Primo – how to find academic databases for your subject

In this post in our short series looking at Primo, our resource discovery tool here at the UoA, we are focusing on how you can select the academic databases which are most appropriate for the subjects you may currently be revising before the exams begin in December.

Academic databases contain high-quality scholarly level resources not freely available on the internet and, to ensure you are reading all the best materials available to you, you will need to make use of these collections, but as there are approximately 200 different academic databases to choose from it can be tough to know which ones to use. Well, read on to find out how you can easily narrow that number down to just those databases most suitable for you.

It is possible to carry out very basic searches across some of these 200 databases directly from in Primo, but definitely not all of them and we do not recommend doing so. Instead, we strongly encourage you to link out to particular databases and perform searches directly on their sites as the searches you can do there will be much more powerful.

1 – To begin go to Primo at 



2 – Once at Primo we would always recommend logging in so that you can link out to electronic materials, including academic databases, and use all of the features available in Primo.



3 – You will need to enter your UoA username and password.



4 – Once logged in you will see your own name at the top of the screen. Now select Find Databases from the top of the screen.



5 – A new window will open. In this example we will look for those databases most appropriate for those studying or researching Education.

  • Click drop-down arrow next to Category and select Social Sciences
  • Click drop-down arrow next to Sub-category and select Education
  • Click Find Databases
  • A list of 49 possible databases is generated in this example.
  • To find out more about each databases click Show Info

Once you become familiar with which databases you should use you can easily navigate to them alphabetically or search for them by name in this Find Databases window.



6 – Having clicked Show Info you can see:

  • Details of subjects covered in the database
  • Search rules for the particular database
  • Other information about that database

Of the 49 databases in this particular list some will be heavily focused upon Education and others will focus less on the subject while still containing useful material. Using the Show Info option will really help you select the most appropriate databases. You will need to search multiple databases to find suitable resources.



7 – To access a particular database click the name of the database with the right mouse button and select Open link in a new tab. Using the right mouse button means the database will open correctly. You may be asked to log in again to access the e-book collection.


For more details on accessing electronic resources, particularly when off campus, see our library guide.

Further information on using Primo can be found in our online library guide.

To see our full range of library guides click here.

Also, don’t forget that library staff are here to help you locate any materials you may be having trouble locating.

Good luck with your exams

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