Welcome to the library subject guide for the field of physics! UC Davis Library provides a wealth of  subscription and licensed resources that can help students, faculty, and researchers identify articles, proceedings, reports, and books in a print or electronic format. The following guide will point you to a selection of specialized physics resources to help get you started with your research.

Jennifer "JJ" Harbster

Research Support Services



There are numerous databases to help support your research in physics. Depending upon your topic and purpose you might want to focus on multidisciplinary databases (e.g. Web of Science) or a more specialized database (e.g. Inspec). If you do not know where to start, look at a multidisciplinary database such as Web of Science or Ask a librarian for recommendations.

Use Web of Science to find scholarly papers in all disciplines, including physics and astrophysics. This database can also be used to identify articles that cite an author or article that you specify.

Search citations for research literature in the fields of electronics, computer science, physics, and electrical, control, production, and mechanical engineering.

Preprints for physics, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computer science and quantitative biology.

Searches American Institute of Physics (AIP) publications along with some other publishers such as American Physical Society.

IOPscience is an online service providing journal content published by IOP Publishing.

SciFinder is the most comprehensive bibliographic database for scholarly research in the field of chemistry. It covers all aspects of chemistry, including chemical aspects of: biology and life sciences, engineering and materials science, food science, geology, medicine, physics, and polymer science. SciFinder also allows searching of chemical substances, chemical reactions, and includes some property data and spectra. It is the online version of Chemical Abstracts.

Astrophysics Data System: a core database for finding astronomical articles and data.

 Fulltext documents in particle physics and related areas. Includes preprints, articles, books, journals, photographs and more.

A database of particle physics literature maintained and run by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Many citations are to preprints or e-prints hosted at SLAC.

Indexes journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, and book series in the sciences and more.

SCOAP3 has converted key journals in the field of High-Energy Physics to Open Access at no cost for authors.

If you are looking for popular, but also scholarly science articles use the following:

Academic Search Complete (ASC) provides coverage of multidisciplinary, full-text academic journals to support scholarly research in all areas of the arts, humanities and the social, life and physical sciences.

JSTOR provides Full-Text access to back files of hundreds important scholarly journals in nearly 50 disciplines spanning the arts, humanities, social sciences and the sciences.

Digital Libraries of Professional Societies:

A searchable index to Optical Society of America (OSA) articles and conference proceedings with links to full text.

Online conference proceedings from the American Institute of Physics (AIP). The proceedings library also offers the ability to search AIP-published journals.

The SPIE Digital Library is a comprehensive, online tool for locating papers on optics, photonics, optoelectronics, and imaging. Subject coverage is broad across optical technology, including astronomy, aerospace, remote sensing, biomedical optics, communications & fiber optics, electronic & medical imaging, lasers, microelectronics & micromachining, nanotechnology, optical physics, chemistry & biology, and signal & image processing.

IOPscience is an online service for journal content published by IOP Publishing.

Homepages for Physics Professional Societies:


Library Catalog  (formerly Harvest Catalog)

The Library Catalog tells you what the UC Davis library owns, what the call number is, where it is located, and whether or not it is checked out.  If there is an electronic version that we subscribe to, the link will be in the catalog.
Use the catalog to locate books, journals, government documents, dissertations, maps, music scores & recordings, movies, and any other materials the library owns.

MELVYL UC  Library Catalog                  Melvyl Help

The MELVYL catalog tells you what all UC campus libraries own, and also searches other institutions.  As with the UCD Library Catalog, MELVYL gives records for books, journals, government documents, dissertations, maps, music scores & recordings, movies, and other materials.
MELVYL does index some articles but is not a good option for searching for articles in the sciences.

The REQUEST button:   allows you to request items from other institutions (UC and non-UC).

GOOGLE Books                                Google Books Help

Library catalogs only search catalog entries (author, title, subject indexing, etc) not the full text of the book
Google Books searches full-text of books (only titles that Google has scanned), but you cannot access most of them (because they are still under copyright)

But you can use Google Books to identify titles you might be interested in.
–Use Google Books to search for phrases or topics you are intereted in (works well for technical terms).
–Then search for the title of the book(s) in the UCD Library Catalog or Melvyl

WorldCat Catalog

OCLC catalog: millions of records for books, journal titles and materials in other formats from approximately 12,000 libraries worldwide.  Coverage: 1000 A.D. to the present.

Over 500,000 aerospace-related citations, over 200,000 full-text online documents, and over 500,000 images and videos are available in the three collections that are integrated in NTRS. Types of documents in NTRS include: conference papers, journal articles, meeting papers, patents, and research reports.
Coverage: Various Dates

NTRL (National Technical Reports Library) is from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). NTRL indexes government-sponsored research, development and technical reports and provides full-text access to reports that have been digitized.

SciTech Connect consolidates the contents of OSTI’s Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database. Provides free public access to over 230,000 full-text documents and bibliographic citations of Department of Energy (DOE) research report literature.  Documents are primarily from 1991-present and were produced by DOE, the DOE contractor community, and/or DOE grantees.

A collaborative project to digitize, archive, and provide persistent and unrestricted access to federal technical reports issued prior to 1975.

Individual UCD  dissertations and masters theses are cataloged in the Library of Catalog — search for “Dissertations Academic University of California Davis physics”

This page describes how to locate and access UCD titles.

The Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) database is the authoritative source for finding doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. It also provides access to the full-text of all dissertations from University of California campuses since the late 1990s- See
Current Research @ University of California, Davis
Searches all University of California, Davis dissertations published in the Dissertation Abstracts database.

Dissertations & theses from 31 USA colleges & universities, including Ohio State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and North Carolina State University. This is a small subset of published dissertations & theses, but does include some that are not indexed elsewhere. Use in conjunction with other databases such as Dissertations & Theses and PQDT Open.

OATD.org aims to be the best possible resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world.

PQDT Open provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge.

You can Ask a librarian for help if you experience any problems accessing a dissertation or thesis in print or online.

Tools for Managing Citations

Learn how to use and cite information in your papers and projects.

The campus has a licensed subscription to Endnote, which is a bibliographic manager program that is available as software and as a web-based version. Many people use Endnote because of its compatibility with Microsoft Word. The libraries offer help and classes on Endnote.

There are also a wide range of other citation management programs, including web-based platforms. Two popular and useful ones are:

Will you be starting a project from scratch that will require your attention for months, even years OR are you continuing a project started by somebody else?

The Data Management Program is here to help make both of these situations less painful. We can help you with

  • Organization: keep track of your files so that you know what is in them
  • Consistent data entry: design data collection forms in such a way that everybody doing the same experiment records the results the same way every time
  • Database structure: move from unwieldy spreadsheets to databases
  • GIS and maps: consult with our GIS expert on all stages of a project that includes geospatial data, from planning to creating interactive maps.
  • Finding data: not all data sharing portals are obvious, and we can help with that.
  • Cleaning data: stop doing repetitive copy/paste; check out some of our workshops to find a better way
  • Getting credit for data: get your dataset noticed and cited by placing it in the right data repository
  • Note: many funding agencies require that you provide open access to your data!

For more information, visit our website or contact us at dataserv@ucdavis.edu