Databases can be searched to locate journal articles and conference proceedings. Review articles in particular can be helpful for locating background information on a topic.
How do you know which database to search? This chart can help identify the best database depending on your topic and what you hope to find.
Years covered online--MSU
This database from the National Library of Medicine covers not only clinical medicine but also many areas of biology including biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, physiology, microbiology, immunology, etc, and is the most heavily used database in the biomedical sciences..
PubMed is the preferred platform for research biologists because it contains many additional links to databases from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
|This British database covers agriculture, veterinary science, animal science, and some basic biological journals (to a lesser extent). Biology coverage not as good as Web of Science or BA, but it does cover proceedings literature not covered in either of those.
|journals, book chapters, reports, proceedings
|Web of Science
|Covers all areas of science and therefore spans the literature from ecology to plant science to genetics to biochemistry to chemistry to medicine. Very good one-stop source for biologists whose work spans several of these areas. Contains citation counts for articles.
|Covers all areas of biological sciences including areas not covered by PubMed/Medline such as ecology, plant sciences, zoology, or wildlife literature. Not updated as frequently as Medline and coverage of some biomedical journals not as good as Medline.
|Similar to Web of Science, Scopus is an interdisciplinary database covering all of the sciences. Whereas Web of Science is selective in choosing the "best journals", Scopus is more comprehensive and is the largest database. It does not go back as far in time as Web of Science. Also contains citation counts for articles back to 1996.
|journals, some conference proceedings
|coverage for journals varies, citation information only back to 1996