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Biological Sciences: Databases

Subjects: Biology, Zoology

Introduction

Databases contain large amounts of data including (but not limited to) statistics, bibliographic information, images and abstracts.

Bibliographic databases are a useful tool for finding scholarly literature in your subject area. This includes (but is not limited to) journal articles, conference proceedings and books. They are very useful to consult when carrying out your own research because:

  • they provide powerful search functionality
  • have citation tools
  • have thesauri
  • their content is selected by experts in your subject

Bibliographic databases are helpful when you want to start exploring beyond your reading list or are researching a new topic.

On this page you will find recommended databases and guidance on how to search for and access databases.

Definitions

Terms you may encounter in your research

Database:
A collection of structured and organised data that is stored, searched and accessed electronically.

Bibliographic database:
A searchable platform that contains descriptive records of articles, books, conference proceedings, audio-visual material, maps, newspapers, and more.

Abstracting service:
Used to refer to a bibliographic database, the service provides abstracts of publications.

Indexing service:
Used to refer to a bibliographic database, the service provides descriptors to help organise and navigate publications.

Full-text:
This means you can read the item in full from beginning to end, not just the abstract or summary.

Databases

Oxford subscribes to lots of databases you can use for free. You will likely find you need to use several databases for a thorough search of your subject area. The tabs at the top of this section take you to key databases for biology and a link to browse all databases in biology.

You can also search for specific databases via SOLO. Note, some key texts may be available via a database but not individually listed on SOLO.

Help with databases

For those seeking advice on accessing databases, we recommend the following guides:

Below are key bibliographic databases applicable to those studying biology at Oxford.

Access

Depending on the database provider, you may need to use your Oxford Single Sign On to access materials.

Below are key databases applicable to those studying biology at Oxford that provide resources beyond purely bibliographic data.

Access

Depending on the database provider, you may need to use your Oxford Single Sign On to access materials.

Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Databases

To browse a list of databases for biology, follow the link below which takes you through to Databases A-Z.

Search tips

Databases are provided on different interfaces. Most of them support the following functions:

  • Advanced Search screen provides options for combining your keywords.
  • Combine keywords using appropriate Boolean Operators (drop down menu):
  • AND - to combine/narrow down;       OR - to broaden;                               NOT - to exclude terms.
  • Use synonyms, alternative terms, phrases and variations in spelling.
  • Use truncation at the end of your term (*)
  • Refine results by subjects, controlled vocabulary, publication year ...
  • Select/Mark relevant references and display results.
  • Save, E-mail or Export selected references.
  • Set-up an email Alert to receive references of new articles containing your search terms

Help on how to search Scopus and Web of Science can be found at both of the following links:

Recommend a database

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have a database you are looking for, you can make a recommendation by completing the form below (Oxford Single-Sign On required).

Other Relevant Guides

In addition to the bioinformatics databases shown on this page, our guide to bioinformatics resources presents a wider selection of bioinformatics databases and resources you can access.