While burying yourself in the stacks at the library is one way to get some serious research done, with today’s technology you can do quite a bit of useful searching before you ever set foot inside a library. Undergraduates and grad students alike will appreciate the usefulness of these search engines that allow them to find books, journal articles and even primary source material for whatever kind of research they’re working on and that return only serious, academic results so time isn’t wasted on unprofessional resources.
Note: Visit our updated list for the latest in academic search engines.
Start off your research with one of these more general academic search engines.
- Intute: Use this website’s search tools to find the best and most reliable sites to start your research.
- Academic Info: Search or browse through this site for listings of the best academic websites out there.
- iSeek: Designed for teachers, students and scholars, this search engine only returns relevant and reliable results.
- RefSeek: This academic search engine will help you find useful reference material from predominately .edu, .org and .gov sites.
- VirtualLRC: The Virtual Learning Resources Center is a good place to start looking for material that can help you in your studies.
- Academic Index: Find information that can set the stage for your future research using this helpful search tool.
- BUBL Link: If you like your resources organized by the Dewey Decimal System, this site is perfect for your online research.
- Digital Library of the Commons: This site organizes all the best free information on the web including articles, books, images and even dissertations in one easily searchable place.
Want to search it all at once? Try these tools that let you search multiple sites at once, saving you the time of doing so on your own.
- Dogpile: Search Google, Yahoo, Bing and more at once with this great search engine.
- MetaCrawlerWeb: By searching several search sites at once you’ll save time and get better results when you use this tool.
- mamma: Find news, images, video or web results from the top search sites on the web here.
- Myriad Search: This site lets you customize your search of multiple search engines.
- HotBot: Choose which search tool you’d like to use when searching through the information found here.
- SurfWax: This customizable search engine lets you search through Wikipedia, RSS feeds, news and more.
- Clusty: This site searches through several other search engines and organizes the results into clustered and more easily manageable groups.
- Copernic Agent: Try out this tool to search through a variety of engines on the web, sort out your desktop or find a piece of news you know is out there.
Databases and Archives
Databases and archives can be a great place to find primary and secondary sources for your work, so use these online search tools to dive into them headfirst.
- Library of Congress: This huge library has a large number of fully-searchable archives containing books, source documents, photos and more.
- Archives Hub: Using this site you’ll get access to the archives of major UK universities and colleges.
- Archival Research Catalog: Browse through the holdings of the US National Archives or use their helpful search tool to find just what you’re looking for.
- arXiv: Find articles on physics, math, computer science, biology and finance using this amazing and expansive archival database.
- Celestial Registered Archives: This site is a search engine for archives themselves, letting you search through and find collections that might meet your needs.
- Archivenet: Try out this Dutch site for access to archival materials found in the Netherlands and around Europe.
- NASA Historical Archive: Find relevant information on NASA’s space missions, history, and more on this site.
- National Agricultural Library: If your research involves agriculture, you may want to see what this government search engine and archive has to offer.
- The Smithsonian Institution Research Information System: The Smithsonian is one of the largest museums in the world, and you can find out more about what they have in their holdings using this helpful search engine.
- UNESCO Archives Portal: This site is an excellent resource for finding out what archives are out there, how to find them, and how you can get access to them for research.
- The British Library Archives: As one of the largest libraries in the world, these archives hold an impressive amount of information that you can search through here.
Books and Journals
You don’t always have to head to the library to do research in books and journals. Try these great search engines from home to see what’s out there.
- WorldCat: If in the course of your research you’ve found a book you need and your local library doesn’t have it, what do you do? That’s where this search engine is incredibly useful, letting you find out the next closest library where you can access the material.
- Google Books: While not all the books on here are represented in full-text, it’s still a great search tool for finding books that could serve you well in your research and getting a sneak peek at what they hold inside.
- Scirus: This search engine will return only high-quality scientific information from journals, so you know you’re not wasting your time with unusable sources.
- HighBeam Research: This tool lets you search through over 6,000 publications in one place.
- Vadlo: Look through loads of biomedical and life sciences articles on this site.
- Open Library: If you need books and you need them now, see what this free and public domain library has to offer.
- Online Journals Search Engine: Find just about every journal out there that’s available online, both free and pay, with this search engine.
- Google Scholar: While regular Google can be a helpful tool, sometimes you just need scholarly results, and that’s just what this tool does, paring down results to the most reliable and academic sources.
- Bioline International: Through this site you can search through free and open access medical journals.
- SpringerLink: While searching through this site is free, you may need to pay to see the full text of some articles.
- Directory of Open Access Journals: If you don’t have the budget to pay for articles, try out this search engine. It’ll show you where the best free online journals related to your subject area can be found.
These academic search engines focus on returning high-quality scientific results.
- SciNet Science Search: Find the best science and technology related resources through this search engine.
- SciSeek: This site is home to an excellent search engine and directory for just about every niche area of science.
- Chem BioFinder: Look up chemicals, their properties and their reactions through this registration-required search engine.
- BiologyBrowser: On this site you’ll be able to find curated resources that are relevant to biology-related work.
- Athenus: This search engine will help you find news and information related to science and engineering.
- Scicentral: On this site you’ll not only find a helpful search engine, but a directory of the best science news sources on the web.
- Strategian: Find quality information on science, math, medicine and more through this search engine.
- INIS Web Services: Those doing research on the nuclear sciences will find a great database and search tool here.
- Science.gov: See what scientific resources the government has to offer by using this great search engine.
- CERN Document Server: Check out this site to search through over a million scientific documents.
Math and Technology
Those working in mathematics or computer science will find these search engines to be a big help.
- Math Links Library: Search through a great collection of math links on this site.
- Math Guide: This German site offers math resources to search or browse.
- ZMATH Online Database: Try out this European site to access 2.8 million articles and references on scholarly mathematical research.
- MathWeb Search: Instead of searching for text, why not search for a formula using this search tool?
- TechSearch: Find great technology-related resources using this search engine.
- Current Index to Statistics: If your project involves needing some stats, use this search engine to find the latest.
- Inspec: Search through Inspec to find over 11 million bibliographic abstracts related to work in science and technology.
- CiteSeer: On this site you’ll find the Scientific Research Digital Library, which is entirely searchable using this tool.
- The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies: Find a great number of computer science related reference materials through this search engine.
- Citebase: This experimental site will let you search through abstracts to find information that best suits your needs.
Find great information on sociology, psychology, anthropology and more using these search sites.
- Behavioral Brain Science Archive: Find articles related to psychology and brain science in the extensive searchable archive located on this site.
- Social Science Research Network: Join this research network to get easy access to the best and latest articles released on the social sciences.
- PsycLine: This search engine lets you quickly find and access articles from psychology and social science journals on the web.
- Social Science Citation Index: While not free, this site is a valuable resource, letting you quickly search through citations to find what you need.
- Ethnologue: Search through thousands of citations on language research as well as information on every one of the world’s known languages here.
- SocioSite: Based out of the University of Amsterdam, this site lets you search by journal, subject, institution, language and more.
- The SocioWeb: If sociological resources are what you need, this site has got you covered with an easy-to-use search engine.
- WikiArc: This custom search engine makes it simple to find archaeology resources.
- Encyclopedia of Psychology: Look up basic information about psychological terms and history on this site.
- Anthropology Review Database: Use this search engine to find information referenced in the Anthropology Review.
- Anthropological Index Online: This searchable index is maintained by the Royal Anthropological Institute and the British Museum and hosts and number of great and useful resources.
Try out one of these search engines to find excellent resources for the study of history.
- David Rumsey Map Collection: This site is home to an archived and searchable historical map collection that has a lot to offer a wide range of historians.
- GENESIS: Take a closer look at women’s history through the search results delivered by this site.
- Footnote: Search through original documents and archives uploaded by users on this social history site.
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook: You can either search or browse through this site that collects the best resources on the web for researching modern history.
- History Guide: Use this German search engine to get results for the best history sites on the web.
- History Buff: On this site, you’ll be able to search through a great collection of primary source material, all free to use.
- Digital History: You could search through this site, but you’ll probably want to take your time browsing as it’s full of primary documents, multimedia and more.
- Ancient History Sourcebook: Search this site to find the best resources to use for any ancient history project.
- History and Politics Out Loud: Give this site a try to find a wealth of audio recordings from famous speeches.
- History Engine: Search through the articles on this site, or add your own, to start researching historical topics.
Business and Economics
Through these search engines you can bring up journal articles, business information and market details.
- BPubs: Use this search engine to find the kind of business publications and articles you need for your research.
- Virtual Library of Labour History: Study the history of the working world a little more closely with the resources provided by this search tool.
- EconLit: Delve into a library of economics journal articles and publications using this search engine.
- National Bureau of Economic Research: Search through this site to find out more about the research done by this organization.
- RePEc: The Research Papers in Economics site is a great place to find articles and information on economics for whatever projects you have in mind.
- Corporate Information: If you want to know a little more about a company, use this search engine to dive headfirst into their financial records.
- Inomics: Designed just for economists, this site is a great place to search for courses, conferences and more.
- DailyStocks: Search for stocks that you follow on this site to monitor the ups and downs of the market.
If you still haven’t seen the kind of search engine you need, check these out as well.
- PubMed: You’ll be able to search through more than 19 million citations and references in the medical field using this site.
- Lexis: Get reliable results for legal search queries using this site.
- Catalaw: Using this site, you can delve into the catalogs of law information on the web from every corner of the globe.
- Analytical Sciences Digital Library: Use this site to search through peer-reviewed educational resources on the analytical sciences.
- AULIMP: The Air University Military Library Index of Military Periodicals is a great place to search for information about US military history.
- CHBD: Check out the Circumpolar Health Bibliographic Database for access to the best health-related articles coming out of Canada.
- ERIC: Search through the Education Resources Information Center for articles, resources and more related to education.
- MedlinePlus: If you’re still in need of some medical reference information, try searching through this site for help.
Answer your basic questions with these useful search engines and sources of reference.
- Bloomsbury Magazine Research Centre: Search through quotations, a thesaurus, art, myths and more on this reference site.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus: Find definitions and synonyms on this great reference site to bookmark.
- References.net: Even the best of us need to look things up now and then and this site provides all the reference material you could ever need.
- Quotes.net: Need a quote? You’ll likely find the one you were thinking of here.
- Literary Encyclopedia: This literary search engine will let you search an author by name, a book title, or even a particular topic.