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Library & Research Know-How

LARK: An Open Educational Resource


Searching for Sources

Databases by function

Much of the Library's collections focus on academic research, but not all. The Library also subscribes to databases of content that are not necessarily academic or scholarly in nature, but are still useful for research, study, and for enjoying in your spare time. See the tabs arranged at right for databases of information that is not necessarily scholarly in nature. Remember, for scholarly information, the Library catalogue is a great place to start with your research.

Recall that in the case of most databases there will be video or text tutorials demonstrating its various functions. Often this will be found in the Help tab or similar. You can also try a Google search, the database vendors themselves or other libraries will often have demonstrative videos on Youtube and other popular platforms.

You can find many individual periodicals through the Library catalogue simply by searching for the title of the publication. You can find the Irish Times this way for example; The Economist is another; Harvard Business Review another.

You can also search the catalogue for archival newspaper collections that we hold by searching for the title of the newspaper in the catalogue. We hold archival collections of papers including the Illustrated London News and the New York Times.

This video demonstrates how to search the Irish Newspaper Archives.

Watch this video to learn how to use Gale collections at NUI Galway and discover some of its basic tools.

Read this blog post for a demonstration of how to use Gale archival databases as a research tool, including its handy Topic Finder, and also how to use source material from them in a piece of academic writing.

The Gale interface is now available as Gaeilge.


Recorded training session on how to use Passport.

Standards are published documents that establish specifications and procedures designed to ensure the reliability of materials, products, methods and/or services. The library provides access to the full text of standards via the following databases:

Recent legislation can be discovered via relevant legislative or governmental websites, so the Oireachtas website for recent Irish legislation for instance, or UK legislation at


Watch a video tutorial on how to use Justis in your research by vendor representative Mary Ibrahim.

The Library subscribes to excellent citation indices, which are databases that keep track of who is citing whom in the academic literature as well as how often a work has been cited. This can be useful in terms of evaluation a source for its impact on scholarship as well as being a handy research tool - a link will normally be provided to all the works that cited an item, many of which might be related to your topic of research.

Databases by subject

This box focuses largely on academic or scholarly literature as contained in databases, organized by disciplinary area. When it comes to databases focusing on scholarly literature, it's useful to recall that databases can be divided into roughly two different types:

  • Full-text databases: which provide direct, full-text access to articles on a topic you are seeking information on
  • Citation or bibliographic databases: databases of records made up of bibliographic information or 'metadata' about the article or other format, i.e.  title, author, date and abstract. In the case of these databases, full-text can often still be quickly accessed via links embedded in the record, which is accomplished via service called 'SFX'. The link might look like: 

For scholarly information, our subscriptions or open scholarship support should provide full-text access to the information. Occasionally, you may only have access to the bibliographic information about an article.

It's probably useful for researchers and students in any discipline to have a look through the interdisciplinary tab. As the name implies, these are wide-ranging databases with information of relevance to many different disciplines.

Recall that in the case of most databases there will be video or text tutorials demonstrating its various functions. Often this will be found in the Help tab or similar. You can also try a Google search, the database vendors themselves or other libraries will often have demonstrative videos on Youtube and other popular platforms.

For the broadest possible search of the academic literature, try the catalogue via the Library website or check out the Google Scholar search engine. Remember that when searching off campus, be sure to sign in to your library account in order to get full-text access to resources. To get some full-text access via Google Scholar, remember also to change your settings, under Library links, search for NUI Galway and make sure any relevant results are ticked off. The result of this will be live links next to your results, to the right.

Broad interdisciplinary

Interdisciplinary: Science

Interdisciplinary: Social Sciences and Humanities

Interdisciplinary: Topic-specific

The below is very specific to the field of Chemistry. Students and researchers of chemistry will find much more research in the broad science-related interdisciplinary databases in the Interdisciplinary tab, check those out.

Watch an introductory tutorial on using Compendex by Susan Watson from Elsevier (the company that provides access to Compendex). The tutorial is a Zoom video, enter passcode 7PpzEf+d to view.

While the above databases are very focused on materials relating specifically to Engineering, don't forget that interdisciplinary databases like Scopus and Web of Science will also include plenty of scholarly literature on topics relating to engineering.

Many of the databases below feature primary sources (historical data in the form of many kinds of documents from the period being researched), as well as secondary sources (scholarly analysis of such primary sources). Don't forget also to check the interdisciplinary tab for broad databases relating to the humanities and social sciences, which will feature more databases of secondary information in particular. Depending on what you are researching, don't forget also that NUI Galway Library holds rich collections of unique archives and special collections that are available to you.

Check out this recent blog post (January 2021) showing how to use a number of the databases here to gain an understanding of a particular issue (in this example, of the ins and outs of 19th century Victorian society).

A number of the below databases are provided by Gale publishers. These are now available as Gaeilge.

The below database are very much focused on the literature of medicine and allied disciplines. A search in large, science-oriented interdisciplinary databases such as Scopus will often also be useful. If you are working on a systematic or similar review, such interdisciplinary databases will often be included, so be sure to check out the interdisciplinary databases tab.

See a recent announcement (February, 2021) about increased access to the RILM database.

There will be plenty of research in the natural sciences in the science-oriented interdisciplinary databases such as Scopus, check out the Interdisciplinary tab for more.

See a recent blog post (November, 2020) for highlights of this unique collection.

Writing on philosophy will often consider philosophical questions within a particular disciplinary, social, cultural or other milieu. Beyond philosophy-specific databases, depending on what your research question is, you will likely find further information in databases relevant to that milieu. So, if you are looking at a question relating to ethics within a certain medical field, for example, it would be worthwhile looking at the medical databases as well those related strictly to philosophy.

Consider also broad interdisciplinary databases strong in the humanities and social sciences, such as Jstor and Project Muse.

Sociology, social studies and social care

Political Science

Databases by provider

This box lists selected databases according to what company provides us with access to that database. Some of may be familiar to you, included here are high profile database providers like EBSCO and ProQuest.