Library Sources: Part 2

UK Libraries provides access to many millions of sources that include books (ebooks and print books), databases, journals, archival works, image collections, multimedia collections, and more. In the prior section, I focused on using Infokat to search some of these collections. In this section, I focus on a handful of the databases that UK Libraries offers.

I can only focus on a handful of databases because UK Libraries, as a major research institution and because of its large student body and wide range of majors, provides access to 717 total databases (as of summer 2023). Many of these databases are specialized (e.g., African American and Africana Studies, Appalachian Studies) or cover a broad general research area (e.g., Chemistry, Education). But a few are designed to be super broad; that is, they are databases of databases. I've already covered Academic Search Complete in prior sections, which is one example of a database of databases. In this section, I'll cover another one plus some citation databases.

Remember that if you have desktop Zotero plus the Zotero browser add-on installed, Zotero will automatically recognize when you have a web page open for a specific item in of these databases. Thus, use Zotero when examining these databases to collect information on your Wikipedia topic.

While I will only cover a few databases in this section, I encourage you to explore all that's offered. To access the databases, you can browse the list on UK Libraries' website:

A-Z Databases

You can also search that list using topical keywords in the search box, you can limit results to specific subject areas, and you can focus on database types. Like document types in the ASC database, database types indicate something about the source. Potential types include:

  • Audio/Video
  • Digitize primary sources
  • E-book collections
  • Government documents
  • Image collections, and more.
A-Z Databases
Fig. 1: A-Z Databases


Factiva is a helpful database for locating news, market, and company information. You can search against subjects, industries, within regions, and you can add other limits. There are a slew of some advanced search operators that help power up your search. You can read through the list of operators and field codes to use when searching Factiva.

Factiva Search Builder
Fig. 2: Factiva Search Builder

We can try an example search. Let's say I'm interested in any news about Google and open source software. To search this in Factiva, I can approach the query simply, like so (being sure to wrap open source in quotes):

"open source" AND google 

This search was conducted on Aug 1, 2022, and you can see there are 4,244 results.

On the left side you can see a distribution of articles by date of publication, a list of relevant companies that appear in the documents that were retrieved, as well as lists of sources, subjects, industries, languages, regions, and so forth.

If I wanted to export any of these documents, I can click on specific check boxes and export the results in various ways, either as RTF or a PDF files, or have it email the results to me or print them. We can look at the publication data distribution and note whether there are more results on a given day than on others. This may suggest a hot news day for this particular topic and that may be something we want to explore.

Let's go back to the search builder. Say I found that the previous set of results were hit or miss and, as a result, I want to refine my search. Now I can try the adjacent operator. The adjacent operator tells the database to only return documents where the query terms appear within a set amount of space between each other. The assumption is that the closer any terms are to each other, the more likely the document will be about those terms. Thus, if I replace the and operator with the adj5 operator, I ask Factiva to return documents where the term open source is within five words of the term Google:

"open source" adj5 google

You can see that the results are much different than the previous one. Here I only have 205 results. The list of companies have also changed, and more. If we investigate any of these documents, you and confirm that our two terms, which are highlighted, appear within five words of each other in all the results.

As stated, there are many operators in Factiva besides adj[N]. At that link, you can see that the standard Boolean operators are available: and, or, not. There are more proximity and other operators, such as:

  • w/N
  • "open soruce" w/5 google
  • like the adj operators
  • same
    • "open source" same google
    • terms must appear in same paragraph
  • near[N]
    • "open source" near5 google
    • like adj but bi-directional
  • atleastN
    • atleast5 google and "open source"
    • 'google' must appear at least 5 times in document

Remember that you can create an account for Factiva if you want to save or export your searches. Zotero is also capable of extracting bibliographic information from Factiva and will recognize that a source document is, for example, a news article or like.

Web of Science

Web of Science (WoS) is an abstract & indexing citation database. This means that the database does not directly provide full text access but it does link to UK Library when full text is available for results. As a citation database, it also provides the number of citations each result has received, and this is a way to find additional relevant documents.

The Core Collection is the default collection/database. This is Web of Sciences' main database and includes coverage of the sciences, the arts, and the humanities. WoS offers other databases that mostly cover the sciences, and you can search all of those databases at the same time, but it's often better to focus on the core collection when starting.

Let's try a search. We can try our open source and Google search, as seen in Figure 3:

WoS search for 'open source' and google
Fig. 3: WoS search for 'open source' and google

I can keep the default field search set to All Fields, or focus on other fields, like Topic, which searches titles, abstracts, and keywords.

As of August 1, 2022, this query retrieves 1,134 results. Let's say that my search is a bit too broad still, and I want to refine my query to narrow my results. Just like in Factiva, WoS offers a proximity operator called NEAR. Let's try it out with the following query on the WoS advanced search page:

WoS advanced search for TS=(
Fig. 4: WoS advanced search for TS=("open source" NEAR google)

Now there are only 9 results, and if I examine the title, abstract, or keywords for the results, I'll see that the term "google" is placed within five words of the term "open source". If I want to really narrow down my search, I can change the field to Title only.

The default results list is to show articles that are published more recently. I can change this default sorting method so that WoS sorts based on sources that have the highest citations first. Once I do this, I can go to the right side, and look at the Times Cited link and see which articles have been cited the most. This is what makes WoS a citation database. We don't have to use WoS as a citation database, but this is what separates WoS from many other scholarly databases.

Theoretically, each one of these citing articles should be related to the article that is cited by them. I can them peruse these citing articles to help me find even more relevant sources of information.

Instead of basic search, we can search by author, cited reference, and more. If you click on the big question mark button in WoS, you'll find a guide on how to use WoS. The guide includes some tips on the use of various search operators, including the NEAR operator as well as the Boolean operators.

Remember that Web of Science doesn't offer direct access to content, but notice that there is this Full Text @ W. T. Young link at the bottom of some records in the search results. This link is connected to Infokat, which knows that if the article is available, Infokat can retrieve it. If not, then we can request it through interlibrary loan. Also, in some cases there's also a link to look up the full text in Google Scholar if the source is freely available on the web (this is usually called open access).

Remember that you can create an account for WoS if you want to save your searches or create folders (called Marked Lists) in WoS. Although the vendor that provides WoS is also the same vendor that provides the EndNote reference manager, Zotero is also capable of extracting bibliographic information here.

Google Scholar

Let's try Google Scholar now. Google Scholar isn't technically a library database since it's freely accessible on the web, but I will show you how to connect it to Infokat so that it functions like WoS or other databases that we've covered.

Google Scholar doesn't have the kind of search operators that either Factiva or Web of Science have, but it's a freely available citation database that indexes a lot of content. In Google and related search products, like Google Scholar, the AND operator does not need to be specified. Thus the following search is translated as: "open source" AND google

Google Scholar search for
Fig. 5: Google Scholar search for "open source" google

You can see here we get a lot of results. Maybe even too much. If we want to limit our results, we have to use other tricks. The most common one is simply to add more specific keywords to our query. E.g., if I add "android" to the query, that reduces the results.

"open source" google android

There is an advanced search option. However, since Google Scholar is indexing full text sources and not structured bibliographic records, this means that it can't offer the kind of advanced search we've seen in database searches. It is pretty useful, though. For example, Figure 6 shows an advanced search for the terms google and "open sources" but it excludes the term android in the title, and it asks for results published from 2018 to today. You can see that this substantially narrows our results. As of August 1, 2022, Google Scholar returns only 35 hits.

Google Scholar search for
Fig. 6: Google Scholar search for "open source" google not android in title

Other than that, one of the nice things about Google Scholar is that it's also a citation database. You can see the Cited by N link just below each result. If something has been cited, click on that to follow citations.

The reason Google Scholar returns so many more results is because it casts a bigger net than something like Web of Science does, which purposefully casts a smaller net. Because of that, I find Google Scholar can return many non-relevant works, but it makes it nice for browsing or discovery. Web of Science shines for more rigorous and methodical literature searches.

The observant among you may have noticed that in Figure 5, there is a View Now @ UK link. The reason Google Scholar provides that link is that I've configured it to talk with UK's Infokat. This is something you have to set up, but it's pretty simple to do. Just click on settings, and then go to Library Links, and then search for the University of Kentucky. Check the box next to it. Be sure that you're signed into Google if you want to save this as a preference. After that, you should see the View Now option when something is available via UK Libraries.

Google Scholar View Now Setup
Fig. 7: Google Scholar View Now Setup


JSTOR is multi-disciplinary database. Like other databases, you can limit results by Item Type, Language, Publication Date, subject area, and more. JSTOR also provides proximity search using the NEAR operator.

JSTOR covers subjects such as:

  • Arts
  • Business & Economics
  • History
  • Medicine & Allied Health
  • Science & Mathematics
  • Security studies
  • Social Sciences, and more.

Each of these subject areas includes access to many journal titles, and therefore, many journal articles. JSTOR has long focused on back issues of journals, but in recent years has made moves to include current literature and open access content (this is content that is freely available). The content in JSTOR is high quality, peer-reviewed work, which makes JSTOR a great place to gather documents on a topic that you want to research in-depth. My "open source" and google query for Images returns 26 results.

JSTOR image search
Fig. 8: JSTOR Image Search

JSTOR also includes ARTSTOR, which is separate from the JSTOR images search above. ARTSTOR is database of art and multimedia objects, much of which is also available as open access.

Again, remember that if you have desktop Zotero plus the Zotero browser add-on installed, Zotero will automatically recognize when you have a web page open for a specific item in in JSTOR. Thus, you can use Zotero with JSTOR to collect information on your Wikipedia topic.


That covers Factiva, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and JSTOR. Remember that Factiva is a general-interest news database; WoS and Google Scholar are both citation, scholarly databases; and JSTOR is a scholarly and image database.

In the next section, we begin to cover web content. Although it might have been appropriate to include Google Scholar in the next section, I included it here because of its ability to link directly to UK's Infokat. This won't be the case for resources I cover next.