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History: Databases

What is a database?

Databases are collections of references to journal articles, chapters in books, book reviews, conference proceesdings, reports and in some cases, theses and dissertations.

In many cases databases include the full text of journal articles. Access to these databases is paid for by the university.

In some cases only the abstract is available. In this case, you will need to search World Cat Local (icatalogue tab)  to see if the journal is available in print.
If the library does not subscribe to the journal you will need to get the article from another institution by using the Inter Library Loan facility.
Databases A-Z provides links to all of UKZN's subscription databases.

Open access journal databases

Some examples:

Directory of Open Access Journals


A selection of History databases

The following are a selection of helpful electronic databases for History:
African Journals Online (AJOL) provides bibliographic information on journal articles published in Africa.

EBSCOhost provides access to many databases including the following listed below. Choose the database from EbscoHost Web page. You can search within a single database or select more than one database to search in one time:

       *Academic Search Complete (multidisciplinary)
JSTOR is a database of back issues of core journals. All issues of each journal are included in full-text except for the most recent 2 to 5 years.
Project Muse is a database which provides humanities and social sciences content
Sabinet is an interdisciplinary database focusing mostly on South Africa but does include some African information. Search the following indexes:
        *African Journal Archive
        *Index to SA Periodicals (ISAP - no full-text)        
        *SABINET Legal 
        *Sabinet journals  (South Africa & Africa online full text journals)
        *SA Media

South African Freedom Struggles. DISA focuses on South African material of high socio-political interest which would otherwise be difficult to locate and use.



Searching multiple databases

Google Scholar is a comprehensive index to much of the content in available databases and more. Click on the hyperlinks below  to search.

Google Scholar links up with the database subscriptions of UKZN to enable you to gain full-text access if it is available.

Online databases

Online databases are most useful for finding articles when you do not know in which journals articles are published.
Some databases are multidisciplinary and cover a wide range of subjects e.g. Academic Search Complete via EbscoHost; while others are subject specific, covering a particular subject or discipline e.g. LexisNexis which covers law sources.


Other databases are limited to particular geographic areas, Sabinet covers Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa.


How do I access databases from off Campus?

Use the Off-campus Access link if you are not on campus.

  • On the off campus page, click on a database of your choice, or the catalogue. You will need a valid LAN username and password to access databases from off-campus.  This refers to the username and password you use to access the computers on campus.

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