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Lifelong Learning: Key databases - examples

Key databases

people sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers

Search alerts within databases can be set up to provide automatic notification when new results are available. Instead of having to constantly re-enter the exact search terms into a database each time, setting up an alert is an easy and effective way of gathering information on your subject.

To use the alerting facilities on most databases you will need to create a personal account once logged in.

Aberystwyth University subscribe to a range of databases. some cover all subject areas (such as Web of Science, Scopus), some cover particular types of publication (for instance, Index to theses), and some cover specific subject areas (such as English Poetry via ProQuest).

You will need to establish which are the most appropriate databases to search - see your subject guide for guidance.

Web of Science 

Web of Science (WoS) contains records of journal articles over the complete range of science, social science and the arts. It focuses on the most important journal titles in each subject. It is good for building up a detailed subject search strategy and then setting up a regular alert (weekly or monthly) notifying you of new papers added to the database retrieved by the strategy you have created.

Please note that in order to set up alerts in Web of Science, you first need to set up your own individual WoS username and password using the Register button.

The Web of Science platform gives access to several databases including the Web of Science Core Collection (citation indexes covering all subjects and conference proceedings), Medline (biomedical sciences) and BIOSIS Previews (biological abstracts).

You can search one or all of these databases and save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to the databases.

You can also set up citation alerts (so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles). 

SiSAL Journal accepted for inclusion in Scopus | SiSAL Journal

Scopus is a large bibliographic database covering all subjects which includes selected conference proceedings and over 34,000 journals.

Scopus allows you to set up alerts for particular authors, documents so that you are notified when someone cites a particular article, or searches.

Searches can be for a range of criteria including keywords, journal title, and an author’s affiliation. 

JournalTOCs is the largest, free collection of scholarly journals Tables of Contents (TOCs).


Multi disciplinary archive of academic journals, books and pamphlets.

Searching Google Scholar for Field-Specific Terms | AJE

Google Scholar can be a useful tool. Google Scholar is a Web search engine that specifically searches scholarly literature and academic resources. It searches the same kinds of scholarly books, articles, and documents that you search in the Library's catalogue and databases. The scholarly, authoritative focus of Google Scholar distinguishes it from ordinary Google.

There is overlap between the content in Google Scholar and the Library's individual databases. In addition, many citations in Google Scholar will link to full text in the Library's databases or in publicly available databases.

Searching is as easy as searching in regular Google.

Like regular Google, Google Scholar returns the most relevant results first, based on an item's full text, author, source, and the number of times it has been cited in other sources. Some actions are a little different from regular Google: clicking on a title may only take you to a citation or description, rather than to the full document itself. Google Scholar will not necessarily get you to the full text of every search result.

To find the full document, look for:

  1. a PDF or HTML link to the right of the article title or
  2. a FullText@Aber link


In addition, Google Scholar’s Citations facility specifically enables you to track citations to your own papers within the Google Scholar network. To access the Google Scholar Citation facility, login to Google Scholar with your own Google username and password at: and follow the instructions given. 

Please note that the Google Scholar database is not limited to coverage of peer-reviewed papers and can include magazine articles, websites, blogs and reports

Further information on full-text linking @Aber and Google Scholar.

Key Databases

Why use electronic resources?

Electronic resources for History and Welsh History can be found through Primo where you can discover individual resources or cross-search a number of them at once. Primo includes key resources such as citation databases, e-journals and e-books, selected websites, subject gateways, data and media resources, news, reference materials and library catalogues.  Below and on the above tabs are some key databases for History.  You can find hundreds more at Resources A-Z

Selected databases and resources:

Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH)

JISC Historical Texts

Mass Observation Online (Adam Matthew Digital)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Open Access resources

You can find and access Open Access academic material via the University’s library catalogue Primo and the Aberystwyth Research Portal. 
Increasing amounts of academic material is also being placed on the internet as Open Access.  This means that it is not hidden behind a paywall and is freely accessible by anyone.  Sometimes these documents are versions that have the same content as a final published version but are called post-prints or Author Accepted Manuscripts.  Sometimes they are final published versions.

Such material isn’t always easy to locate so there are a number of tools and websites available which can help students and researchers find articles, books and journals which have, intentionally and legally, been published Open Access.  These are listed on the following tabs. Some are in-built into the University’s system, others may have to be added as browser extensions.  Not all work on all browsers. 
Aberystwyth University’s research outputs can also be found via these tools and websites.