Top tips

Familiarise yourself with key databases in your subject area

Being able to find relevant information can mean searching in a variety of places

It would be great if we could do this for all the databases we subscribe to, but for various reasons it is not possible.

Often when you do a keyword search in Library Search, you are actually searching across multiple databases. This can save time, but mean you get too many irrelevant results.

Each database has its own record structure (fields for data). A limited number of data fields (e.g. author, title, date) are common to most databases. Once you start trying to search across multiple databases you immediately limit the ways in which you can search; you won’t be able, for example, to take advantage of specialist features in a particular database e.g. the MESH headings in MEDLINE. Many of our databases are unique in terms of the collections of information they hold. It is beneficial to search them individually to conduct the most efficient, thorough searches and get the full benefits of the content.  You will need to search them individually. Take a look at our Search tips.

Some bibliographic database platforms do allow you to search all of their databases together (with the above limitations). Examples of this include the Web of Science and Engineering Village 2.

You may also find Google Scholar useful for finding articles. Link Google Scholar to the Library's resources by following the steps below:

1) Choose Settings

2) Click on Library links

3) Enter "Imperial" and click on the search button

4) Click in/tick the box next to "Imperial College London - Find at Imperial"

Screen image showing Google settings


Screen image showing Library links

Screen image showing Imperial