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Durham University

University Library

Research skills

The following information is intended to help Classics and Ancient History students locate academic literature and sources for their research. It is by no means an exhaustive list. Please refer to the Library Catalogue if you looking for a particular book or journal title, or contact the Faculty Librarian Richard Pears for any specific advice.

Defining and Refining a Research Topic

Encyclopaedias provide short overviews of a topic, theory, idea, concept or a person's work.Dictionaries provide short definition of a scholarly term or word. They can be a good starting point for an overview of a topic and refining it further.

Some useful reference resources for Classics and Ancient History are:

Finding journal articles

Online databases search for journal articles. This enables you to search for information on subjects when you don't know which book or journal you need. Some useful databases for Classics and Ancient History are:

  • L'année philologique: A database published by the Société Internationale de Bibliographie Classique. It's focus is on scholarly works relating to every aspect of Greek and Roman civilization
  • Library of Latin texts (LLT): Database made up of 2 parts; LLT-A, which is the new name for the database previously known as the CLCLT, and LLT-B which contains material taken directly from existing editions. Both can be searched together using the Cross Database Searchtool (CDS).
  • Dyabola: Developed for the humanities and the arts, it contains electronic subject catalogs of publications on the history of art and the ancient world.
  • Patrologia Latina: A full-text electronic version of the Latin portion of the Patrologiae Cursus Completus, published by nineteenth-century ecclesiastical publisher Jacques-Paul Migne. 
  • JSTOR: database of scholarly journals in history, economics, political science, demography, mathematics and other fields of the humanities and social sciences.
  • Web of Science: Contains several databases and has wide ranging subject coverage, providing access to articles published in over 10,000 journals. The referencing software EndNote Web is available here.  
  • Google Scholar - Freely available scholarly search engine. You can configure Google Scholar to show The 'Durham ConneXions' button off-campus, and this is automatically shown on campus. You can use 'Durham ConneXions' to check if the Library has the article available.

Internet Resources

Evaluation of Resources

The Critical Thinking Exercise from Teesside University can help critical evaluation of information sources.

Theses, Research Repositories & Conference Proceedings

  • Details of how to find Durham and other institutional theses can be found here
  • Durham Research Online (DRO) is Durham University's institutional repository.
  • OpenDOAR provides an alphabetical list of repositories grouped by country.
  • Web of Science indexes the published literature of the most significant scientific conferences around the world.
  • ProceedingsFirst contains citations from worldwide meetings, conferences, expositions, workshops and symposia, and lists the papers presented.

Newspapers and Magazines


E-books allow you to search within the contents of the book, unlike the library catalogue which just searches for book titles.

  • Cambridge collections online: Cambridge Collections Online offers cross-searchable collections, including Cambridge Companions Complete Collection with its two sub-collections: Cambridge Companions to Literature and Classics, and: Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture.
  • ECCO : Eighteenth Century Collections Online: A comprehensive digital edition of The Eighteenth Century microfilm set, which has aimed to include every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas, between 1701 and 1800.
  • Myilibrary: collection of e-books from a range of publishers.
  • Google Books: contains some freely available e-books

Citations and Referencing

EndNote is a useful tool which can help you manage your references, import a bibliography into your assignment and allow you to insert citations.