Olin C. Bailey Library


Research Databases in the Biological Sciences


BIOSIS Previews (2000-present) Tulip 
BIOSIS Previews contains citations/abstracts to over 6,000 biological journals.

  • Use the “Search” option (not the “Advanced Search” option).
  • Use AND: helianthus annuus and lepidoptera  
  • Use OR:  evolution or adaptation.
  • Use the “Search History” link to combine searches.
  • Use truncation (*).
  • Limit searching by major concepts, language, document type, and literature type.
  • Use the "Analyze Results" link from your results list to retrieve citation and author data.

JSTOR (not current) 
A largely full-text, social sciences database that covers complete runs of scholarly periodicals.  MAY NOT BE CURRENT!

  • Use the Advanced Search.
  • Select whichever disciplines that are relevant to your research, noting that you decide whether or not JSTOR includes citations and links to other content.
  • Use the drop-down menu to connect search terms:  AND, OR, and NEAR.
  • Use “?” on the end of your term to account for plurals, and “*” to account for variant word endings.
  • Use quotes to search phrases:  “helianthus annuus” 


AGRICOLA  (1970s-present) 
The National Agricultural Library provides this database, which covers topics such as animal and veterinary sciences, plant sciences, and earth and environmental sciences.  AGRICOLA contains no full text.

  • Use the keyword search for books and/or articles.
  • Use the drop-down menu to search "any of these" (OR), "all of these" (AND), or "as a phrase."
  • Use the "Set Limits" button to limit to language, place of publication, and document type.
  • Use the drop-down menu to take advantage of searching by subject and subject code (thesaurus terms), and publisher type (USDA).
  • Use "?" to pick up different word endings:  genetic? 


MEDLINE (1950-present) 
The National Library of Medicine produces this database, which covers all fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. Contains citations and abstracts from 5,400 biomedical journals. There is no full text available, so be sure to check our Journals List to see if we carry the journal.

  • Use the subject or MeSH instead of keyword to narrow your search.  Use the index button to look up words or names: Browse Index  
  • Take advantage of MeSH – the Medical Subject Headings – via the index button.
  • The library symbol will indicate if we own the journal: In your library  
  • Use the Previous Searches link on the top menu to combine searches. 
  • Use “*” on the end of your term for variant endings, and “?” for variant spellings.

ScienceDirect (2000-present)
ScienceDirect contains citations, abstracts, and some full text of articles in scholarly scientific journals.

  • Select the "Journals" box, if desired.
  • Under the Source menu, select "Subscribed Sources" to retrieve mostly full text articles.
  • Limit to a subject area to focus your searching.
  • Check out the related articles, cited by, and reference articles to the right when viewing an abstract.
  • Beware the "white page" icons - you can read the abstract of those articles, but not access the article itself.

General Science (1982-present)
General Science is a good place to start looking for articles.  This database contains a mixture of popular and scholarly sources.  A portion of this database is full text. 

  • Select “General Science Full Text.”
  • If the “All- Smart Search” doesn't’t work, try “Keyword” search instead.
  • For more relevant articles, try limiting your search to “Feature Article” or “Review Article” under the Document Type menu.
  • Select “Peer Reviewed” for research articles from scholarly journals.
  • Use truncation (*).

Google Scholar
Google’s answer for broad searches of scholarly literature. Good for checking citations but not for beginning the search process.

  • Google Scholar aims to rank documents weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature. 
  • Try to narrow searches by phrase (using quotes), date, subject area, journal, or author.
  • Use initials instead of full first and middle names in the author search.
  • Be careful with publication searches – they are often incomplete.  If using them put alternative titles:  Journal of Biological Chemistry OR J Biol Chem 
  • If “ORing” a search, capitalize OR!
  • Search for terms “in the title of the article.”  But do so cautiously!


Journals List & Interlibrary Loan

For a complete list of which journals Bailey Library has, check out our Journals List.  If we don’t have the journal you need, check UCA’s Journals List.  If they don’t have it, order your article on interlibrary loan!




Last Modified on 10/04/2010