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Graduate Research: Databases and Resources

This guide provides resources for graduate students in the midst of thesis or dissertation work here at Florida Tech. Here you will find strategies, best practices, and resources to help with all phases of your research.

Where to Start

If you know the journal title – use A to Z Journals to see holdings in print or electronic form.

To search multiple databases – use Summon.

  • A good place to start, especially for background research
  • Comprehensive and cross-disciplinary
  • Returns a large number of results, but allows for refining searches (by full-text, peer-reviewed, subjects, date, etc.)

To find theses and dissertations – browse or search A to Z Databases for a pertinent database.

Open-Access Scholarly Resources

Open-access information is freely available on the Internet for anyone to access, use, and cite. Though these materials are available for reuse without copyright restrictions, remember that you always need to credit authors for their contributions to your own works. Below are just a few of the many resources available for finding open-access information on the Internet.

Scholarship repositories, but remember that most universities and research institutions have their own, and many are indexed in Google Scholar.

Databases that index open-access journals, articles, and other documents:

Archival media collections (search university library websites for many others):

CC Search - lets users find media, music, documents, images, and other creative-commons-licensed works in a variety of search engines.

Google Images - Clicking Search Tools at the top of Google Images search results lets users limit to specific usage rights.

Open Data - Evans Library's Data Management research guide lists information and resources for finding and managing data. 

Wikimedia Commons - a database of thousands of freely usable media files.

Flickr Commons - photos available for reuse with attribution.

Directory of Open Access Books - 2124 academic peer-reviewed books from 69 publishers.

Open Access Theses and Dissertations - over two million theses and dissertations from over 1000 research institutions worldwide.

Specialized Databases & Research Guides

Specialized databases, as the term implies, are tailored to specific fields of research. 

You will find specialized databases and their descriptions in A to Z Databases (at lib.fit.edu), but here is a general idea of the scope of specialized databases.

  1. The Subject coverage of specialized databases is very specific and varies from database to database, so coverage is very narrow, but also very deep.
  2. Time frame will vary from database to database. Use the tool’s Help to find out.
  3. Type of materials indexed – articles from periodicals. 
  4. The information provided about the materials indexed – always bibliographic citations, usually abstracts, and often full text of articles.

Research Guides 

A tool that helps you find excellent databases for your field is the Research Guides. Find the guide for your discipline now, and look at the Home Page. The library liaison for your department is shown here, with location and other contact information.

The other tabs in the guide contain resources fine-tuned to your field, such as specialized databases, journals, eBooks, and websites.

Government Information

The Library of Congress maintains a list of US and international government resources, and Northwestern University Library has compiled a comprehensive list of international government agencies, but read below for descriptions of some US government websites to help with locating specific types of government information.

  1. USA.gov is a very useful portal for finding government information, including FederalStateLocal, and Tribal agency information, Laws and Regulations, and contact information for Elected Officials.
  2. The Congressional Record is the daily record (available in print and online) of the proceedings, including all actions taken, of Congress when it is in session. It is a verbatim account of debates and proceedings, but final versions are edited to include additions and corrections to the text.
  3. Executive Orders are complied by the Office of the Federal Register and made available online via the National Archives, dating back to 1937.
  4. Slip laws are those just passed by Congress, available in print and online via the US Government Printing Office Federal Digital System (FDsys) site. Slip laws document the results that the members of Congress want; the details of how the result will be obtained must be worked out by various government departments.
  5. Statutes at Large compile the slip laws as written - the permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress.
  6. The United States Code is the codification of the general and permanent laws of the United States, published in full every six years with supplements in between. The laws are arranged by subject with an index.
  7. The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents; all have legal effect.
  8. The Code of Federal Regulations is the annual accumulation of the rules and regulations published in the Federal Register.
  9. Patents and trademarks are searchable online via the US Patent and Trademark Office (Google Patent Search allows you to search over seven million U.S. patents, and includes both full-text and images).
  10. Data.gov is the central site for U.S. Government data, and one of the Obama Administration's open-government efforts.
  11. Maps are requested by various departments, and encompass general maps for the Executive Office, as well as geologicalenvironmental, transportationeconomic, and other types for specific needs. Print copies are located on the third floor of the library, but many are also online at various agencies.
  12. The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a bit like the World Almanac except it contains United States annual statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Evans Library offers this through its ProQuest database.
  13. The United States Government Manual is the official handbook of the Federal Government, printed annually and including  information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.