There is no uberdatabase

There is no one place that you can find everything. Where you look depends on the stage of your research and other factors. 


  • what is being searched
  • how it is being searched 

Don't pay for stuff!

Remember that it is free to check out books and get other materials from Cornell University Library. Never pay for an article or book or access to resources that you find online!

In most cases, the Cornell Library has online journals, newspapers, magazines, ebooks and print books, or can get them for you at no charge to you!

Ask a Librarian

Use all the tools!

The best research uses everything, all the tools, and the best tool for the task. But not all tools are equal. Google and Wikipedia have their uses, but when it comes to scholarly research, rely on restricted tools/resources which are superior, have more content, and are free to Cornellians.

Restricted/Subscription/Academic Tools (Free to Cornellians!)

  • Library databases
  • Books/HathiTrust
  • Online & print scholarly encyclopedias
  • Newspaper databases & archives
  • Journals (online & print)

Open to the World Tools

  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • Google Scholar/Google Books
  • websites

The information we find freely available on the web is just the "tip of the iceberg." Much more information is hidden behind paywalls (for purchase or subscription). The library purchases and subscribes to online content -- primary sources databases, journals, art databases, and ebooks -- making more of this content available to you.

Content freely available on the web is only the tip of the iceberg graphic

A few articles on the Google algorithm

Flow of Sources

Research flow graphic

Select a topic (this may become more focused as you do more research) and find background information from subject encyclopedias, or organization websites.

Start to narrow your focus by searching for books, book chapters, and articles from magazines, newspapers, and trade journals.

And then get more specific. Use subject-specific databases to find scholarly journal articles and conference proceedings.