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99-520: Information Overload: Systematic Methods for Understanding what we Know: Databases

This guide provides resources and information that might be useful for this course.

Finding Scholarly Databases

Scholarly databases (also called bibliographic databases) are organized collection of digital records for published literature, including journal articles, conference proceedings, patents, books, newspaper articles, and reports. Bibliographic databases support the advanced and reproducible searching required for evidence synthesis projects.

You can access hundreds of databases through the CMU Libraries' website. You can find the full list here and filter by subject:


By accessing databases through the links on this webpage, you will have access to CMU Libraries' licensed holdings (particularly important if you are off-campus).

Search Engines

The following search engines do not support the advanced and reproducible searching that many bibliographic databases do but they can still be useful as a supplementary resource for evidence synthesis projects and for finding literature for other types of research projects.

  • Google Scholar is a freely accessible search engine for finding scholarly literature. Be sure to configure your Google Scholar settings so that you have access to CMU Libraries' licensed holdings. This only has to be done once.
  • OpenAlex is a free index of hundreds of millions of interconnected entities across the global research system. It is open source and offers access via a web interface, API, and database snapshot.
  • is a free search engine for global patent and scholarly knowledge.

Interdisciplinary Databases

The following are good databases for finding literature in most subject areas.

Popular Databases by Subject Area


Arts & Architecture


Biological Sciences, Health and Medicine




Computer Science


Economics, Management, and Public Policy






Psychology, Social & Decision Sciences, and other Social Sciences