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Ethnography: Finding ethnographies - articles

The core anthropology databases

Two online databases cover the journal literature - and books and other works - for anthropology and its subfields.

Anthropology PLUS
A big messy database built from the library catalogs and journal holdings of the Tozzer Library (Harvard University) and the Museum of Mankind Library (formerly of the Royal Anthropological Institute). Coverage extends back to the early 19th century. The dual nature of the database leads to uneven subject indexing and many duplicate entries.
HINT! Be persistent! Try a search, examine your results for synonyms and alternative spellings. Then re-do your search.
WARNING! PennText often has problems with Anthro PLUS's data feed. When in doubt, use Franklin:Catalog's "Title Browse" search to find the online or print journal title.

IBSS - International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
Produced by the London School of Economics Library for Unesco, IBSS covers anthropology, sociology, economics, and political science - it's a great one-stop social sciences database. Although IBSS has a very strong and consistently-applied subject heading thesaurus, it is weak in providing subject indexing for cultural groups: cultural groups tend to be indexed through their country name.

Abstracts in Anthropology (8/year, 1970-present)
Abstracts journal, with subfield coverage alternating between issues: linguistics/cultural anthropology and archaeology/physical anthropology. Its journal format makes it more useful as a current-awareness tool than a cumulative searchable database.

AnthroSource The American Anthropological Association's journal database, providing fulltext for the current issues, recent issues, and backfiles of approximately two dozen leading anthropology journals, including American Anthropologist and American Ethnologist. AnthroSource is most useful for finding very recent articles that haven't yet been indexed by Anthro PLUS or IBSS. It's also good for searching "terms of art" or cultural-group names. While much of the AAA's journal content appears in the JSTOR backfiles, AnthroSource provides organizational focus and the new/recent issues excluded by JSTOR's moving wall.

Other social sciences databases

Databases outside the field of anthropology offer significant ethnographic content.

If it's about children, ERIC - the US Department of Education's comprehensive index for education research and professional literature - is always a good place to look for both published literature and gray literature. ERIC will cover observation and other techniques in educational contexts, as well as anthropological linguistics and educational linguistics.

Sociological Abstracts + Social Services Abstracts
SocAbs is the best database for the scholarly and professional literature in sociology and its related fields. SSA uses SocAbs subject terms to cover social policy, social welfare, community development, and social work.

LLBA - Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts
One of several very good linguistics databases, LLBA is strong on anthropological linguistics and sociolinguistics.

Urban Studies Abstracts
A small specialized database on cities and urban regions worldwide, including urban affairs, community development, city planning, and other related topics.

Bibliography of Indigenous Peoples in North America
A specialized bibliographic database covering scholarly literature on all aspects of Native American life, culture, and history.

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