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Library Research Skills for Biologists

Article indexes

How can I use this?

You may feel comfortable using Summon to look for scholarly information, but what if you need to make sure your search is more comprehensive? Where can you perform a more in depth search on your research topic? To improve the completeness of your search and find the best articles on your topic, you will need to use an additional tool: article indexes.

What is an article index?

Generally, you would choose an article index based on the subject area, date coverage, publication type, etc. Keep in mind that the interfaces or search engines vary between indexes but the search techniques remain essentially the same. Articles indexes are also sometimes called library databases. (What is a library database video?)


Eventually, you will become familiar with some of the indexes in your area of study. Until that time, if you are not sure which article index(es) to use, here are two ways to find out:

Step One: First: Use the research guides!

In another browser window, try the following...

  • Go to the Woodward Library Home page:
  • Under Subjects We Specialize In..., click on Science and select a research guide: Biology, Botany, Microbiology & Immunology, Zoology, etc.
  • In the guide, click on Articles tab. This tab lists the best article indexes for this subject.

Step Two: Second: Ask the Library Staff!

  • Chat online with a Librarian using AskAway.
  • Visit the Woodward Library or telephone (604-822-2883) to ask for help in selecting an index or indexes. Check the Woodward Library Reference hours to plan your in-person visit.