Databases for Engineering

  • Essentially a database is just a collection of information. However when we talk about databases at university then usually we're talking about bibliographic databases. A bibliographic database is a collection of references for books, journal articles, conference articles, technical papers, reports, and other publication types, that all relate to a certain topic. For example, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Mobilus contains lots of references related to the automotive industries.
    Quite recently the only information contained in a bibliographic database would have been the reference details. For a journal article this would include at least the author/s, title of the article, date of publication, title of the journal, volume number, page numbers, and perhaps an abstract (an abstract is a summary of a journal article). Using the reference details you could then go and find the full-text of the journal article in a library or online. However, it is becoming more common for bibliographic databases to also contain the full-text of the items on the database, perhaps as PDF files. For example, SAE Mobilus has the full text of all the Society of Automotive Engineers technical papers from 1964 onwards as well as some items that are abstract (summary) only (i.e. all the reference details including the abstract but not the full-text).
    Bibliographic databases make research easier because they bring together a huge range of references (and sometimes the full-text articles) relating to a particular subject into a single place. As such, it is a good idea to use bibliographic databases as they will save you time and improve the range and depth of information resources that you use to write your assignments. For example, if you were researching something to do with business then you could search Business Source Complete for relevant journal articles and reports. Likewise, if you were interested in researching technical aspects of diesel engine design then you could search SAE Mobilus.
  • Key databases

    Database Details

    IEEE Xplore Digital Library

    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) publish many of the highly-cited journals in the areas of computer science, electronic engineering and telecommunications.

    You can access the full text of IEEE and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) conference proceedings, journal articles, and IEEE standards back to 1988.

    Guide: How to use IEEE

    SAE Mobilus

    The full text of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Technical Papers from 1964 onwards and the full text of the SAE International Journals from 1998 onwards. Also includes access to the bibliographic details of other related automotive book, journal and magazine content.

    Google Scholar

    Google Scholar contains bibliographic records for a huge range of information sources across the full spectrum of subjects, including those for engineering and mathematical subjects. There is no fulltext in this database, only bibliographic information and sometimes links to an external website where you may, or may not, be able to get the fulltext of the information source through Oxford Brookes University subscriptions.

    Guide: How to use Google Scholar

    Web of Science

    Web of Science is a bibliographic database on a wide variety of interdisciplinary subjects including engineering and mathematical subjects. There are some links to the full text via Oxford Brookes University subscriptions.

    Guide: How to use Web of Science

    Databases of specific kinds of engineering information

    Database Details

    British Standards online

    Complete set of over 38,500 current, draft and historic British Standards, more than 16,000 of which are British Standards Institution (BSI) adopted European and International standards.


    DieselNet contains information on diesel engines and diesel emissions. You can find emission standards and fuel regulations, technical reports, a business directory, and careers information.

    ENDS Report

    Provides information on and analysis of environmental policy and legislation, including what the implications are for businesses. It includes access to environmental news headlines and sector specific intelligence such as government policy and legislation, company reports and method statements. Also includes information on jobs, training courses and events. Incorporates a searchable article archive.

    SAGE Journals

    SAGE contains journals from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) including their proceedings parts A - P covering a range of topics. Click on the Journal Title Results tab to browse the relevant journals.


    ScienceDirect is a full text database from publisher Elsevier covering a range of science and engineering subjects. Includes the journals published by the SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) -- the Journal of Manufacturing Systems, Journal of Manufacturing Processes and Manufacturing Letters. Also covers highly cited electronic engineering titles such as Automatica, Progress in Quantum Electronics and Pattern Recognition and highly cited materials titles such as Materials Today and Progress in Materials Science.

    Other databases you might find useful

    Database Details
    ACM Digital Library

    Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) digital Library. A full text database covering journal articles, conference proceedings, magazines and technical newsletters on the subjects of computing and information technology. Some content for electronic engineering e.g ACM Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems.

    Academic Search Complete

    Academic Search Complete is a large interdisciplinary database which includes some engineering titles.

    Some articles are fulltext, others just abstracts (summaries) of the fulltext.

    Access to Research

    Access to Research is a scheme in UK public libraries to allow free access to academic journals for the public. You can check what journals are available and read abstracts online but full text access is only available in the public library.


    AERADE is being redesigned. Some access to aerospace and defence resources.

    Business Source Complete

    Business Source Complete is a large database that specialises in management, business and economics, though there are also some engineering-related titles.

    Some articles are fulltext, others are abstract (summary) only.


    Emerald is a multidisciplinary database of journals published by Emerald.

    For some articles the database only has abstracts (summaries) but for others it contains the fulltext.


    A large collection of electronic books, videos and tutorials (Learning Paths). Although focussed on computing and information technology there is also material on electrical and electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, composites, business and project management.

    Also accessible via iOS and Android apps.