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Ocean and Earth Science: Databases for OES

Subject guide for oceanography and earth science.

All about databases

What are databases? Databases also called subject, journal or sometimes bibliographic databases and they are organised digital collections of references to published literature.

Why use databases? They are especially useful for projects and dissertations and provide you with current information on research and development. Databases allow you to search a wide range of published literature. In addition to journal articles, many subject databases also include the details of  other types of material including; conference papers, conference proceedings, reports, government and legal publications and sometimes books and theses. 

What do databases contain? The databases allow you to search through thousands of records by the words in the  title, by keyword, author or other criteria. They contain all the details of a book, or other source, that are necessary for a person to be able to find it and normally an abstract. Some also contain links to the full text of the documents.

Keep up to date with research in your area. Many of the databases listed on this page have features which will allow you to register and set up alerts for new information to be automatically sent to you by email.

Help planning your search? Try our search strategy learning activity to discover how to prepare your search. Download our search planner [WORD] or have a look at our search planner mindmap [pdf] to get you thinking about your search.

A-Z list of e-resources: An A-Z listing of all our databases and other e-resources available to University of Southampton users (e-journals and e-books are not included).

How can I use Databases if I am not on campus? Advice on accessing resources from off-campus. (Access to resources off site NOC staff)

Library Search can be a good starting place for a search but the resources below offer many useful features to researchers.

Literature databases

Literature databases.

These databases specialise in covering the published literature (journal articles, conference papers, thesis, reports, books etc.) of topics related to ocean or earth science. Use the descriptions to help you find the database(s) that look at the literature for the subject area that is of interest to you.

Preparing to search a database

This learning activity will help you to understand how to prepare an effective search of a database.

(Click on the image to go to the activity.)

By the end of this activity you should be able to:

  • explain what a search strategy is
  • identify key concepts and key words in a search question
  • use search tools and techniques, such as Boolean operators, phrase searching, and wild cards

Allow approximately 16 minutes to complete this learning activity.

planning your search strategy

Download one of our search planners or take a look at our search planner mindmap to get you started

Common tools in a subject/literature database

Journal Table of Contents services

Journal Table of Contents services

Use these specialised databases to find the table of contents for individual academic journals which are useful to help you keep up to date with literature.

Maps and mapping

For further advice about Digimap and other sources of digital maps and geospatial data see our guide

Journal Citation Reports

Journal Citation Reports

Marine Law Databases

Law databases

Use these to search for marine law.

Discovering materials held at UK national, academic and specialist libraries

Collections of databases on the Proquest platform

Collections of databases

These collections of databases allow you to search across a number of related databases at the same time. You will find a mixture of full text and abstracts in your list of results.