Life sciences

If you are studying biological and biomedical sciences, dietetics and nutrition or vision sciences then this guide is for you. It will help you to find and use key resources for your subject.

Finding books

To find books and ebooks use Discover. Watch a short video to help improve your search.

Where are my books in the Library?

Most books for life sciences are on level 3. Most books for dietetics and nutrition and for vision sciences are on level 2. For help ask a member of staff on the floor or watch Find a book in the library.

Many of our books are online, watch Find and use ebooks to learn more.

Finding journals

Use Discover to search for journal articles by title or to search for a journal by subject.

Key journals

Your lecturer may recommend specific journals, but you can also use our journal browse feature to see what journals we have for your subject area. If you need help watch a short video, Find a journal by title or Browse journals by subject.

For help getting access to the full text of a journal article watch Finding and accessing full text.

To request journals that we don’t have in stock use the inter-library loan service.

Finding and using databases

A database enables you to you to carry out a strategic search for journal articles. You can search using a combination of terms, filter and narrow results (by date or subject area for example) and save your searches.

Not all databases will host the full text of the article you need but should provide a link out to full text or further information. For help watch our short video Finding and accessing full text.

There is some overlap between the databases but every database also has unique content. Help guides are available within the Discover record for individual databases.

Key databases:
  • MEDLINE: an authoritative source of journal literature in the biomedical and life sciences. MEDLINE allows you to search using a combination of free text (or keyword) and thesaurus terms (known as Medical Subject Headings or MeSH) to produce very precise results.
  • ProQuest biological science collection: search directly within this collection to access 30 databases containing outputs of cutting edge research including journal articles, technical reports, conference proceedings and more. Additional health and medicine databases are also available via ProQuest.
  • ProQuest Health and Medical Collection: provides extensive coverage within the field. Easy to use and provides access to full text for a range of sources. Functionality to search this individual database or across a collection of health related databases.
  • Science Direct: covers academic literature in health and medicine and provides full text access to material.
  • Web of Science: easy to use, high quality sources of scientific research including health and medicine. Functionality to search within a set of results. You can also view the number of times an article has been cited and the journal impact factor.
  • CINAHL: an authoritative source within the field of nursing and allied health. CINAHL allows you to search using a combination of free text (or keyword) and thesaurus terms (known as CINAHL headings) to produce precise results. Option to limit to peer review material, link out to full text articles and search other EBSCO databases. If you are new to CINAHL or need a refresher watch our video: Introduction to searching CINAHL. This will also be helpful if you are searching CINAHL.
  • Anatomy TV: image databank providing 3D anatomical pictures with physiology and clinical content. These can be rotated and layers can be removed to expose underlying structures. Includes quizzes and activities to test your learning.

A full list of all the databases we subscribe to is available from the Database A-Z.


Websites can offer a range of information that may be difficult to find elsewhere such as clinical guidelines, policy documents, statistics and so on.

Consider using the websites of professional bodies like the Royal Society of Biology; Nutrition Society and the College of Optometrists. Also, public or government bodies like Health Improvement Scotland, research collaborations like the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), and blogs like that of Scotland’s Life Sciences Annual Awards.

With such a wide variety available you need to ensure that the sites you are using are trustworthy. We provide guidance on evaluating websites.