Library Quick Start

What is a library database?


A searchable electronic index of journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, technical and government reports, ebooks, and multimedia. We provide access to 300+ databases in different subject areas to support your research.

They are designed to search across thousands of articles and reports at once, scanning the full text of documents for your search terms. 

Use databases when:

  • You want to conduct more powerful, targeted searching
  • You're searching for highly specific information that might not appear in the title or other citation information
  • You want to search the full text
  • You want the most recent information. (Sometimes there is a lag period between when an item is published and when it appears in the Library Search.
  • The database is not included in the Library Search (example: Jane's)

Start with these databases

They will likely contain relevant content for almost every research topic here at NPS. 


NPS  NPS Users Only

  lock   Password Required

Quick Search Tips

  • First, be as specific as possible
    Broaden your keywords if you don't get enough relevant results.
  • For exact phrases
    Use "quotation marks"
  • For acronyms or synonyms
    Use OR
  • For stemming or word variations
    Use an asterisk (*)  (Symbol may vary by database.)
    nav*  Finds navy, naval, navigation
    defen*e  Finds defense and defence
  • Limit your search with Advanced Search filters
    Examples:  Title only or Citation and Abstract, Date, Source, Subject Area, Location

Learn more about phrase, truncating, and wildcard searching. Includes cheat sheet for a variety of library research databases.

Find relevant databases for my topic

  • Click the Databases List link on the library homepage.
    databases list
  • Choose a subject in the dropdown.
  • You can also put a topical search term in the Find Databases search box. It will search the database title, descriptions, and keywords. You can search for broad topical terms, but not very specific ones.
    databases search box
  • You can look for an associated research guide in the right column.
    On the guide, librarians have identified top choice article databases for that subject area.

Use filters

Like the Library Search, our databases have powerful filters to refine your search. The filters themselves will vary, but the concept is pretty much the same. You'll generally find these types of filters. Example:

  • Source typedatabase filters
  • Date
  • Subject
  • Document Type






Look for "Related Items" or other search terms

Often, databases will provide a list of linked related items or subject terms. Also look for a list of references. You my find highly relevant sources there.

Get the full text

Sometimes you'll see a document you want, but the full text isn't there. If you click the orange Get it@NPS button, it will check to see if we have the full text in another database, or if you can request the item.

Get it button

Request article or book = Interlibrary Loan

IMPORTANT! This service is temporarily unavailable until further notice. See our Library Status, ILL Unavailable page.

Find something you need and we don't have it? 

Request article or book
(Interlibrary Loan)

  • ​One-time registration required. (You'll be prompted to register.)
  • Article PDFs can arrive as quickly as 2-3 days.
  • Print books can take 1-2 weeks.
  • DL students: we'll also send library-owned materials to you.

(3:59 min.)

Search other libraries (WorldCat)