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Biology: Home

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

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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, and 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 and main researchers in the field.  

Most databases (including PubMed and Web of Science below) will allow you to limit your search to include only review articles.  

Not sure where to start?  Try these:


More than just medical literature, PubMed Central was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and publishers of life sciences literature.  PubMed allows access to nearly 2 million full-text journal articles.

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.