Why Use Them?

While the panoramic or "wide gaze" approach to research can be good ways to help generate an interest or area of exploration, research projects often require you to look close up at a body of research produced by scholars in a particular field.

This research is typically collected, codified, and made findable in a tool called a subject database.camera with color filters to put over lens

Every academic discipline has at least one subject database that's considered the disciplinary gold standard -- a reliable, (relatively) comprehensive, and accurate record of the books that scholars are publishing, and the ideas they're debating and discussing in important and influential journals. 

The ones listed here for Film Studies, and Environment are the "gold standards" for finding research in the fields they cover. 

Databases are like lenses: they change what you see and how you see it -- and they offer you easy and efficient ways to bring your questions into sharper focus.

Top Picks

Subject Bibliographies

Oxford Bibliographies Online  HARVARD KEY

Examples:  Ecocinema | Documentary Film


Subject Databases: Film

ProQuest Screen Studies Collection HARVARD KEY

This database provides deep and authoritative coverage of the key American, British, and international  publications related to film scholarship.

MLA International Bibliography HARVARD KEY

The most important academic database for deep searching of the scholarship produced about all periods of literature (and in all languages). It also has strong and substantial coverage of scholarship on film and popular culture topics.


Multidisciplinary Databases We Also Recommend

Academic Search Premier  HARVARD KEY

This database can be a good next step once you've explored content available in HOLLIS, particularly if you feel overwhelmed -- or sometimes, underwhelmed -- by the journal and article search results you've uncovered there. While much of what ASP searches is from scholarly sources,generous amounts also come from newspaper and general interest magazines. Like HOLLIS,ASP casts a wide net, so you might  see your topic treated from a number of disciplinary angles or through a variety of theoretical lenses.

Google Scholar  HARVARD KEY

Its algorithms are excellent and do return relevant results. This database searches full-text, which can be an advantage when you've got a very narrow topic or are seeking a "nugget" that traditional database searching can't surface easily.

One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively another multidisciplinary Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide.

Here's what to do: Look to the left of the GS home screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on Look for "Library Links."  Then type Harvard into the search box and save your choice.  As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.