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Philosophy: Databases

What are databases and why should I use them?

Bibliographic databases are a powerful tool for finding scholarly literature, like journal articles, in your subject area. They are useful when you want to start exploring beyond your reading list or are researching a new topic. Experts in your subject area select key content to be included in databases, so you can be confident of its quality. Some databases will have full-text access, which means you can read the whole item (like an article or book chapter) on the database. Other databases offer 'indexing' or 'abstracting' services, which means they give an overview of the item, like title, author, year of publication and a summary of the research.

How do I find databases?

Oxford subscribes to lots of databases that you can use for free. They can be accessed through SOLO or Databases A-Z. SOLO allows you to search all material in the libraries at the University, including databases. Databases A-Z allows you to to explore databases alone, without the distraction of other items like books popping up in the results.

If you are new to SOLO we recommend visiting the 'How to' guides at the link below.

Databases for philosophy

Below you will find a few popular databases used for the study of philosophy. It is recommended that you engage with databases relevant to your subject so that you become familiar with the different features offered. Such features include:

  • Thesauri.
  • Bibliographies.
  • Sophisticated searching, including Boolean operators, filters, wildcards, truncation, fuzzy searches, proximity searches and command line searches.
  • Citation tools and bibliometrics.

In addition to Oxford's subscription databases, there are a number of free online resources to support the study of philosophy, many of which are listed in Databases A-Z (look for the icon).

Oxford Bibliographies

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Why not watch a video form the Take a Tour pages to see Oxford Bibliographies in action or take a look at our PDF below to find out how to use this resource.

Past Masters

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Find a guide on how to use Past Masters here:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Information on searching the SEP effectively is available at:

Browse databases

Oxford subscribes to a large number of bibliographic databases and these can be found in Database A-Z . Alternatively, click on the links below:

Database recommendations

If there is an eresource useful to your work that Oxford does not subscribe to, you can make a recommendation by completing the form below (Single-Sign On required).

University of Oxford E-resources Blog