, and Economics
  • engrxiv - (engineering archive) is dedicated to the dissemination of engineering knowledge quickly and efficiently.
  • bioRxiv - the preprint server for biology
  • OSF
  • F1000 Research
  • PeerJ Preprints

More about preprints:

Peer Review


How can I tell if a particular journal is considered peer reviewed or refereed?

  • Go to the library database Ulrichsweb
  • Search by the title of the journal
  • If you see this icon  (think referee's jersey) then the title is considered peer reviewed

The peer review system is not without flaws. The Retraction Watch blog informs the public when articles are retracted due to a variety of reasons including plagiarism, error, and fraud.