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Top 20 searched databases


Database search terms

May 13, 2013 – We greatly improved our database search last fall. In addition to finding databases by their titles, we added the ability to search against words in their descriptions, making finding databases to use for various research topics easier when you did not know one to start with. Here's our top searched databases this academic year:

  1. web of science
  2. pubmed
  3. psycinfo
  4. academic search completye
  5. worldcat
  6. jstor
  7. google scholar
  8. factiva
  9. ieee
  10. scifinder
  11. ebscohost
  12. opposing viewpoints
  13. medline
  14. proquest
  15. lexis nexis
  16. google
  17. engineering village
  18. psychology
  19. safari
  20. naxos

Web of Science: Citation Databases from Thomson includes three databases: Science, Social Science, and Arts and Humanities (though you can search all three at once). This database is popular for several reasons: the coverage is broad, so searching on topics will return lots of relevant results; it allows cited reference searching so you can trace what other articles cite the one you are interested in; it can perform advance analyses on sets of articles you have selected so you can see common authors and institutions.

PubMed is really a database platform; there are multiple databases you can search using that interface, though MEDLINE is by far the most popular. Not just useful for medical topics, MEDLINE is popular in part because it's a free database--you don't have to be affiliated with Virginia Tech to use it. However, it is helpful for our students and faculty to access this database through the links on our website since those links include our institutional holdings ID. Using that link will connect the listed article citations with our online and print access to these journals (otherwise you'll have to manually look up what access we have). Similarly, EBSCOhost is also a database platform/interface on which we can access over 50 different databases. Academic Search Complete from EBSCOhost is the most popular, but remember there are other more specialized databases you can search instead (or in addition to) Academic Search Complete.

Psychology databases have long been at the top of our database lists. PsycINFO from APA PsycNET is the most commonly used, though there are several databases on the PsycNet platform. If you include all the misspellings of this database (psychinfo with an H, psyc info as two words, etc), it almost jumps to number two.

There are two ways to access the WorldCat database: the free WorldCat Discovery and the subscription-based WorldCat from OCLC that is available to Virginia Tech affiliates. Both search against the same data, though the FirstSearch version makes it easier to use Get VText with it so you can request items we do not own through interlibrary loan.

JSTOR has also long been near the top of the database list since it includes many full-text articles from journals going back to volume one. Many users of this database don't realize that JSTOR does not contain many recently published articles. Most of the journals we can access through this database have a rolling wall or embargo that precludes access to the most recent several years of the publications. So don't mistake searches in JSTOR as being comprehensive; you'll be missing recent articles in your results.

Many people would be surprised at seeing Google and Google Scholar in this list, assuming these are easy for people to directly access. Google Scholar can connect your search results with Get VText. That means that you'll be able to access articles in your results through our subscriptions, which is important when we don't get a journal through its publisher, which would be the default link in Google Scholar. If you access Google Scholar through the campus network, through Off Campus Sign In, or configure the settings in your browser to use Get VText, you'll have easier access to the full text of the results you find.

Factiva is not just a business database. You'll also find major national newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, and international news sources in addition to a wealth of business and industry data and reports.


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