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About This Page

Our library subscribes to subject specialty databases that provide citations, abstracts, and often links to full-text articles. Using these databases saves you time and effort.  The sources used to compile these databases are scholarly. This page identifies useful Biology and Life Sciences databases to which the library subscribes. 

Using JStor

JSTOR stands for Journal Storage.  It is an electronic archive of older issues of some important academic journals.  Some faculty members like to search it by topic because of the convenience of the full text.

I do not recommend searching JSTOR by subject unless you are looking for a very specific unusual word or phrase you can find no where else! Why:

1. Nothing in JSTOR is current. It is journal storage. There is a delay of at least three--and usually five--years between journal publication and inclusion in JSTOR.

2. It is a key word only search.  There is no subject searching.  If you search for your word or phrase in the title and the author used another word or phrase, the article will not appear. 

3. Searches yield too many hits, many of them irrelevant.  Do you really want to look through 600 or more articles for a few useful ones? Scholars can go through large searches and identify the few relevant articles relatively quickly because they are already very  familiar with the subject.  Students cannot.

Use a more specific database to identify articles.  Use the Journal Locator to determine if we own the article: the Journal Locator includes the journals in JSTOR.

Using Databases

Using a licensed database finds articles in respected journals rather than a mix of good and bad, real and fake, that might be found using a popular web search engine. 

If your search does not need to be comprehensive or you just need a few current papers in journals that our library is likely to subscribe to, then a useful strategy is to search General Science Abstracts along with Applied Science and Technology Index.  These two databases cover about 1000 journals in all areas of science and technology. They are a lot less complicated to search.  Don't forget to use Advanced Search and click on "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals"

The most comprehensive database that provides references to the literature of biology, biochemistry and life sciences is Biosis Previews. This database will provide references to scholarly, peer reviewed journals as well as conference papers. You will have the best results if you search the official BIOSIS Previews concept terms rather than simple or popular terms.  If you start out using simple language and find a few articles that are exactly what you are looking for, try looking at the descriptor terms that were used in those papers and repeat your search using those terms. 

If your topic is somehow linked to health or disease or medicine, then an excellent database for you to use would be PUBMED.  PUBMED uses MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) and can give you excellent targeted results if you are careful to use these terms for your topic. 

If your topic is in the realm of marine or aquatic sciences, fisheries, aquaculture or marine geoscience then an excellent database for you to search would be ASFA (Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts)

If there is no link to the full text of an article you would like to read, our library may have an electronic subscription to the journal that published that article. Check our Journal Locator.


If we don't have an article, you may request a copy through interlibrary loan A link to the article will be sent to your email address. 

Subject Guide

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