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Researching and Writing a Paper: The Big List of Databases and Resource Sources

This guide is about how to start, research, write, and format, a paper.
  • Below are links to a variety of databases, and a little bit about each database.  (They are arranged mostly-alphabetically, and so that you see as many options at one time as possible.)

  • This lock icon indicates that you will need to log-in to the RTC database with your student or employee email address, and your password if you (or your IP address) are off-campus. Your password is your ctcLink number (unless you have changed it).

  • Renton Technical College Librarians and Library Staff will be happy to help you with your searches, by email, telephone, by chat, or in person (Monday - Thursday, 8am-7pm), and virtually on Fridays from 8am - 5pm.

  • The 'How to Search a Database' page has lot of advice about Boolean Searches, Search Terms, and more.

  • Videos about searching databases (Please let us know what more you would like to see!)


  • OneSearch
    With "OneSearch" you can search our books, eBooks, videos, many journals and more. Type in your search term(s), click enter, look at the list that appears, and then use the options on the left side of the results page to improve your results. Much of what RTC Library owns or subscribes to is included in OneSearch - journal articles, books, eBooks, videos, and more. (Some of the journal articles and eBooks are only available through a particular database, so database searching is a good idea even if OneSearch has been very productive for you.)
    If you prefer your search results to focus on the eBooks, books, and videos available in the library Search the Library Catalog is what you want to do. As above, type in your search term(s), click enter, look at the list that appears, and then use the options on the left side of the results page to improve your results.
    Only some of the article databases that we subscribe to (and some of the free ones) are accessible through OneSearch. To further broaden your search please consult our databases (available semi-alphabetically throughout this page).
    If you've been searching for more than (10 minutes?) and have not started finding what you are looking for, please contact us!.

  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text RTC log-in needed for this database.
    Nursing and Allied Health journals and magazines. Over 770 titles are full-text.

  • Credo RTC Database Log-in needed
    Credo offers 600+ encyclopedias and dictionaries on health, food, history, business, music, literature, biography and more.

  • Directory of Open Access Journals
    19,233 scholarly and scientific journals, from 131 countries, free and full text.  With new articles added every day.

  • EBSCO Community College eBook Collection RTC Database Log-in needed
    Over 47,000 non-fiction books on science, the humanities and social sciences. (Use the 'Choose Databases' link at the top to search both eBook collections.)

  • eLibrary, from ProQuest 
    Search books, journals, newspaper, and magazine articles and television transcripts. (This ProQuest tool automatically searches twelve different databases, if you are getting too many irrelevant results use the 'Change Databases' option at the top to search fewer databases.)

  • Gale Academic OneFile Please use your RTC log-in to access this database
    Scholarly journals, you can search by:
    * Academic Field: Biology, Chemistry, Criminal Justice, Economics, Environmental Science, History, Marketing, Political Science, and Psychology
    * Topic Finder (a way to visualize connections between search terms and topics and view relevant articles for those topics),
    * Subject Guide Search (Search the subject index to find articles tagged with specific subject terms),
    * Publication Search (Search through the publications available in Gale Academic OneFile).

  • Gale General OneFile This is another one of the databases that RTC pays for, please use your RTC log-in
    Gale General OneFile contains over 243,982,118 articles on news, health, personal finance, technology, and many other topics.
    * Browse by Subject: Careers, Computers and Technology, Education, Health, History, News and Current Events, Personal Finance and Taxes, and Self-Help/Self-Improvement
    * Topic Finder: Visualize connections between search terms and topics and view relevant articles for those topics.
    * Subject Guide Search: Search the subject index to find articles tagged with specific subject terms.
    * Publication Search: Search through the publications available in Gale General OneFile.

  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar searches for scholarly literature of all kinds (articles, theses, books, abstracts, court opinions, etc.). Google Scholar provides the most 'relevant' results first, a 'judgement' based on the full text, author, source, and the number of times it has been cited in other sources. (Note: your idea of relevant and the software's assumptions about relevant are not the same, look further than the first page of search results - and also try varying your search terms.)
    To find the full document, look for a PDF or HTML link to the right of the article title. If you don't see a link, or if it doesn't take you to the full text, you can search for the article in the library databases or contact the Library Service Desk for help in finding the article. Some documents will be unavailable online, but they may be available in the library or through Interlibrary Loan (Request: Books, Articles).
    You can also look for the 'cited by' link in the last line of each search result, this will lead you to articles that cited the interesting article you are looking at (and articles that cite interesting articles might be interesting to you).
    More about using Google Scholar (and other databases) on the How to Search a Database page.

  • Hathi Trust Digital Library
    HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaboration of academic and research libraries with 17+ million digitized items. HathiTrust offers reading access to the fullest extent allowed by U.S. copyright law. You can search by Full-Text or Catalog Entry, and you can refine your search with subject terms, author, language, place or publication, date of publication, original format, and more. Advanced Searching and Search Tips are available. Much of the collection is fully available, and our other databases or Interlibrary Loan can probably help if you need something that is not fully available.

    A searchable database of thousands of journals, 1,200 of the titles are available in full text. Sign up for Register & Read to get access to free articles, eBooks, images, and the Text Analyzer (under 'Tools').
    The Text Analyzer looks for topics, places, people, and organizations, and then finds articles in the databases that have something in common with the text you pasted in the Text Analyzer. An excellent way to better understand the text you pasted in, and to find a variety of articles that you might not have thought to look for.  (JSTOR also provides citations and links to most of the citation tools - including NoodleTools.)
    Note: JSTOR contains both Open Access articles that are available free and subscription-only articles. If you find a useful article that is not available in JSTOR it may be available in another database, online, or is almost certainly available by Interlibrary Loan (Articles, Books).

  • Kanopy Streaming  This is another of the databases that your tuition pays for, please use your RTC log-in
    Videos on success at work, safety, art, gender, American values, health care, and much more.

  • MedlinePlus
    An index to reliable articles and webpages on health and medical problems.  The site is loosely divided into sections, which include 'Drugs, Herbs, & Supplements', 'Genetics', 'Healthy Recipes', 'Health Topics A-Z', 'Medical Tests', 'Vaccines', a Medical Encyclopedia (over 4,000 entries), and more (each article contains basic information about the topic, and information about research, resources, and more). Also available are links to Easy to Read Health Information, Health Information in 55 Languages, and a link to, where you can learn about on-going Clinical Trials. MedlinePlus is easy for anyone to use, and there are webinars and other training materials available if you would like to get even more value from the site. MedlinePlus is published by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

  • National Academy Press
    The publisher of the books authored by the US National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council makes more than 4,000 of those books available free as PDF files.

  • NoodleTools This is another of the databases that your tuition pays for, please use your RTC log-in
    Help in formatting your APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian bibliographies.  You will first need to click on the NoodleTools link in this webpage, that will authenticate you as an RTC student.  Then you will need to create a NoodleTools log-in, that will enable you to log-in to NoodleTools from off-campus (i.e. without having to click a link in an RTC webpage or use your RTC log-in).  NoodleTools is excellent for creating annotated bibliographies, it can be a repository for your notes, and much more. [More information about citations and citation tools is available from the link in this sentence.]

  • Nursing Reference Center This is another of the databases that your tuition pays for, please use your RTC log-in
    This database offers current information on diseases, patient education resources, drug information, continuing education, lab & diagnosis details, best practice guidelines, 44,805 eBooks on Nursing (look under 'More'), and more.

  • Open Access Library
    A search engine offering more than 5,700,000 peer reviewed open access scholarly journal articles, covering 322 academic subject areas. All full text articles from your search results are free to download. It is very likely that this database has articles that will interest you.

  • PrepSTEP RTC log-in needed for this database.
    This collection assists with College Success, math and English skills, basic computer skills, and offers practice tests in many subjects. Algunos recursos están en Español.

  • Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg is a library of over 70,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epubs and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for you to enjoy.

  • Public Library of Science
    The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is an excellent open access, full text, and peer-reviewed, site for biological and medical research articles. PLOS journals currently include PLOS Biology, PLOS Climate, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Digital Health, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Global Public Health, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLOS One (science, medicine, and the related social sciences and humanities), PLOS Pathogens, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water.

  • SIRS Discoverer RTC log-in needed for this database.
    Magazine articles and pictures on everything from current events to biology to art history. (Easy reading level.) Scroll down a little bit for their 'Help Choosing A Topic', with terminology, essential questions, viewpoints, critical thinking questions, and more.

  • U.S. Newsstream RTC log-in needed for this ProQuest-provided database.
    U.S. Newsstream enables you to search the most recent premium U.S. news content, as well as archives which stretch back into the 1980s, featuring top newspapers, newswires, blogs, and news sites in active full-text format.


  • Advanced Technologies & Aerospace You need to use your RTC Log-in to access this database.
    Scholarly articles on computers, aerospace, and advanced technology.
  • Congressional Research Service Reports
    High quality, non-partisan research on thousands of issues, places and things of interest – from battleships to Zika.  If the topic is, or has been, 'in the news' there is probably a Congressional Research Service Report about it.

  • Chronicle of Higher Education
    National and international news about higher education.

  • CultureGrams You need to use your RTC Log-in to access this database.
    Information on the daily life of over 180 world cultures. Also includes population statistics, maps, and pictures.

    The largest independent medicine information website available on the Internet. Presenting objective, comprehensive, peer reviewed, up-to-date information in a clear and concise format for both consumers and healthcare professionals.

  • EBSCOhost eBook Open Access You need to use your RTC log-in for this database
    Over 2700 eBooks from university presses and scholarly publishers on all topics from history to the sciences and more.
    Use the 'Choose Databases' link at the top to also search - or Not Search - the EBSCO eBook Collection, EBSCO Community College eBook Collection, and/or CINAHL Plus with Full Text, in addition to the EBSCO eBook Open Access (OA) Collection.

  • Free Medical Journals
    This free database contains 5088 medical journals from around the world. You can search by Topic/Specialty Area, FMJ Impact, Free Access (now, in 1-6 months, after 7-12 months, and later), and by Title.

  • Gale eBooks Please use your RTC log-in for this database
    Search the 138 Gale encyclopedias for information about these subjects: Arts, Biography, Business, Education, Environment, General Reference, History, Law, Literature, Medicine, Multicultural Studies, the Nation and the World, Religion, Science, and Social Science.

  • Gale OneFile Su correo electrónico y contraseña de Renton Technical College accederán a esta base de datos
    Informe Academico – Revistas y revistas académicas de y sobre América Latina mayoritariamente en español y portugués. (Spanish and Portuguese journal, magazine and newspaper articles.)

  • GreenFILE
    Research environmental issues in this EBSCO index of more than 600 journals. Some, but not all, of the search results are 'full text' (articles that are not full text in this database may be available in another database or through Interlibrary Loan). Refine your search results by selecting 'Peer Reviewed'. You can also search by Publication, Subject Terms, Cited References, and Images. 'Advanced Search' is often very useful.

  • History Study Center You will need to use your RTC log-in to access this database
    Select 'Peer Reviewed' and learn about US and world history with this collection of books and original documents. Refine your search results with the options on the left side of the results page. (This ProQuest collection automatically searches twelve different databases, if you are getting too many irrelevant results use the 'Change Databases' option at the top to search fewer databases.)

  • The Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies and videos, television news,  images, software, music, and audio recordings, as well as over 624 billion archived web pages (this is the home of the Wayback Machine) and much more.  Everything is free (with opportunities to donate, and some fee-for-service options for professional researchers).

  • King County Library Databases Please use your RTC log-in to access this database
    Many many databases (see below) that you can access through the King County Library System, one of the advantages of being an RTC student or employee!
    Students: your login is your ctcLink number, preceded by RTC. Your pin is the last four digits of your ctcLink number. Example: login: RTC200000999, pin: 0999. RTC employees: your login is the same, except preceded by ERTC instead of RTC.
    The King County Library System databases include:
    ABI Inform Trade & Industry America’s News Ancestry Library Edition
    The Athletic Brainfuse Free Online Tutoring Brainfuse tutoría gratuita en línea
    Britannica Library Consumer Health Database
    Consumer Reports Daily Life Through History Data Axle Reference Solutions (was ReferenceUSA)
    FamilySearch Foundation Directory Online Professional FreeWill
    Gale In Context: Biography Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints Gale: Business Plans Handbook
    HeinOnline Social Justice Suite Historical Statistics of the United States History Study Center
    hoopla Kanopy LinkedIn Learning
    Mango Languages Morningstar Investment Research Center New York Times
    New York Times Historical Nineteenth Century US Newspapers Novelist
    OverDrive (Libby App) ProQuest Learning Literature
    PTSDpubs Sanborn Maps (Washington State) Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
    Seattle Times Collection SIRS Discoverer SIRS Issues Researcher
    TumbleBook Library US Newsstream (ProQuest) Value Line Investment Survey Reports
    Wall Street Journal Washington Post  
    There are also several databases for children or teens. Well worth checking out!

  • ProQuest Learning: Literature Your RTC log-in is needed to access this database
    Research authors, literary works, literary criticism, literary periods, and literary movements, accompanied by study guides, all intended for novice researchers. (Use the 'Change Databases' link at the top of the database page to also search - or Not Search - the other eleven databases that this interface searches. Look under the question mark in the upper righthand corner for Research Skills videos, and more.)

  • ProQuest Access this database using your RTC log-in!
    This is an excellent collection of twelve databases, of which some are also listed elsewhere on this page (all 12 can be searched through here). Below are the ones not otherwise listed on this page:
    ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry (Trade, Industry-focused information, journal articles, market reports, industry reports and news). Consumer Health Database‎ (journal articles on consumer health).
    Coronavirus Research Database‎ (A free health and medical research database for openly available content related to the COVID-19 outbreak).
    PTSDpubs‎ (Journal articles Literature related to traumatic stress).
    Publicly Available Content Database‎ (Complements other databases and collections, this database brings together or links to full text for publicly available content from a number of different sources from around the world).
    Research Library‎ (Multidisciplinary subject coverage from scholarly, trade, and consumer publications).
    (Use the 'Change Databases' link at the top of the database page to select which of the 12 databases you wish to search - the default is 'all'. Look under the question mark in the upper righthand corner for Research Skills videos, and more.)

  • PubMed®
    PubMed® is a free resource for the search and retrieval of biomedical and life sciences literature. It comprises more than 36 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites (the RTC Library can help you with accessing articles that don't have free access).
    PubMed searches several NLM literature resources: MEDLINE, PubMed Central (a full text archive that includes articles from journals reviewed and selected by NLM), and Bookshelf (a full text archive of books, reports, databases, and other documents related to biomedical, health, and life sciences).
    In addition to the Search Box on the PubMed homepage there are three approaches for searching PubMed - the PubMed Advanced Search Builder, the Clinical Queries, and the Single Citation Matcher. The search results of each of these include checkboxes on the left for further limiting your search to what you are looking for (including 'free full text'). (There is also a PubMed User Guide if you would like to 'search like an expert').
    PubMed was developed and is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  • The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository
    The World Bank is the largest single source of development knowledge. The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) is the official open access repository for its research outputs and knowledge products. You can Browse for World Bank content by Collections, Authors, Release Dates, Topics, and Title. A variety of filters for narrowing search results are also available, including filtering content by Author, Date, Topic, Content Type, Keyword, Region, etc. The topics include all aspects of development and many of the problems facing the world.

  • WOIS Access this database using your RTC log-in!
    Career, education, and training information. There is a lot to consider when thinking about your future career. Explore different careers. Learn what people do, how much they earn, and how to prepare for a career. The more you know, the better career decisions you will make! (This information collection might be particularly useful to you if your assignment is partially about your future career.)

  • Wayfinder RTC log-in needed for this ProQuest-provided database.
    Includes WorldCat, a catalog of books and eBooks from libraries worldwide (but mostly the US). The WorldCat databases include the dissertations and theses in the WorldCat Dissertations database, the OCLC catalog of online electronic books available through libraries worldwide, Medline (covering all areas of medicine, including dentistry and nursing), and a directory of open access content in libraries worldwide.