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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Balkan Studies (Multi-disciplinary Resources): Interdisciplinary Databases

A guide to the many multidisciplinary resources for Balkan Studies.

EBSCO databases

EBSCO is the name of a database vendor that provides a large number of services, which are available to you depends on your institution and its preferences.  At UIUC we have numerous sources that include:

Using the EBSCO search interface it is possible to select a few of these sources, Womens' Studies International and Index Islamicus for example and search for resources in various disciplines.  These searches can be a little tricky but usually yield not only interesting sources but also extensive information on searching techniques.   Related subject headings are usually displayed for further refinement of the search.

Web of Science

Inter-disciplinary databases

The list of inter-disciplinary databases is growing constantly.  Indeed, database vendors seem to be generally moving to the all-encompassing resource.   When using these services, scholars often tend to work with one particular database and this is often the best strategy.   However, if you are working with a multi-disciplinary topic it can be very helpful to search several databases at once.  Often this will produce items that are related to your topic in an unusual way.  This is often the case with the medical databases where one can find articles on Tolstoy and other writers not in terms of literary criticism but in terms of their social impact.

Another advantage of this type of search in these mega-database structures is that you will often be provided with numerous subject headings that may not have occurred to you. Web of Science, CSA and others will often return a list of subject terms to further "refine" your search.  These have the added benefit of helping you direct future searches using those terms you found especially important to your topic.

The one thing that can be a bit tricky with this type of search is that different databases allow for different types of searches.  So for example, if you choose two different databases in EBSCO, Index Islamicus and Academic Search Premier in this case,  you will find that there may be special limiters listed for each database.

Still such a search will give you a good idea what you can and expect to find on a multi-disciplinary topic and which databases will provide the richest results.

CSA indexes

Cambridge Scientific Abstracts is another of the large database vendors with a number of useful multi-disciplinary products. Included here are a few that are relevant for the social sciences and/or humanities.  The language coverage is better in some than others.  So, while you may find quite comprehensive coverage in the psychology databases for the region, Communications Abstracts still limits itself largely to English language publications.

Some of the most useful databases:

It is possible to search all or a selected few of these databases at one time. The results can be saved, exported to bibliographic software or transmitted as an RSS feed. 

First Search Databases

Most scholars are familiar with FirstSearch or at least with some of its resources.  Probably the most widelyknown is WorldCat. FirstSearch, like many other interfaces offers the scholar the possibility of searching many databases at once.  What is available to you will depend upon your institution and what they have selected as best for their population. 

Using the FirstSearch interface it is possible to send your results to a bibliographic program such as EndNote or RefWorks that will allow you to format your data and readily create a bibliography for later use.  It is also possible to save the search and run it at a later date, one form of the "Current Awareness" feature which is so popular with scholars. In addition to these, patrons can also find useful information by consulting the following: 

Here at UIUC we have the following resources that may be of interest to you via FirstSearch:

Subject Guide

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Slavic Reference Service
Slavic Reference Service
International and Area Studies Library
Room 317
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, Illinois 61801