This list includes recommended databases in which you can begin many research topics. It includes databases catering to all levels of user, not just undergraduates. Content of these databases can include reference sources like encyclopedias or dictionaries; articles that give an overview of a topic, issue, controversy, or recent event; or that provide broad coverage to assist in narrowing or refining a research topic. After you have used these databases for background research on your topic, you can move on to more subject-specific databases. Many provide full-text sources, otherwise use the citations they provide to request copies via your local library's interlibrary loan service.
Background Notes include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. Background Notes are updated/revised by the Office of Electronic Information and Publications of the Bureau of Public Affairs as they are received from the Department's regional bureaus.
BHL contains scanned, historic, biological literature from major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions: books, journals, and more. Content can be downloaded as PDF, ASCII, or just the images contained within the object. 1480-present.
The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. The Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as flags of the world, a physical map of the world, a political map of the world, and a standard time zones of the world map.
WorldCat is a "master" catalog of library materials. This freely accessible version allows you to find citations and some full text of books, music, videos, articles, photos, primary sources, theses and dissertations, newspapers, and maps from around the world. WorldCat can indicate whether an item is available from the Virginia Tech Libraries; otherwise request a copy through interlibrary loan.
Access online databases at your local library
May require registration with your local library
Listed here are databases that have no access restrictions (you don't need to be a current student to search them). Some databases provided free access to only a part of their content; check the database description for details.