Finding Resources: Subject Guides

Where to start?

Following on from my general tips for finding resources and navigating the online library, this blog post will cover why you should check out Subject Guides, and highlights some resources, old and new, that you may not already know about for studies. 

When you are looking for resources, remember not everything in the Library collection is on DiscoverEd, so it’s best to check out your Subject Guide.  

Subject Guides bring together all the most relevant library resources for a subject or topic. These guides, put together by Academic Support Librarians (ASLs), are always a good place to start when you’re looking for resources.  

Subject Guides are not just course-specific, you can also find study and research tips, as well as guides on topics relevant to us all, such as the climate crisis, decolonising the curriculum and referencing and reference management. So don’t just head straight to your subject, have an explore!

I really recommend squirrelling yourself away for a while to explore the Digital primary source and archive collections – there is a whole world of amazing resources there. Even if these materials aren’t relevant to your studies, you can learn so much about history and society. 

Explore: Resources you might not know about…

Here are some resources you might not already know about, as recommended by the ASL team. These are just some ideas to get you started and to inspire you to keep exploring the Library! 

Quick links:

Science & Engineering
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Science & Engineering: 



Biology & Physics 


  • ACM Digital Library: Full-text of journal article and conference proceedings published by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and bibliographic citations from major publishers in computing.
  • IEEE Xplore: Full-text access IEEE journals, transactions, letters, conference proceedings, standards, ebooks and IET publications. 



Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences:


If you’re looking for peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings on all aspects of business studies then these 2 databases are highly recommended:

  • S&P Capital IQ: Good place to start a search for company and finance data. 



  • EconLit: indexes books, journal articles, dissertations, and articles in books published since 1969. Subjects covered include economic theory and history, fiscal theory, econometrics, agricultural economics, public finance, demography, monetary theory, international economics and others.
  • UK Data Service (UKDS): a comprehensive resource funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and delivered by the UK Data Archive to provide researchers with support, training and access to the UK’s largest collection of social, economic and population data.

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA)

  • Image and Moving Images Databases: a full list of all image and moving image databases available at the Library
  • ARTstor: digital library of images covering the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences 
  • NAXOS music library: a music listening service which allows you to search, browse and listen to over 2.2 million tracks of music, including classical, jazz folk, world music and pop and rock.
  • RILM Abstracts of music literature: this database, from the Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale, is an international bibliography of scholarly writings on music and related disciplines.

Moray House 

Health in Social Science 



  • L’Année Philologique: a specialised bibliographic database of scholarly works relating to all aspects of Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. 
  • Trismegistos: interdisciplinary portal of papyrological and epigraphical resources formerly from Egypt and the Nile valley (800 BC-AD 800), now expanding to the Ancient World in general.
  • Loeb Classical Library Online: Greek and Latin texts alongside English translations.
  • Check out the Research a Topic page on the subject guide. 


  • Online Eygyptological Bibliography: holds the largest available collection of references in Egyptological literature and is updated nearly every day.
  • Archaeopress and BAR Publishing – search individual book and journal titles in DiscoverEd for best access.
  • Oxford Handbooks Online – Archaeology: we currently have access to over 40 Oxford Handbooks related to archaeology (many are also available in the print collection) including: The Oxford handbook of archaeology, The Oxford handbook of African archaeology, The Oxford handbook of Anglo-Saxon archaeology, The Oxford Handbook of Maritime archaeology and The Oxford handbook of Mesoamerican archaeology.


  • For undergraduates, Westlaw and Lexis are the two main Law databases, through them you can access books that you might not be able to find on DiscoverEd, so follow the links to learn more.
  • For postgraduates, check out the Edward Elgar and Hart Law book packages.
  • For both, HeinOnline.

Literatures, Languages, and Cultures

  • Archives Unbound: topically-focused digital collections of historical documents.
  • Gale Literature: brings together several of Gale’s literary databases into one seamlessly cross-searchable resource on authors and their works, literary movements or genres, journal articles, literary criticism, as well as reviews of bestsellers.
  • Proquest One Literature: contains 3 million literature citations from thousands of journals, monographs, dissertations, and more than 500,000 primary works. It also includes foreign language texts.

Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Studies 

Social and Political Science (General) 

  • SAGE Research Methods: a great resource for all students and researchers in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SPS). It contains content on the steps involved in a research project, including a full range of qualitative, quantative, and mixed methods for the social and behavioural sciences.
  • Box of Broadcasts (BoB): an on demand TV and radio service for education. It allows you to search an archive of over 2 million broadcasts, recorded programmes from over 65 free-to-air channels, and create your own playlists, clips, etc. Content includes BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, ITV, Channel 4, BBC News, CNN, Sky News, etc.

Centre of African Studies 

  • Africa Portal: an open access research repository that has more than 5000+ academic articles, journals, reports, occasional papers and policy briefs on African issues.
  • There is a wide selection of archival and primary source material related to or about Africa available from Digital primary source and archive collections. Most material is from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • C.A.S section, Main Library: C.A.S. stands for the Centre of African Studies. This substantial collection of books and journals on the 4th floor of Main Library were purchased on behalf of the Centre over many years. Material in this collection was mostly published in the 20th century. The C.A.S. collection is now a closed collection i.e. no newly purchased books are added to this collection.

Politics and International Relations  

  • Political Science Complete: highly recommended if searching for peer-reviewed and scholarly journal articles, monographs, books, conference papers, etc.  Subject coverage includes comparative politics, humanitarian issues, international relations, law and legislation, non-governmental organizations and political theory.
  • ProQuest Political Science: another recommended resource that gives you access to hundreds of leading political science and international relations journals.
  • If you’re searching for newspaper articles or other news sources then take a look at Current news and news sources.

Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies 

  • Web of Science and Scopus: highly recommended if looking for peer-reviewed and scholarly journal articles, monographs, books, conference papers, etc. Web of Science includes both the Social Sciences Citation Index and the Science Citation Index.
  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine: bibliographic database that allows you to search for journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science and technology and allied historical fields.
  • The Sir Charles Lyell Collection: The Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) Collection is made up of a number of constituent collections which have been brought together at the University of Edinburgh over a span of nearly 100 years. All together these form one of the most comprehensive collections relating to nineteenth century science in the world.

Social Anthropology  

  • Anthropology Plus highly recommended if looking for journal articles, reports, commentaries, etc. This resource offers excellent coverage of all core periodicals in the field in addition to local and lesser-known journals.
  • Anthropology Online brings together a wide range of written ethnographies, field notes, seminal texts, memoirs, and contemporary studies, covering human behavior the world over. While Anthropological Fieldwork Online brings the fieldwork underpinning the great ethnographies of the early 20th century into the digital world.
  • Ethnographic Sound Archives Online brings together over 2,000 hours of previously unpublished historic field recordings from around the world, alongside their supporting field notes and ethnographers’ metadata.
  • Ethnographic Video Online (Teaching Edition) is collection of videos and segments curated to support the teaching of introductory anthropology courses. There are a variety of themes that are discussed including family and kinship, gender roles, cultural identity, belief systems and other topics centered around diversity, change, and culture.

Social Policy 

  • IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences): highly recommended if searching for peer-reviewed and scholarly journal articles, monographs, books, conference papers, etc.
  • PAIS International: covers issues in the public debate through selective coverage of a wide variety of international sources including journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, web content, and more.
  • Public Information online is a web-based archive of searchable Parliamentary and Official documents and is the only resource which will allow you to view so many Parliamentary publications in one place as PDFs.It contains publications from the Westminster Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Parliament (Senedd), Scottish Government and also Non-Parliamentary material.
  • Policy Commons: built around a directory of over 21,000 policy organisations, this resource provides access to 2.4 million books, articles, working papers, reports, policy briefs, data sets, tables, charts, media, case studies, and statistical publications from organisations including inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks and other research centres, providing a unique body of knowledge that can otherwise be difficult to find.

Social Work  

  • Social Care Online and Social Services Abstracts are top resources if you’re searching for peer-reviewed and scholarly journal articles, reviews, book chapters, conference papers, etc. Social Care Online also covers some grey literature. Social Care Online is U.K. based while Social Services Abstracts is more worldwide in coverage (with slight U.S. bias).
  • Social Work Online pairs recently published social work textbooks along with compelling documentaries, clinical demonstration videos, and engaging lectures that illustrate the complex and challenging realities social work students will face as practitioners.   



Medicine and Vet Medicine:


  • Literature review & study skills resources for intercalating medical students: really useful subject guide (not just for intercalating students).
  • Global Health (CABI): Covers human health and disease, including communicable diseases, tropical diseases, parasitic diseases and parasitology, nutrition, community and public health, and medicinal and poisonous plants, from more than 16,000 journals as well as books and grey literature (dissertations, conferences, patents, standards, annual reports, etc.) from more than 130 countries.
  • Doing a Systematic Review: recommended e-book that is a student’s guide to doing a systematic review.

Vet Medicine

  • British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Library: Database that searches BSAVA publications, including manuals, the Formulary, Companion magazine, and other resources, which together provide a comprehensive dataset of small animal clinical practice.
  • CABI VetMed Resource and other CABI sites: VetMed Resource includes CAB Abstracts bibliographic database covering over 3000 veterinary and bioscience journals, full text proceedings from major conferences worldwide, ‘in brief and in depth’ news articles on recent interest topics, specially commissioned and peer-reviewed review articles and ‘Ask a CABI expert’ which helps users search for the information they need. There’s also access to CABI’s Animal Health and Production Compendium which has information on animal diseases, their pathogens and vectors, genetics and nutrition of livestock and poultry species and breeds, an international drugs database, food safety etc.

Thank you for reading, I hope this gives you some food for thought. Stay tuned to Library blogs and social media for new resources and other updates!

Maddie Cayley – Digital Collections Engagement Assistant and Geography (MA Hons) graduate.

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