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Earth and Environmental Sciences: Databases


Royal Geographical Society Archive (with IBG)

Following extensive consultation with academics, the Library is delighted to announce the purchase of the Royal Geographical Society Archive (with the Institute of British Geographers - IBG).

From its formation in 1830 the Royal Geographical Society has served as the leading organisation and support network for the discipline in both the UK and wider field of study.

This new digital collection compiled from the society’s comprehensive archives gives researchers online access to a wealth of material extending from 1482-2010, much of which is available online for the first time. Handwritten documents are made decipherable by the typeset transcripts feature and a special function makes it easy to keep an eye on your bibliography with the onscreen citations tab.

The archive not only bolsters studies in the conventional fields of geography and geology but also aligns seamlessly with the interdisciplinary investigations carried out by a wide range of research teams within the University.

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) digital archive, divided into two parts covering the periods 1482-1899 and 1900-2010, boasts a collection of over 150,000 maps, charts, and atlases. This extensive archive is enriched with valuable additions such as manuscripts, field notes, expedition reports, scrapbooks, correspondence, diaries, illustrations, and sketches.

With a particular focus on resources related to Agricultural Geography, Anthropology, Cartography, Borders, Nations & Power, Colonial and Post-Colonial Studies, among many others, the Royal Geographical Society archive has played an influential role throughout its history.

Furthermore, it augments the Library’s digital resource collections and complements the rich reserves of the “Maps, Travel and Discovery” holdings at The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, offering researchers potentially new ways of addressing the respective collections. As the archive of a leading professional body, the RGS holdings also throw an interesting sidelight on the activities of contemporary scientific organisations; those housed on the same platform (British Association for the Advancement of Science) and those at Rylands, which will be of particular interest to historians of science.  

What is a database?

Databases provide access to high-quality peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, dissertations and other sources.

These databases have been especially chosen for this subject area.

When carrying out your research for a piece of work, you will need to search more than one database to find all of the journal articles relevant to your topic, as each database covers different journals.


For earth scientists, the key bibliographic databases are:

In addition, for specific research areas:

For environmental geoscientists, the key bibliographic databases are:

For atmospheric scientists, coverage of the core journals is provided by:

For more extensive coverage of the atmospheric sciences literature, also search the following databases.

Key databases

Geological maps

Print Format

The Main Library hosts the Maps and Atlases Collection, which provides:

  • complete coverage of geological maps for the United Kingdom at scales of 1:50,000, 1:63,360 and 1:250,000.
  • an international collection of maps of various types, including geological maps.
  • See Maps and Atlases for further details.

The Learning Resources Centre in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, which is located in the Williamson Building, holds an extensive collection of geological maps for the United Kingdom at scales of 1:50,000, 1:63,360, 1:250,000, 1:25,000 (special areas), 1:10,000 (Manchester and coal mining areas) and six-inch county (for Lancashire).

Electronic Format

Digimap is an EDINA service that provides collections of maps and map data of Great Britain to UK tertiary education. Users are able to view maps through a web browser, save maps for printing, and download map data for use in geographical information systems. There are three specific Digimap collections:

  • British Geological Survey (BGS) maps and data at scales of 1:625,000 (solid and drift geology), 1:250,000 (solid and drift geology), 1:50,000 (solid and drift geology, mass movement and artificial ground), and provides the BGS Lexicon of named Rock Units.
  • Digimap - Ordnance Survey Collection delivers current OS maps and data at scales of 1:1,250, 1:2,500, 1:10,000, 1:50,000, and 1:250,000.
  • Historic Digimap delivers historic OS maps and data, including County Series maps published between 1843 and 1939, and National Grid maps published from 1945 and before the introduction of the Ordnance Survey's digital Land-Line product.

Please read the appropriate Licence Agreement before using the service.

My Learning Essentials

My Learning Essentials logo image

Getting started with subject databases

This resource explores some of the key features of subject databases, demonstrating that while they can initially appear daunting and complicated, they can be as easy to use as any online shopping site

View all workshops and online resources in this area on the
My Learning Essentials webpages.

Other relevant databases

The principal bibliographic services for earth, atmospheric and environmental sciences have been described in the preceding section. This section describes some of the more important bibliograpic services that offer complementary coverage of the literature for specific research topics.

For convenience, a partial summary of research topics is provided in the bulleted list below. The alphabetical list that follows provides further details of these and other services.

Full text databases and data collections

Newspaper databases

The library provides comprehensive access to a vast archive of British and overseas newspapers, including electronic access to many current publications. Newspapers are an excellent primary source research tool, not only providing reports about events and issues but also editorials and letters that can be extremely useful for deeper understanding. Access the Newspaper guide for further information.

The latest acquisition to our newspaper databases. Users can study the progression of issues over time by browsing issues extending from the newspaper’s first publication in May 1827 to effectively the present day (within 1 week), including articles, photos, advertisements, classified ads, obituaries, cartoons, and more. Searching facilitated by user-friendly support and indexing tools, with hit-term highlighting, searchable PDFs, and image downloads in PDF format.

What is grey literature?

Grey literature refers to research that is either unpublished or has been published in non-commercial form. The term includes the following types of information:

  • government reports, policy statements and issued papers.
  • conference proceedings.
  • pre-prints and post-prints of articles.
  • theses and dissertations.
  • research reports.
  • geological and geophysical surveys.
  • maps.
  • newsletters and bulletins.
  • fact sheets.

British Library

The British Library reports, Conferences and Theses can be searched for through the British Library Integrated Catalogue.

Use these p tags if you need multiple paragraphs

Conference Proceedings Citation Index

The Conference Proceedings Citation Index Literature via Web of Science is taken from the most significant conferences, symposia, seminars, colloquia, workshops, and conventions worldwide. Available in two editions: Sciences & Technology and Social Science Literature from the most significant conferences, symposia, seminars, colloquia, workshops, and conventions worldwide. Available in two editions: Sciences & Technology and Social Science.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a quick way to search for scholarly literature across disciplines and sources. You can find articles, theses, books, abstracts and grey literature from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other sources.

GreyNet: Grey Literature

Grey Net provides information about grey literature. GreySource Index provides a list of web-based grey literature resources.


MIAR is a matrix of data from more than 100 international indexing and abstracting databases (citation, multidisciplinary or specialised databases) and journal repertoires, which is developed with the purpose of providing useful information for the identification of scientific journals and the analysis of their diffusion. The system works through the elaboration of a correspondence matrix between the journals, identified by their ISSN, and the databases and directories that index or include them.

MIAR has more than 48,000 journal records, but a search in MIAR using a valid ISSN number will return information on the diffusion of any journal in the world at the sources analysed by MIAR, whether or not it has its own record in MIAR.

MIAR 2023 live. Information Matrix for the Analysis of Journals.


OpenGrey is a multidisciplinary European resource which provides open access to 700,000 bibliographical references of grey literature produced in Europe. It covers science, technology, biomedical science, economics, social science and humanities.
Examples of grey literature include technical or research reports, doctoral dissertations, conference papers and official publications.

Science Gov searches over 55 databases and over 2100 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results. is governed by the interagency Alliance.

Social Science Research Network

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences.


Scopus is a user-friendly database covering some 12,000 journals from all aspects of science, technology and medicine, with some quite sophisticated features.

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