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Start Your Research: Choose a Database

What is a Database?

UCSB Library pays for access to hundreds of research databases. A database is a curated, searchable collection of citations for articles, books, and other media. 

Databases are useful for academic research because: 

  • access to the material is free to UCSB students through the library; 
  • your search results are not influenced by your internet search history; 
  • it is easier to find the types of sources you will be asked to use in research assignments.

Library databases often require different search techniques than the open web (for example Google). See the "Search Tips" tab to learn more. 

Databases to Get You Started

​Think of library databases as a toolkit. Some tools are multi-use, and ​others tools are for a specific job. 

​Multi-subject (or interdisciplinary) databases cover many subject areas, while ​subject-specific databases focus on a particular field of study. 

​Not sure which kind you need? Try an interdisciplinary database like one of the ones listed below first. ​Or, visit a Research Guide for subject-specific recommendations.​

lock icon = UCSB Only

The lock icon indicates that this database is restricted to UCSB students. If you are working off campus, please refer to the Connect from Off-Campus page of this guide to learn more.


General vs. Subject Specific Databases

Our suggestions in the "Databases to Get You Started" box are interdisciplinary databases that cover a variety of subjects. These are often a good place to start. If you need articles for a specific subject area, please refer to the Research Guides for recommendations. 

Need Primary Sources?

​Primary source materials are different depending on the field of study. Research Guides can point you to available primary resources.

If you need any help, ask your librarian!


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