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Searching for Writings of Scientists (through OU catalogs & databases)

If you are looking for a work by a particular scientist (article or book), it is likely that there is a copy in the History of Science Collections or somewhere in OU libraries. A scientist's works may be accessible through a variety of formats: print, microform, E-book, or digital access through the databases in the OU catalog or OU's Digital Collections. 


  • Search Discover Local to find all editions and formats of a particular book available at OU, start your research with an author and/or title search in the online catalog. For help with searching for books or for limiting searches by location (e.g. Collections only) or format (e.g. print only), see Search Discover Local for Books (Primary Sources)



Browsing the Primary Sources Guide


Browse the History of Science Primary Sources Guide for tips on finding primary source materials. It includes topical print guides, bibliographies of published works and examples of modern critical editions and facsimiles available in OU Libraries.


Identifying Writings of Scientists

Reference works can be used to identify published works and writing by scientists:

  • Dictionaries & Encyclopedias: Look at entries in Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography and other biographical, topical, period dictionaries to identify the works of a particular individual.
  • Bibliographies: Look for bibliographies of a scientist's works compiled by researchers.
  • Professional Society Memoirs: Official biographies published by professional organizations are an excellent source for a scientist's works, for example: Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, or Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (Note: full access to the latter is available only through OU's catalog, not the Royal Society's website).
  • Secondary Research Materials: use the secondary research literature (books and articles) to delve into the life and works of a person you are researching. Bibliographies in these works can be particularly useful.

Browse our Secondary Sources Research Guides to find more of these types of resources to learn about scientists, their works, and their historical contexts: History of Science Secondary Sources - by Topic and History of Science Secondary Sources - by Type