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Information Literacy Course International Relations: Full-text databases

Full-text journal databases

In most cases you will use a full-text journal database when you search SmartCat for a specific journal article and will be linked to the full text in a journal database.

It is possible though, to use full-text journal databases for subject searching; for searching publications about a topic. Especially when you search a very large database, or a database with very interesting journals for your topic, full-text databases can give useful results.

Full-text journal databases are not bibliographic databases. The content of full-text journal databases is not selected with the aim to bring together the most important journals in the field. The search facilities of full-text journal databases are more limited. They don't use 'controlled terminology'. But a very large database as JSTOR contains so many publications that it is often used for searching publications.

Full-text databases offer the option to search the full-text of the publications. That can be useful.


JSTOR is a database with the full-text of more than 1,900 academic journals.

JSTOR is a non profit organization that started as a digital journal archive. When the development of electronic publishing started, publishers used the technique for their current publications. JSTOR digitized the volumes that were originally published in print. Later JSTOR developed and now also contains current issues of journals and even e-books. It is a very large database.

The University of Groningen Library does not have a license on all book and pamphlet collections that JSTOR sells. When you want to search the part of the collection that is available in Groningen, keep the box Include only content I can access ticked.

You can limit your search to specific subject fields: International Relations, Peace & Conflict Studies, or Political Science

In JSTOR you can search in the full text, in the title and in the abstracts. Searching abstracts can be very useful when you are searching for a topic.

In JSTOR you can limit your search to specific types of publications.

As every database JSTOR has online tutorials. These are not mandatory in this course.

Link to JSTOR

The libguide International Relations helps to find relevant databases

For a list of full-text journal collections that contain journals in the field of IR, consult the libguide International Relations.


E-books is a collective term for electronic publications, readable on computers, smartphones, tablets or e-readers. Note: one does not need an e-reader to read our e-books!

Many, mostly older, e-books are freely available on-line. Generally they can be downloaded, copied and exchanged without restrictions. More recent e-books from commercial publishers are available under license.

Full-text e-book collections

In most cases you will search SmartCat for a specific book and will be linked to the full-text of the book in a database. It is possible though, to perform searches in e-books databases. Some have excellent search facilities.

Many e-book collections also use controlled terminology. Ebooks Central and EBSCOhost eBook Collection use the Library of Congress subject headings that are very common in the United States. SpringerLinkuses a different set of subject categories, but it is possible to search with controlled terminology. Besides that, in e-book collections you can search the full-text, just as in e-journal collections.

When you use e-books you will notice that the terms of use are not uniform. Sometimes you can download the complete e-book to your computer or tablet and you can print as many pages as you want. In other cases downloading and printing is restricted. That is the case when books have Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection.

Ebook Central

Besides excellent search facilities Ebook Central also offers features to make notes, highlight parts of the text, bookmark pages, etc.

When you need more information you can find it in a Ebook Central Libguide online help and in tutorials on Youtube. This extra information is not part of this course.

Link to Ebook Central

Lists of full-text ebooks databases

On the website of the University of Groningen Library you will find information about the e-book subscriptions of the library.

In the libguide International Relations you will see a list of e-book databases with content in the field of International Relations.