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Ethnography: Databases

Ethnography-Related Databases

Many commercial databases (i.e., indexes to the contents of periodicals and other publication types) are available at Pius Library and via the SLU Libraries Web site. The coverage of some databases is general and interdisciplinary while others have a subject-specific scope. Virtually all databases include abstracts, or summaries, of the indexed publications; some contain the full-text or even the full-image of the source material itself.  Remember that subscription databases all link out to full-text sources subscribed to by the SLU Libraries, even if they don't actually include full-text themselves!

Search Tips:
  1. When possible, use the designated subject vocabulary of a database for the most effective and efficient searching. The subject terms used in many databases may be less specific than your interest, so you may have to broaden your search accordingly. Another approach, especially if subject search results are few, is to search by keyword. Be sure to search the various names by which a cultural group is known.
  2. NEVER limit your search results to full-text!  If you do that, you will restrict your results only to the full-text that is included in the database you are searching and you'll miss full-text articles available through other SLU Libraries subscriptions.  Just click on this icon   embedded among your search results.  If the full-text of the article is available, it should display on your screen.  If the full-text is unavailable, Article Linker will display and will, in turn, guide you to the source of full-text for a particular article. 
Note: Off-campus access to Web-based databases, indicated below by the notation “remote access,” is restricted to current SLU students, faculty, and staff. See Off-Campus Access to Subscription Electronic Resources ( on the SLU Libraries Web site's Off-Campus Access page for access instructions.

General and Multidisciplinary
Academic Search Complete.  Some 1887 to present.  EBSCOhost.  In-library and remote access.
Updated daily.  This multidisciplinary and multi-format database indexes and abstracts over 13,200 publications including more than 12,500 periodicals containing some full text for over 8,500 of the journal titles.  Over 7,300 of the journals are peer-reviewed.  Other types of publications indexed and abstracted include monographs, reports, and conference proceedings.  Covers subjects found in college and university curriculums such as biological and medical sciences, chemistry, education, engineering, humanities, physics, psychology, religion & theology, sociology, and women's studies. Uses "ethnology" as subject term for "ethnography."  Articles most likely will focus on contemporary aspects of cultural groups.
Tips for Basic Searching: (1) Search name of cultural group AND subject term "ethnology" OR (2) Search name of cultural group AND cultural element (e.g., marriage).  Articles most likely will focus on contemporary aspects of cultural groups.
Annual Reviews.  Earliest volumes to present.  Annual Reviews.  In-library + remote access.
Updated annually. These extensive literature reviews are published in a variety of subject areas in the Biomedical, Physical, and Social Sciences, including Anthropology. Previous reviews are updated from time to time, and new topical reviews are regularly introduced. Searching can be done across the entire database, in just one suite (e.g., Social Sciences), or in a single volume.  While these articles are not themselves research-based, they may cite ethnographic research studies.
JSTOR. Coverage varies by title. Johns Hopkins. In-library + remote access.
Updated annually.  This archival journal resource provides access to full-text of approximately 1200 unique (does NOT count previous titles for same periodical) journal titles (as of Jan 2010). These titles are contained in 9 collections: Arts & Sciences I through VIII and the Life Sciences Collection. Subjects covered include anthropology, history, language and literature, general science, ecology, biology, law, education, business, theology, and more.  Due to its archival nature, the last 1 to 7 years of each journal are not available in this resource.
Tips for Basic Searching: Use the Advanced Search option.  Type the name of the cultural group in Line 1 and a cultural element in Line 2; search full-text for both.  UNcheck the box "Include only content I can access" so you are able to see, and link to (if available), pertinent articles in other databases.  Narrow by "Article," English Language, and Anthropology publications (however, sometimes including the publications of other disciplines also may be useful).
Project Muse.  Coverage varies by title.  Johns Hopkins.  In-library + remote access.
Updated monthly.  Full-text access to over 300 scholarly journals published by Johns Hopkins University Press and over 20 other not-for-profit presses in the areas of humanities, social sciences, and mathematics.
Tips for Basic Searching: Use the Advanced Article Search option.  Type the name of the cultural group in the top line and a cultural element in the bottom line; search "All Fields (w/text)" for both.  Check theType of Content box for "Articles Only (No Reviews)."
Anthropology Plus.   Early 19th century -  .  EBSCOhost.  In-library and remote access. 
The Anthropology Plus database is a compilation of two significant resources:
  1. The Anthropological Index (AI), which is published by the Royal Anthropological Institute in cooperation with the Centre for Anthropology of the British Museum. AI is an index to current periodicals held in the Centre's own anthropology library.
  2. Anthropological Literature is an index to journal articles and edited works in the Tozzer Library, Harvard's anthropology library (formerly known as the Peabody Museum Library), which is the oldest US library devoted to collecting publications in the discipline and related fields.
Thus Anthropology Plus is the most comprehensive index of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the many and diverse fields of anthropology (e.g., social, cultural, physical, biological and linguistic anthropology; ethnology; archaeology; folklore; material culture; interdisciplinary studies; etc.).
Tips for Basic Searching: Keep it really simple!  If searching for information on a particular cultural group, just search its name.
Sociological Abstracts.   1952 -  .  ProQuest.  In-library and remote access.
Updated monthly.  This database abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related social and behavioral science disciplines. It provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews from over 1,800 serials, and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Journal records added since 1973 article abstracts.  Many records from key sociology journals published since 2002 also include the references cited in the bibliography of the source article. Each individual reference may also have links to an abstract and/or to other papers that cite that reference.
Tips for Basic Searching: For a quick keyword search, type the name of the cultural group in the top line and a cultural element in the bottom line; search "All fields - CABS" for both.