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Biology Subject Guide

Selected Reference Books

The list below represents of few of the many valuable reference resources within the discipline of biological sciences.  The sources are available in print (library main level) or online formats.  They will get you started in ways such as identifying interesting topics and providing background information.  Ask at the Reference Desk for further assistance in finding reference resources.

General Sciences

The Concise Encyclopedia of the Ethics of New Technologies
     Ref QH332 .C66 2001
CQ Researcher
Contains in-depth reports on controversial issues in all disciplinesEncyclopedia of Science and Religion
     From the Gale Virtual Reference Library
McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
Medical School Admission Requirements, United States and Canada
     Ref R745.A8  (Library owns latest edition)

Biology (General)

Biotechnology from A–Z
     Ref TP248.16 .B33 2004
Encyclopedia of Life:  EOL
Encyclopedia of Bioethics (2004 edition)
     Ref QH332 .E52 1995 (print version)
Oxford Reference Collection Online:  Biological Sciences
     Included are these helpful reference works: Dictionary of animal behaviour, Dictionary of biology, Oxford companion to the body, Dictionary of ecology, Dictionary of the plant sciences, Dictionary of scientists and Dictionary of zoology.

Human Biology & Evolution

Cambridge Dictionary of Human Biology and Evolution
     Ref QP34.5 .M24 2005
Encyclopedia of Human Biology
     Ref QP11 .E53 1991 (8 vols.)
Encyclopedia of the Human Genome
     From Credo Reference
Grant's Atlas of Anatomy
     Ref QM25 .A38 2009
Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery
Online edition of the classic 1918 edition
     Ref QM23.2 .G73 2005 (print version)

Environmental Studies & Ecology

Encyclopedia of Ecology and Environmental Management
     From Credo Reference
Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy
     From the Gale Virtual Reference Library

Molecular & Biochemistry

Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
     Ref QD415 .A25 O94 2006

Plant Sciences and Zoology

     Ref QL45.2 .A56 2001
Beacham's Guide to the Endangered Species of North America
     Ref QH77.N56 B43 2001  (3 volumes)
Dictionary of Zoology
     Ref QL9 .D5 2003
Grzimek Animal Life Encyclopedia
     From the Gale Virtual Reference Library


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Find Journal Articles


CrossSearch  Biology

  What does this box search?                                  Advanced Search

Search the following databases to locate journal articles in the field of biology. Although some databases provide full-text articles, others will require you to use WebBridge to locate the full text. WebBridge will also help you place Interlibrary Loan requests for articles that are not available through our library. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

Core Resources

Biological Sciences (CSA)
This interdisciplinary database offers abstracts and citations to a wide range of research in biomedicine, biotechnology, zoology and ecology, and some aspects of agriculture and veterinary science. Get access to literature from over 6,000 serials, as well as conference proceedings, technical reports, monographs and selected books and patents.

This website houses the full-text of over 100 high-impact bioscience, environmental science, and ecology research journals. Most are published by small scientific societies and non-commercial publishers, and are unavailable through other biology journal databases.

ProQuest Biology Journals
An online collection of several hundred full-text scholarly journals spanning all aspects of the biological sciences.

Additional Subject Resources

Comprehensive database covering agriculture as well as the life sciences.

ETHX on the Web
A bibliographic database on bioethics and professional ethics.

GEOBASE via Firstsearch
Covers journals, books, monographs, conference proceedings, and reports related to the fields of geography, geology, and ecology.

Indexes  scholarly and general interest publications about environmental issues. (1973–present)

Ornithological Worldwide Literature (OWL)
Indexes the worldwide scientific literature that pertain to the science of ornithology.

Plant Science
Bibliographic index for research literature on all aspects of plant science. Coverage is from 1994 to the present.

ProQuest Science Journals
A collection of approximately 1,000 full-text journals from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, and the earth sciences.

PubMed is a database of biomedical citations and abstracts that includes Medline.

SciFinder Scholar
Provides  access to Chemical Abstracts from 1907 to the present. Visit the library's SciFinder Scholar page for more information on this database.

This database from the National Library of Medicine is an "extensive collection of online bibliographic information covering the biochemical, pharmacological, physiological, and toxicological effects of drugs and other chemicals." Coverage is five years ago to the present. Access restricted to Saint Anselm College community.

Supplemental Resources

Academic Search Premier
A broad index providing abstracts and some full-text for a range of academic areas, including biology.

Google Scholar
Google Scholar indexes a subset of scholarly literature in all fields. Coverage appears to be strong in the area of biology, especially for scholarship that is available online.
"The world's largest website for the search and delivery of research articles, offers you access to article summaries from over 20,000 publications."

A collection of online journals from many disciplines, including Botany, Ecology and General Science. Please note: While this database goes back to the very first volume of these journal titles, it does not cover the most recent 3–5 years of a title.   User Guide

ProQuest Central
A massive database covering a wide range of subjects, with full-text of scholarly journal articles, newspaper articles, dissertations, and business and industry profiles.

Scirus helps you quickly locate scientific information (including Biology-related information) on the Web searching more than 450 million science-related pages. Many of the links are to peer-reviewed journal information. Some is freely accessible full-text. Others may be available via Saint Anselm College or Interlibrary loan.


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Find Books


Search the library catalog to locate books in Geisel Library. Search by keyword (e.g., migratory behavior) if you are unsure of the title you are looking for. Most biology books are located on the Upper Level of the library in the QH through QR sections.

Search WorldCat to search the collections of libraries worldwide. Find a book in this database, and, if not owned by SAC, you can request it from Interlibrary Loan with one click. Your book(s) will be available for pickup in the library within 7–14 days. Ask for help in using this database at the reference desk, in person, or online at Ask a Librarian.

Ebrary is an online library containing thousands of e-books spanning across all scholarly disciplines. Books can either be opened in QuickView for instant viewing or in the ebrary Reader (a downloadable plug-in), which provides enhanced functionality such as the ability to copy/paste, highlight, or take notes in a particular book.


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Find Scientific Reviews


Scientific reviews critically survey a narrowly defined topic in a discipline. Most often, scientific reviews appear in annual publications entitled "Annual review
of ...", "Advances in ..." and in journals, especially those which have "review" as part of the title. Many of them are available full-text online.

As part of a strategy, review papers are an excellent "research tool" to use since they pull together information on the existing "state of the art" of a specific topic. Check out the latest few years for review literature in one of the following.

Advances in Ecological Research
   QH540 .A23

Advances in Human Genetics
   QH431 .A1 A32

Annual Review of Biochemistry
   QP501 .A7 (print version)

Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
    QH573 .A568 (print version)

Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
   QH540 .A54 (print version)

Annual Review of Entomology
   QL463 .A5 (print version)

Annual Review of Environment and Resources
   TJ163.2 .A57 (print version)

Annual Review of Genetics
   QH431.A1 A54 (print version)

Annual Review of Microbiology
   QR1 .A5 (print version)

Annual Review of Physiology
   QP1 .A535 (print version)

Annual Review of Plant Biology
   QK1 .A5 (print version)


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Selected Websites


Searching the World Wide Web can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality, make it imperative that you know how to evaluate the information you find.To learn more, see our guide on Evaluating Websites.


From the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Major destinations in the site include virtual laboratories and animations of biological processes such as T-cell proliferation.

Biology Department — Saint Anselm College
Find information about courses and faculty web pages.

BiologyBrowser, produced by BIOSIS, features free resources and useful links, and provides a forum for connecting hundreds of researchers and information scientists worldwide.

Biology Links
Comprehensive site with links to other useful educational and commercial sites and e-journals, brought to you by the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at Harvard University.

Biology News Net
The latest news and articles on popular topics. International focus. Can set up RSS news feeds.

Biology Web Resources from Westfield State College
Ely library compiles useful links for undergrads. List contains links to general, biodiversity, biomedical, genetics and more.
From the National Human Genome Research Institute.  Includes a popular Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

Infomine:  Biological, Agricultural and Medical Sciences
A directory of academic sites that are evaluated and chosen by librarians.

The National Biological Information Infrastructure
"A broad, collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on the nation's biological resources."

OhioLINK Subject Guide:  Biology
A guide to internet resources created by a group of OhioLINK subject experts.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)
PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS publishes peer-reviewed, open access scientific and medical journals, including PLoS Biology.

SciCentral:  Biological Sciences
Extensive directory of resources in biology, biochemistry, and many other specialties.

Science and Arts Gateway for Education
An excellent gateway site from Cornell Theory Center (CTC) at Cornell University.

Tree of Life
This site provides information about the diversity of organisms, their evolutionary history, and characteristics.

Virtual Library (Biosciences)
A gateway site, VL selectors choose sites that are high quality reference sources. VL Biosciences includes links to sites in botany, zoology, genetics, cell and developmental biology, biotechnology, biodiversity, ecology, environment, mycology, microbiology and virology.


National Reference Center for bioethics literature
This is a good starting place for research in bioethics. Links to ETHX on the Web, an online bibliographic database for books and journal articles on the subject.


BioMed Central
"BioMed Central publishes peer-reviewed research across all areas of biology and medicine, with immediate, barrier-free access for all."

Biostatistics Resources on the World Wide Web
From the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

The Merck Manual of Medical Information — Home Edition
A full-text, searchable consumer edition of the famous Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy.

NIH Stem Cell Information
From the National Institute of Health, this site provides links to the wide range of resources on this topic, including press releases, primers, and fact sheets.

An extensive collection of links to a wide variety of company and drug related information.

"A dictionary of over 85,000 medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical & healthcare acronyms and abbreviations."


Biology Links:  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
From Harvard University's Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Biochemistry Online:  An Approach Based on Chemical Logic
A web-based textbook developed by Dr. Henry Jakubowski for his first-semester biochemistry students at the College of St. Benedict / St. John's University.


The Electronic Plant Information Centre / Kew Gardens
ePIC is a major project to bring together all of Kew's digitized information about plants, thus making it easier to search.

Internet Directory for Botany
A collection of links to resources and images.

Plants Database
Provides a single source of standardized information about plants.

Scott's Botanical Links / U of Oklahoma
Compilation of botany education resources for advanced high school and college levels.

Developmental/Molecular & Cell Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology Online
"An informational resource for cell and molecular biologists."

Evolutionary Biology Resources from Saint Anselm College
Developed by Dr. Jay Pitocchelli for use as supplementary class material.

Genetics Education Center
From Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC) and includes a large number of genetics-related sites, including the Human Genome Project.

Hypermedia Glossary of Genetic Terms
Search or browse through over 600 entries.

Kimball's Biology Pages
These pages include a hypertext dictionary specializing in cell and molecular biology, from 'Absorption Spectrum' to 'Zygote'.

Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes
This effort to computerize current knowledge of molecular and cellular biology has been undertaken in the Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University as a part of the Japanese Human Genome Program.

Species 2000
This project aims to enumerate "all known species of plants, animals, fungi and microbes on earth as the baseline dataset for studies of global biodiversity."

Structure of the Human Body
From the Loyola University of Medical Education Network (LUMEN).


Biodiversity From the World Resources Institute.

FishBase WWW
Key data on all important finfish; taxonomy, pictures, extensive literature references.

Environmental Protection Agency
A considerable number of full-text files are available on this EPA site, such as excerpts from the Federal Register related to the environment and transcripts of speeches.

National Council for Science and Environment: CRS Reports
Over 2000 Congressional Research Service reports on environmental and related topics.

NatureServe: an Online Encyclopedia of Life
Provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals, too.

North American Breeding Bird Survey: Results and Analysis, 1966–2003
A project of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, this site monitors North American bird populations during the breeding season.

Tide Charts for the New England Coast
Includes charts for 6 months of tides.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Includes many full text reports from the agency, links to sites on endangered species, fisheries, and to regional offices.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Part of the United Nations Environment Programme, the WCMC provides information on conservation and sustainable use of the world's living resources.


A communications network on worldwide vanishing amphibians.

Animal Diversity Web
From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, this site contains "thousands of species accounts about individual animal species".

Entomology Index of Internet Resources
A directory and search engine of insect-related resources on the Internet.

Internet Public Library:  Zoology
This IPL site, hosted by the University of Michigan, is a good general site for many biology topics, including vertebrate and invertebrate zoology.

Mammal Species of the World (MSW)
A database of mammalian taxonomy.

From the Wisconsin Primate Research Center, the University of Wisconsin Libraries in Madison, and the Primate Information Center at the Washington National Primate Research Center in Seattle. This is a searchable database to over 200,000 citations in the literature of primatology.

Tree of Life
This site provides information about the diversity of organisms, vertebrate and invertebrate, their evolutionary history, and characteristics.

Web Lift to Taxa
From the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) at Berkeley. Includes vertebrates and invertebrates.


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Citing Sources


Citing Information: CSE/CBE Style

CSE Citation Style Examples

USE "Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers"
Paper copy: Ready Ref T11 .S386


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