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Key databases for English

If you need to find journal articles about a subject that you are researching or studying, it is important to search journal databases. Type your topic into the search screen of the database to obtain a list of relevant journal articles, and remember to look at help screens or Library guides to make the most of what is on offer.

Below is a list of journal databases which are most often used in English. You can also see a complete list of databases for English available from the Library.

20th Century Drama

Find full text of up to 2,500 plays from the English-speaking world from the 1890s to the present. The advanced search allows you to refine your search by theatre company, director, place/date first performed, genre and subject, as well as the standard keyword, title or playwright. There is also a Find monologues option. New content is added regularly.

Guide to using 20th Century Drama

ABELL (Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature)

This database allows you to search for journal articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, and collections of essays and doctoral dissertations published anywhere in the world from 1920 onwards. All aspects and periods of English literature are covered, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day. This database is updated monthly. It includes material in languages other than English.

Guide to using ABELL (Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature)

Early English Books Online

Almost all subjects are covered: English literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, mathematics, and science.Contains digital page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700, beginning with the first book printed in English by William Caxton.Contains about 100,000 of over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) and Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) and their revised editions, as well as the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661) collection and the Early English Books Tract Supplement. Search or read the full text, and view page images and any illustrative content.

Guide to using Early English Books Online

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

This database, which contains over 180,000 titles, allows you to search or read the full text of books, pamphlets, essays or broadsides printed in the UK or the Americas between 1701 and 1800, on any topic.?Works included are primarily in English but some foreign-language material printed in England is also present. As well as searching the text you can view page images and illustrative content. The database is updated annually.

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)

Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts covers the international literature in all aspects of the study of language. This includes phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. The database indexes journal articles, books, dissertations and working papers from 1973 onwards.

Guide to using Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)

Literature Online

Search and find the full text of over 350,000 works of English and American poetry, prose and drama, over 300 full-text literature journals and many detailed works of reference and criticism. It also links out to authoritative websites. LION is underpinned by browsable lists arranged by author, period, nationality, literary movement, ethnicity and gender. Updated 9-10 times a year.

Guide to using Literature Online


An excellent source of news information, including international newspapers, trade publications and company information. All articles are available in full text. It is easy to use but remember to narrow down your search by limiting the dates or by choosing a specific set of newspapers. For example you can choose to search across all English language newspapers, or just UK national newspapers. Updated daily.

Guide to using Nexis

Oxford English Dictionary Online

The OED is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language across the English-speaking world. As well as giving definitive meanings it also acts a guide to pronunciation, lists variant spellings and provides an etymological analysis, employing over 2.5 million quotations to demonstrate usages. Updated quarterly.

Guide to using Oxford English Dictionary Online


Scopus is a large abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature from more than 18,500 journals and quality web sources, with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research.

Guide to using Scopus

Shakespeare Collection

Access and study an extensive collection of authoritative materials supporting literary, textual, historical, and performance studies. Resources include the most recent Arden Shakespeare editions of the complete works, as well as editions and adaptations of Shakespeare's works, other works published during Shakespeare's time, prompt books, the Gordon Crosse Theatrical Diaries, criticism, reviews, images, and reference.

Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive

The only literary weekly to offer comprehensive coverage of the latest and most important publications, in every subject, in several languages - as well as reviewing current theatre, cinema, music, and exhibitions. This resource is potentially useful for students and researchers of English literature and other humanities or social science subjects, and anyone needing to find out more about the reception of a 20th century literary or artistic work when it first appeared. It enables you to track the views of influential opinion makers and the controversies of the day or explore in depth the literary activity of the last 100 years. More than 250,000 reviews, letters, poems and articles are available, with full-page images.

Guide to using Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive

Web of Science

Search for journal articles using three databases; Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index and Arts and Humanities Citation Index. A current awareness service provides citation alerts for newly added journal articles. Each database is updated weekly.

Guide to using Web of Science