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Starting your research at the NUI Galway Library: Sources of information

Consider the sources of information and the publication types which are relevant for your research question.

  • Talk to your supervisor and colleagues in your discipline
  • Look at the bibliographies in published literature reviews and theses related to your research question and / or published by your colleagues
  • Browse the Collections available in the library - see more information below.
  • Check the Resources available for your subject area - see more information below
  • Academic databases index the publication types relevant for specific disciplines; check the scope note of the database for more information regarding sources indexed 

Collections at James Hardiman Library

The Library provides access to all sorts of information resources to support your learning and research.  You can search all of the library's collections through the Library Catalogue, or get more information on each type of information resource and how it might be useful to your studies on the Collections webpage.

Here you will find information on the following collections: ARAN, Archives, Books, Caselaw, Databases, DVD's and Audio, European Documentation, Exam papers, Print Locations, Inter-library Loans, IReL the Irish Research e-Library, Journals, Legislation, Maps, Microform, Newspapers, Official Publications, Reference Works, Special Collections Standards and Theses. 

Not all of our collections may be relevant to your research question; but it is useful to know about the range of material available e.g. DVD's, local and international newspapers. See also other smaller collections e.g. travel, Popular Reading, Mind body and soul which may be of interest at some stage during your time here at NUI Galway. 


Selecting databases


Selecting databases for your literature review depends on your review topic. Browse our library guides by Subject to identify the most relevant databases for your discipline.


If your research question is multidisciplinary, check all the relevant database listings.

Handy tip:

Ulrichsweb, a directory of 300,000 journals, may be useful when selecting databases. You could search for key journals and check the Abstracting/Indexing section to identify databases which include these journals. 

Note: Check Online availability also to see full-text resources.

Limitations of searching the library catalogue

Please be aware that there may still be gaps when searching the library catalogue even when you expand beyond NUIG collections.

Searching the library catalogue is very useful   – but please remember that it does not include  journals we have in print, for example.

For a comprehensive search of the literature in your area of research, you need to search the relevant academic databases. See Selecting databases above.



Limitations of Google Scholar

You may find that Google Scholar™ gives you a quick overview of a topic and can quickly point you toward relevant material.

However, your results may not be as current or as comprehensive as you need.

For a thorough search of academic literature, databases identified by browsing our library guides  BY SUBJECT,  offer a number of advantages over Google Scholar. See Selecting databases above.

See comparison of Google Scholar vs. an academic database:


Problems accessing databases?


Handy tip: If you have problems accessing a database to which we subscribe, please submit a ticket to via the ServiceDesk link as follows:

  • Log into ServiceDesk
  • In ServiceDesk, go to 02. Library Services - Journals/Databases/Resource Issues
  • After that, the e resource enquiry form will appear, and you can enter the relevant information


Our e-resources team advise: "Having trouble accessing an e-journal or database?  With over 30,000 online journals, we can't check every one as regularly as we'd like.  So please report problems to us, so we can fix them."