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While Google Scholar and LibrarySearch can provide good starting places, you will need to move beyond these to comprehensively retrieve relevant literature.

Types of databases

Databases are excellent tools for researching journal articles, as well as other scholarly content. They often have a specialised focus – for example, by subject, resource type, geography. You can explore the different types of databases on offer from the Library that include videos, images, theses, standards, patents and more.

Scopus and Web of Science are two large citation databases that can be important starting points for subject areas particularly in the sciences. Further information on searching these is below.

There are also other databases available and many of these are subject-specific. To locate databases relevant to your research area you can consult the Library’s Subject Guides.


Watch this video for a brief introduction to ‘What’s a library database?

What’s a library database? (1:56 mins) by RMIT University (YouTube)

Searching databases

The search results in databases can be sorted and filtered in a variety of ways – for example by level of content (scholarly, peer-reviewed). Some databases also display citation data that enables you to track the development of a research idea forward through time . 

Databases will often give you direct access to the full text online, but if you cannot see a link to the online article, try the “Find It” link. This will open a new browser window that will search all databases to which RMIT Library has access. If you cannot find the article online it may be available in print, or you can request the article via the Library’s Document Delivery Service.

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