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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Improving Your Research Skills

This guide will help you improve your research skills through searching library databases, searching Google, and evaluating sources.

What is a Library Database?

Library databases collect resources from a variety of places, including academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and others. You can search a library database to find these resources.


  • Library databases are free through the library website for UIUC students
  • Databases are accessible 24/7, even when the library isn’t open
  • They are a great place to find scholarly, peer-reviewed sources
  • The library has both multi-subject and subject-specific databases

Accessing Library Databases

You can access library databases by going to the Databases By Subject and A-Z page on the library website.

The library homepage with Databases by Subject and A-Z


Academic Search Ultimate is a multi-subject database that many students use to start their research.

List of databases with arrow pointing to Academic Search ultimate


To find subject-specific databases, click the “By Subject” dropdown on the left hand side of the screen and choose a subject.

A-Z Databases showing list of subjects