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Biology: Searching the biological literature, BIOL130

Message from the librarian

Hi everyone and welcome to the University of Waterloo for the Fall 2023 term! My name is Brie and I'm a librarian here Davis Centre Library, which houses the collections for biology, engineering, math and physics, and public health. Here at the library we have so many amazing and powerful research databases that will connect you to the expert and scholarly literature that you need!

This library page has been designed to assist BIOL130 students with their assignment, Searching the Biological Literature. However all of the resources and tools covered here will be useful to you at every stage of your academic career! This page is provided by the University of Waterloo Library, and all the resources herein are connected to the library proxy. 

Have a few questions or need some help? 

Book some office hours with me and we can talk about any issues or questions that you may have! The meeting is free, you can book online, and the meeting can be virtual, or in-person and on campus! You are welcome to book office hours for yourself or for a group if you are working with a research team. I look forward to connecting with you! -- Brie 

Demo (video)

Are you interested in watching a demo? 

thumbnail image of web of science video demonstration

This video (15 min) demonstrates how to work through OMNI (the library catalogue), Web of Science, and Zotero. Learn how to search for results and authors, as well as export results into Zotero so that you can work with your references in Microsoft Word and generate in-text citations. Watch it on Microsoft Stream (WatIAM login required). 

Welcome to the library, and the OMNI library catalogue

OMNI academic search tool, logo

Omni is the University of Waterloo Library catalogue that gives you access to high-quality resources from Waterloo and 18 other participating Ontario University Libraries. Omni searches the University of Waterloo Library's print collection and many of the databases the Library subscribes to. In Omni you can find books, eBooks, journals, articles, maps, government documents and more.


Peer-reviewed journal articles undergo an evaluation conducted by experts in a particular field of study. These experts determine whether an article meets the criteria for inclusion in a journal.

How to register, download and start using reference manager, Zotero

zotero logo


typewriter iconZotero is a free, easy-to-use reference manager to help you collect, organize, annotate, cite, and share research. Remember to register for Zotero using your UWATERLOO email address; this will ensure that you can access the University's institutional license. Working in a group? Zotero is great for sharing with your team.

Google Scholar, access and searching

google scholar logo

Google scholar is a web search engine -- it is not the same as a research database that has been indexed for a specific purpose, such as Pubmed, or Scopus.

Google Scholar is a great option to use when you are doing a very large scan of online content so that you can 

  • perform a very large scan of academic content online. 
  • locate research on rare and emerging topics

However, because Google Scholar is an engine being faced with thousands upon thousands of results can be overwhelming! You can focus your search in a research database like Pubmed or Scopus. You can also utilize boolean or search strategies to improve your results.

Pubmed, access and searching

pubmed logo


scopus logo

Web of Science

Clarviate, web of science, logo