Databases for History

  • Databases will help you find journal articles and other resources relevant to your subject area. The majority of databases will provide a summary of the information found and many databases give you direct access to e-journal articles.  Other databases will provide you with a list of references to then follow up separately.  If you would like further help with using these databases or finding sources for your assignments, contact your History Librarian, Jo Akers, email

    You may also want to look at Primary Sources for History which provides access to additional online primary source material including images, newspapers, maps, legal resources, details of useful archives.

    Key databases for History

    Historical Abstracts - covers the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada), with references to articles, books and other publications from 1950 onwards; contains quite extensive abstracts for most entries; and links to journal articles.

    JSTOR - provides an archive of full text articles from a range of academic journals. Most journals covered do not give access to issues which are less than 3-5 years old.

    Bibliography of British and Irish History - highly recommended, comprehensive database providing bibliographic details of historical writing dealing with the British Isles, and with the British Empire and Commonwealth, from 55BC to the present. It lists books, articles in books and provides links to articles in journals.

    Oxford dictionary of national biography - an illustrated collection of full text articles providing the life stories of over 55,000 people, ancient and modern, who have shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond.

    Other useful databases

    Academic Search Complete - a multi-disciplinary database offering full text access to articles from more than 5,000 journals. Useful for US history.

    Box of Broadcasts (BoB) - gives you access to thousands of recorded radio and TV programmes from an online archive. It allows users to record programmes which will then be stored on the database.

    British Library EThOS: search across 350,000+ PhD British theses for free and download / order full text where available.

    IBSS International bibliography of the social sciences - includes aspects of social, political and economic history.

    Web of Science (formerly known as Web of knowledge) - a large, multi-disciplinary database, including history.

    Zetoc - covers about 20,000 current journals and conference proceedings in a range of subject areas. It also includes the Zetoc Alert service which enables you to receive journal table of contents and details of newly added material matching your search criteria.