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Biology: Home

A guide to library resources and research in biology and the life sciences.

Need help?

For more immediate help, use one of the Ask A Librarian options.  I'm also happy to meet for consultations - please contact me for an appointment at s.dunphy@northeastern.edu

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Sandy Dunphy
Contact:
270 Snell Library
617-373-5322

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Getting started: Biology literature searching

Tackling a new topic?

Try looking for a review article first.  Review articles attempt to summarize the state of research on a scientific topic.  While lengthy, & not generally including the very latest research, review articles are a great way to start to get a handle on a topic.  

Don't overlook the literature cited at the end of the review - the bibliography contains a wealth of information about the key discoveries & main researchers in the field.  

Most databases (including BIOSIS Previews, PubMed & Web of Science below) will allow you to limit your search to include only review articles or literature reviews.  


Not sure where to start?  Try these:

         BIOSIS Previews1969-present
                   The premier database of research in biology, life sciences, pre-clinical & experimental research, methods &
                   instrumentation, & animal studies. Part of the Web of Science database, BIOSIS Previews combines the content of
                   Biological Abstracts (1969-present) & Biological Abstracts/RRM (Reports, Reviews, Meetings 1989-present); covers
                   5,000 life sciences journals. Topics range fro microbiology to botany to pharmacology.
                   Want to learn more? Check out this BIOSIS Previews tutorial.
                   Features: NEW!--link out to full-text articles; gain insight into emerging fields of research; identify leading
                   researchers, institutions & journals with the Analyze Tool.
                   Tip: to find Literature Reviews, use the Advanced Search option; select Literature review from the Literature Types
                   dropdown.

PubMed
          More than just medical literature, PubMed was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information
          (NCBI) and publishers of life sciences literature. PubMed consists of 26 million citations for biomedical literature from
          Medline, life science journals and online books.

Web of Science

Web of Science indexes over 11,000 scholarly journals in the sciences (1975-present). Web of Science's strength is in its interdisciplinary focus and its ability to perform citation searching.  Also works seamlessly with EndNote & EndNote Web citation management software.