The Open University


The Ingeborg Rennert Library

How do I choose a database for a search?

When choosing a database you should consider the different types of databases available:

  • Reference databases – provide bibliographic references for journal articles including the title, volume/issue and page numbers. In some cases an abstract is available. These are academic databases.
    For example: Sociological Abstracts (for social sciences), PsychNet (for Psychology), MLA (for Literature, Linguistics and Arts).
  • Full-text databases – provide not only the bibliographic reference but also the text of the article itself. These are not necessarily academic databases and you should limit your search to scholarly/academic publications
  • Multi-disciplinary databases – cover several disciplines.
    For example, Academic Search Premier, Proquest Central and JSTOR.
  • Designated databases – focus on a single discipline.
    For example, Business Source Premier (for business and management), ACM Portal (for computer science), ERIC (for education) and EconLit (for economics).
  • Hebrew databases – for example, IHP, which is a multi-disciplinary reference database that in some cases includes full-text, or the Szold Institute Index, which is a designated database for Social Sciences and Education that provides references and abstracts of publications in both Hebrew and English.
  1. The OU library's databases are arranged in two lists:
  2. Choose a database on either list and click on its title to access it.
  3. Tips for searching in databases:
    • Use the Advanced Search option
    • Limit your search to Scholarly or Peer Reviewed publications
    • Limit your search to the relevant time period
    • Define subjects by using the subject terms or thesaurus
    • Don't limit your search to full-text; in some cases, even if the database does not include access to full-text, you can access it through TD-Net


  • If you found the full-text of the article, you can print or email it
  • If you found only the abstract, use TD-Net to locate a full-text copy