Key sources

Which databases you need depends largely on the subject of your research. For example, students of Finnish history will find good sources in Finnish databases and Swedish databases, while students of general history will find most relevant sources in international databases.

Finnish databases

JYKDOK is the University of Jyväskylä's portal to various types of data. In JYKDOK you can find the most relevant basic information on publications, i.e. availability information (location and availability/reservation information), all books, journals, JY theses. JYKDOK also gives you access to materials stored in JYX. For history students the JYKDOK is not complete, some older material is missing from the JYKDOK. Ask for help at the library's helpdesk.

  • Remember to also use the services and collections of the Jyväskylä City Library.

  • FINNA is a search service of Finnish libraries, archives and museums. Check availability at the JYKDOK for example by copying the title of the book.

  • Finnish articles (former ARTO) : use the JYKDOK Finnish articles tab.


International databases of history

Multidisciplinary databases

  • Scopus: multidisciplinary reference and abstract database.

  • Web of Science (WOS): a multidisciplinary reference and abstract database; includes, among others, the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (a sub-database, but does not necessarily have to be selected separately).

  • JSTOR: is an archive database of journals, with full-text articles available from the first issues of journals (up to the end of the 19th century). The latest available number is at least one year (often 3 - 5 years) old.


The University of Jyväskylä Library offers access to the historical archives of newspapers in several ways:

  • Microfilm (original newspapers will not be made available for patron use if microfilm is available). The use of microfilm for research purposes makes sense because you can store the material directly on the U drive. Finnish newspapers on microfilm.
  • Historical Newspaper Archive (digitised newspapers from 1771 onwards; note the difference between material freely available online and newspapers accessible via the library's digital archive). Read more about Finnish newspapers on microfilm.

Electronic databases of newspapers:

  • International newspaper archives: from the JYKDOK main page, select Search and under Search, browse databases and in the search window type in newspapers: e.g. ProQuest Historical Newspapers series (see above for a guide to searching databases). The collection descriptions indicate the type of material available and the time period for which it is available. See the following databases and portals:

  • Europeana: The Europeana portal makes it possible to search for digitised material from Europe, especially from EU countries, libraries, museums and archives. The following types of material for exaple can be found through Europeana: pictures, paintings, drawings, maps,  books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archive documents, sound recordings, videos.

  • The European Library - Joint portal of European National Libraries

  • British Library

  • Russian National Library

  • German National Library

  • The National Library of France

  • The National Library of Italy is divided into two libraries, namely Florence and Rome: the National Central Library (Florence) (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Firenze); the National Central Library (Rome) (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma)

Nordic national portals (the national libraries of the countries); note that the national libraries store a lot of digitised material (e.g. magazines and newspapers) like the collections of the National Library of Finland

Search for international articles

On the International Articles tab in JYKDOK, you can browse all the resources without selecting a specific database. It is very useful for browsing and exploring your research topic. You can find databases by discipline in JYKDOK under the search field under Browse databases. Select History from the Discipline bar on the right of the site. Learn how to use the search function in a variety of ways. See what happens when you target your search by subject, abstract text or "all hits". These search options are included in the most common international databases, so you can learn the basic logic behind JYKDOK's search for international data. 

For background information before starting the information seeking

General features of publishing practices in the humanities:

  • The main focus in research published in Finland, but international publishing is also highlighted in so-called domestic disciplines (Finnish history, Finnish language, etc.) in scientific research, including theses, favours Finnish and international peer-reviewed (scientific) journal articles.
  • However, in terms of scientific debate and scientific progress, the humanities prefer monographs (a work published by one researcher) and collections of articles (a collection of articles by more than one author, usually published in the name of a common research theme, i.e. the work has one common title)

Vocabularies to support information seeking

Your search for information will become more precise and efficient if you learn to identify the established vocabulary describing your research topic. A search using keywords will produce more comprehensive results than one based on a random search.

  • YSO: The General Finnish Ontology (YSO) is a general vocabulary covering all fields of science and knowledge, which brings together the most common terminology in different fields. YSO is intended to be used for searching books, articles, electronic material and other types of material. Established subject headings include (although not all are found in the YSO): countries, time expressions [e.g. 1900s, 1960s], names of people [Urho Kekkonen, , Erasmus of Rotterdam], community names [e.g. European Union], often also historical phenomena and events [e.g. World War II; Finnish War; Roman Empire; Peace of Paris (1856)], etc.)

  • Termbank for the art and science: launched in 2015, the project aims to map common terminology in the humanities and to make it available in an open database. A key form of collaboration is to develop interdisciplinary definitions and descriptions of scientific terms that are common to several humanities disciplines. The work will include mapping the current areas of use of common terms as well as the conceptual history.

  • MOT, is not a vocabulary, but contains dictionaries from which you can check the spelling of words in different languages. 

  •  There are no field-specific dictionaries and reference works for historical sciences. Instead, reference works have been published on different topics: You can search JYKDOK using the following search commands, for example (you can copy the example commands to JYKDOK's basic search):

  • history AND encyclopedia

  • history AND handbook

  • Historical Abstract (Ebsco) database descriptor: Historical Abstract database; open the database and go to the descriptors from the Indexes link in the blue top bar and proceed to the drop-down menu (Browse an Index) Subject Term descriptor. Type in your keywords and see what kind of instructions the database offers you. When you find suitable keywords, add them to the search = Select one or more terms and add to search using ADD (note that you can combine keywords using AND and OR commands). View the search result (i.e. publications) and continue to refine your search if necessary using the filters on the left-hand side of the results page.