Category Archives: Don’t-Miss Database

Don’t-Miss Database: GeoRef

Logo for GeoRef database

Post contributed by Deric Hardy, Librarian for Science and Engineering

Are you a Duke researcher in need of a tool to perform thorough searches of the body of existing scholarly geoscience literature?

If the answer is yes, then look no further than the GeoRef research database, available through the Duke University Libraries.

GeoRef provides broad coverage of geology and geoscience literature and is a valuable search and discovery tool for Duke science and engineering students, researchers, and scholars.

Created in 1966 by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), this research database provides Duke users with geological coverage of North America from 1666 to the present, as well as global coverage from 1933 to the present.

Why Should You Use This?

Today, researchers across science and engineering disciplines want access to efficient search tools that maximize search results, condense search processes, and save time.

GeoRef provides researchers with access to scholarly material on a wide range of environmental issues with global impact, such as sustainability, emissions reduction, climate change, and other emerging climate research themes aligned with the Duke Climate Commitment.

As an important research tool, it contains 4.6 million total records and includes scientific journals in 40 languages, as well as books, reports, maps, theses, dissertations, and geological survey publications.

Cool Features

Students and researchers commonly perform literature searches using separate research databases, but what if there was a search tool that allowed users to search multiple databases simultaneously from a single interface?

The Engineering Village, a multi-database platform that includes GeoRef, Inspec, and Compendex databases, provides users with this type of interface and capability to perform what is known as “Federated Search.”

logo of Engineering Village database

screenshot of Engineering Village federated search

The “Federated Search” functionality provides researchers with the ability to search GeoRef, Inspec, and Compendex with one search for a larger, more diversified, yet comprehensive range of scholarly search results.

Screenshot of Engineering Village database search

Database Tips

Researchers who want to narrow down a huge number of search results to more research relevant sources will find these additional database techniques useful for refining their queries.

“Autostemming,” a default Engineering Village search feature, provides users with results containing all possible variations of keywords entered into a search by users, including root terms and any additional words with alternative suffixes.

Screenshot of search filters and autostemming option in Engineering Village database

Additionally, users may utilize the “Thesaurus Search” feature to perform searches using controlled vocabulary exclusive to each Engineering Village database.

“Thesaurus Search” allows researchers to locate indexed articles more precisely related to their selected geoscience research topic in a fast and accurate manner.

Similar Resources

Duke University Libraries offers multidisciplinary and subject-specific databases that give researchers greater capabilities for both broad and narrow scoping of the current geoscience scientific literature.

The following list of available research databases, in addition to GeoRef, and other Engineering Village databases, are recommended for geoscience literature searches:


Web of Science


Environment Complete
Earth, Atmospheric, and Aquatic Science Collection (ASFA)


Contact Deric Hardy, Librarian for Science and Engineering.

Don’t-Miss Database: Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry

Screenshot of Columbia Granger's World of Poetry homepagePost contributed by Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Head, Humanities and Social Sciences and Librarian for Literature

The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry was originally a print index (first edited by Edith Granger in 1904) with thirteen editions. Though the online resource has many enhanced features, you can still search by poet, title, and first line. The word “world” in the title is apt because the poets represented span many countries.

Why Should You Use This?

This database is a reliable resource for locating a specific poem. Though there are great online resources like the Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets that you can also use, some of what you will find online isn’t accurate or is incomplete. There are over 300,000 poems in full text and 450,000 citations in Granger’s. These numbers mean that frequently you can read the poem right there.

Screenshot of Ada Limon's poem, "Almost Forty an Old Story," in Columbia Granger's World of Poetry

If the full text of the poem isn’t available, you can learn where it was published. You can then locate that publication in Duke Libraries. As shown in the example below, the poem “America I Do Not Call Your Name Without Hope” is available in the book Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness in our collection.

Screenshot of information about the poem "America I Do Not Call Your Name Without Hope" in Granger's World of Poetry Database

Cool Features

Since I firmly believe that hearing a poem read out loud enhances the experience, one of my favorite features is the Listening Room. Most of the poems included are classics, but you can listen to contemporary poets or actors. For example, you can listen to Rita Dove read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43. I also like the Compare Poems feature where you can look at two poems side-by-side.

Database Tips

In many cases the quick search box for “poet” and “poem” is sufficient, but the advanced search options are useful if you don’t already have a specific poem in mind.

Screenshot of advanced search in Granger's World of Poetry

Similar Resources

Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry is one of the best tools for locating a specific poem, but we do have full text poetry collections such as African American Poetry, American Poetry, and English Poetry!


Contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Head, Humanities and Social Sciences and Librarian for Literature.

Don’t-Miss Database: Trismegistos

Screenshot of homepage of Trismegistos databasePost contributed by Greta Boers, Librarian for Classical Studies

Trismegistos (“An interdisciplinary portal of the ancient world”), is a tool for discovering writings from ancient Egypt and the Nile Valley, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe at any time between 800BC and 800AD. This ongoing project at the Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven describes primary texts held by more than 150 institutions, in over 50 ancient languages, and as of March 2024, contained 962,930 entries.

Why Should You Use This Database?

You can use Trismegistos as a discovery tool for ancient writings preserved on papyrus, stone, pottery, and metal, as well as other media, from collections on websites, and in museums, archives, and universities around the world.

By providing systematic metadata for each text, Trismegistos offers both flexible and nuanced ways to search them. The results point to the institutions which house the texts, and in some instances the full text itself. Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri and, a project initiated by Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing (DC3), are among the institutions linked from the database.

Cool Features

You could pass the time discovering that in Alexandria the new moon in January 400 BC was on the 26th  by the Julian calendar, but on the 27th of the month of Phaophi in the Egyptian calendar.

If you wanted to learn Old Nubian it is possible to find 565 of the existing texts. You can sort these by material, using the graph. In this case the limit is to texts in stone. If you click on TM 99098 it will take you to another link to commentaries, including the 1927 article in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

Screenshot of search results for Old Nubian in Trismegistos database

Screenshot of list of Old Nubian texts from search in Trismegistos database

Screenshot of citation to commentary from Trismegistos database

Using Trismegistos as your search tool, you can find the earliest fragment (AD01 – AD02) of Dioskorides’ De Materia Medica in papyrus at the University of Cologne, as well as the famously beautiful codex (AD06) at the National Library of Austria.

Screenshot of texts found through Trismegistos database

Tax extensions? A lentil cook requested to postpone his taxes because of unfair competition from pumpkinseed sellers in the 3rd century BC. Trismegistos points you to, which links to an image in Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence.

Database Tips

The database has two tiers, one is freely accessible to a general audience. Duke subscribes to the version that offers more sophisticated search capabilities, visualizations (pie charts, tables, maps, word clouds, and timelines), and exporting, with a steeper learning curve. Duke users can access this version of Trismegistos our Libraries’ website.

Similar Resources

There are many other library research databases which mine texts in the ancient world. These include Thesaurus Linguae Graecae and Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Be sure to look at the Research Databases page for other resources. Another prime resource is the Digital Classicist Wiki which points to many open access resources for research in the ancient world.


Contact Greta Boers, Librarian for Classical Studies.

Don’t-Miss Database: CAB Abstracts

Photo of unnamed grassy, mountainous region with title CAB Abstracts superimposed

Post contributed by Jodi Psoter, Librarian for Marine Science

CAB Abstracts searches books, articles, conference papers, and reports from over 120 countries in fifty languages. This resource focuses on the applied life sciences field, including agriculture, forestry, human nutrition, veterinary medicine, and the environment. Date coverage is from 1973 to the present. Additionally, your search results will include references from the archive (1910-1972) for seventeen print journals.

Why Should You Use This?

With an international focus and an interdisciplinary scope, this is a great resource for climate and environmental research topics including ecology, marine science, climate change, aquafarming, forestry, soil science, engineering, and hydrology. The international coverage provides English-language abstracts for all non-English language publications.

Screen shot of a citation record with the language field identified by a red box

Cool Features

When I work with students, I remind them that not everyone describes a concept using the same word. A database’s thesaurus helps to find the single word that will retrieve results even if an author uses a variation of your search term. It’s like finding a keyword #hashtag for your topic. The following screenshot shows that “oyster culture” is the preferred word when looking for information about “oyster farming.”

Screenshot of a thesaurus search for oyster farming in CAB Abstracts with the preferred term oyster culture highlighted.

Database Tips

CAB Abstracts is just one database that DUL purchases from EBSCOhost. Click the “Choose Database” link to replicate your search in multiple databases. Bonus: This works in all the EBSCOhost databases not just CAB Abstracts!

Screenshot highlighting Choose Databases option in CAB Abstracts

Screenshot listing databases for simultaneous searching in CAB Abstracts

Similar Resources

Additional databases where you can search for the intersection of climate and other disciplines include: Gender Watch, Communications & Mass Media Complete, and Points of View Reference Center. Check out our Research Databases page for more great resources!


Contact Jodi Psoter, Librarian for Marine Science.

Don’t-Miss Database: The Japan Times Archives

Screenshot of The Japan Times Archives basic search pagePost contributed by Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies

The Japan Times Archives offers a searchable collection of digitized issues of Japan’s largest and longest running English-language newspaper, covering the years 1865 through the present. The database also includes access to digitized issues of several subsidiary newspapers, including The Japan Advertiser, The Japan Times & Mail, The Japan Times and Advertiser, and The Nippon Times.

Why Should You Use This Database?

For faculty and students working in English, this database offers perhaps the most comprehensive cross-section of current events in Japanese history, society, and politics, especially as they relate to the international community. The chronological coverage is also unmatched as users can explore articles from Japan’s closed-country period shortly before 1868, through wartime and postwar periods of the mid-twentieth century, and beyond to Japan’s current moment.

Cool Features

The coolest feature of this database is the ability to run full-text searches in any issue. This is made possible through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This means that if a user is looking for articles on a very specific topic—even a single keyword—during a narrow run of issues, they can have results in a few seconds. For example, if a user wants to gather articles on the Anpo protests, a series of massive and violent demonstrations protesting the United States-Japan Security treaty, and which were most concentrated in 1960, they might search for “protest” and narrow to the mid-year period of 1960, as below:

Screenshot of search interface with “protest” used as search term, dates defined as May through June 1960, and issues set to “main.”

This search will return more than 500 results with the term “protest” either in the headline or article text. Users can then browse to find the article that suits their needs.

June 16, 1960, article covering the Anpo protests.

Database Tips

Don’t limit yourself to newspaper articles! Advertisements are also a great way to better understand the commercial and visual design histories of Japan. In addition to local products and events, many issues also advertised international products. If users are interested in how Japan participated in international commercial markets, or what types of appeals were made to local consumers, there are thousands of options here.

March 22, 1897, advertisement for Murai & Bros. tobacco products, which were manufactured in Winston, North Carolina.

January 1, 1939, advertisement for Tokyo New Grand Restaurant.

Similar Resources

A few of Duke’s other Japanese historical newspaper databases include Yomiuri Shimbun 讀賣新聞 (in Japanese), Asahi Shimbun 朝日新聞 (in Japanese), and Mainichi Shimbun 每日新聞 (in Japanese). Rubenstein Library also holds the Masaki Motoi Collection of Japanese Student Movement Materials, which contains several original issues of left-wing student newspapers from 1959 through 1977.


Contact Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies.

Don’t-Miss Database: Qwest TV EDU

Screenshot of Qwest TV EDU database landing page

Post contributed by Laura Williams, Head of the Music Library.

Qwest TV EDU is a video streaming channel showcasing Black music and global sounds. Created by music legend Quincy Jones, the database features a wide range of musical genres and styles, including jazz, the blues, soul, funk, world music, electronic music, classical music, and much more.

Why Should You Use This?

Qwest TV provides several major categories to explore in its catalog, including concerts, documentaries, and a rich trove of archival material with showstopping performances by legendary artists. Videos in Qwest TV span historic recordings from the 1950s right up to the present day, showcasing the storied history of musical styles and influences around the world.

The archive features some extraordinary live performances, including a 1963 Parisian concert by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, and a 1982 performance by the legendary Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, with dazzling virtuosic solos by the young Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis.

Ella Fitzgerald Live at the Olympia, Paris (1963)
Ella Fitzgerald Live at the Olympia, Paris (1963)
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Live at the Village Vanguard (1982)
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Live at the Village Vanguard (1982)

Cool Features

One of the most interesting ways to delve into Qwest TV’s offerings is through recommendation lists created by Guest Curators who bring wide-ranging perspectives to their selections. Qwest TV also features some original content, such as Twelve Qwestions, a series of exclusive interviews. In anticipation of Gregory Porter’s visit to Duke in February 2024 through Duke Arts, you can explore his curated list of selections, a Twelve Qwestions interview, a documentary about the two-time Grammy Award-winning singer, as well as a live performance:

Gregory Porter “Liquid Spirit” -- Live at Jazz a la Villette Festival (2013)
Gregory Porter “Liquid Spirit” — Live at Jazz a la Villette Festival (2013)

Database Tips

A myriad of browsing categories connect content in a variety of interesting ways, highlighting Fresh Talents and Gems from the Vaults, as well as bringing together imaginative groupings such as Space is the Place (a celebration of spiritual jazz), the somewhat enigmatic New Ancient Strings, and an exploration of electronica in Africatronics.

One of the most exciting videos I discovered is a recent concert from the New World Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Eddins which “explores a symphonic world that influenced and was influenced by the musical heritage of the African diaspora.” Stunning performances by the orchestra and celebrated American soprano and scholar Dr. Louise Toppin are illuminated throughout by the historical commentary and insights provided by noted musicologist Dr. Tammy Kernodle, making this concert nothing short of extraordinary from both a musical and scholarly standpoint.

New World Symphony - Harlem Renaissance2023
New World Symphony – Harlem Renaissance

Similar Resources

Other related streaming databases that might be of interest are the Naxos Music Library Jazz, Smithsonian Global Sound, and EDU, which features a similar international lineup of live concerts and documentaries, but with more emphasis on classical music, opera, and ballet. You’ll find more on our Online Listening and Viewing page.


Contact Laura Williams, Head of the Music Library.

Don’t-Miss Databases: Proquest Black Studies

Image from Proquest Black Studies

Proquest Black Studies combines primary and secondary sources, leading historical Black newspapers, archival documents, government materials, video, writings by major American Black intellectuals and leaders, and essays by top scholars in Black Studies. Years of coverage include 1650 to the present.

Why Should You Use This?

Anyone looking for primary sources in African American studies should start here. Proquest Black Studies provides access to a wide range of primary sources under one platform. You’ll find records of organizations including the Black Panther Party and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs Records, 1895-1992. Jump start your research on historical figures (e.g., pilot Bessie Coleman) by browsing the Featured People list. You can also search the full text of eleven historical Black newspapers.

Bessie Coleman, First Licensed African American Woman Female Pilot
Bessie Coleman, First Licensed African American Woman Female Pilot

Cool Features

Documentaries, speeches, interviews, newsreels, and other types of videos are added features. I enjoyed watching Langston Hughes reading his poem “The Weary Blues” accompanied by a jazz band.

Langston Hughes: Performance "The Weary Blues" with Jazz Accompaniment
Langston Hughes: Performance “The Weary Blues” with Jazz Accompaniment

Database Tips

You can search the entire database for any terms you want to find, but choose the Basic Search page for an overview of the types of collections available and choices for browsing.

Similar Resources

Other online primary source databases for African American studies include African American Communities (focusing on Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and North Carolina) and HistoryMakers Digital Archive (video oral histories of African Americans). You’ll find more on our Research Databases page.


Contact Heather Martin, Librarian for African and African American Studies.