Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Database Guides: GEOBASE

Information about using the various databases in the A-Z Online Resources,


What is it?

A database which covers Geographical, Earth, and Ecological sciences. Broad subject coverage includes earth sciences, ecology, geomechanics, human geography, physical geography, social geography and oceanography.


Equivalent to Geographical Abstracts: Physical and Human GeographyEcological AbstractsGeological AbstractsInternational Development Abstracts; Oceanographic Literature Review; Geomechanics Abstracts. Includes journal articles, reports, monographs, and conference proceedings.  Covers from 1973 onwards.Updated weekly.


What is it for?

Use GEOBASE to find publications on anything to do with geography, geology, ecology or international development.

How to access it

Login to the Portal and then choose Geobase from the A-Z List of Online Resources. You are then taken directly into the Advanced Search screen.

How to search

See Successful Search Techniques.

AND to narrow search, e.g, hydrology and river

OR to broaden search, e.g, forest or tree
To search a phrase, ie., two or more words that appear in a specific order, enclose the phrase in quotes, e.g., "acid rain"

Stemming: GEOBASE will automatically "stem" your search words eg hydrology will find hydrology, hydrologic, hydrological. (Stemming determines the suffixes of words and allows you to search for the term as entered and other words formed with other possible suffixes).

Truncation: use * at the end of a word, e.g. estuar* will find estuary, estuarine, estuaries, etc., Can also use in the middle of a word as a multi-character wildcard used to replace zero to any number of characters anywhere in a word e.g. colo*r will find color and colour.


Wildcard: use ? to replace a single character, e.g. organi?ation will find organisation or organization


Note: Truncation and wild cards cannot be used within quotation marks (for a phrase search)


Thesaurus Searching for Controlled Vocabulary: the controlled vocabulary terms are from the GEOBASE Thesaurus which is a list of subject terms used to describe the content of a document in a specific and consistent way.  You can find Controlled vocabulary terms using the Thesaurus tab on the main search page. Within the Thesaurus tab, search or browse for a term. Click on terms to see broader and narrower terms for that topic and related terms that may be useful for your search. Click the box next to any terms you wish to add to your search, and click Search. The search will run immediately and you will be shown the results screen.  (You can also quickly browse and selected Controlled Terms before you search: choose the Controlled Terms option in the Browse Indexes box to the right of the search boxes).


Refine Results: Once you have completed your search you can narrow your search results by using the Refine Results option on the lefthand side.

For example:

Controlled Vocabulary: the controlled vocabulary terms are from the GEOBASE Thesaurus - see above.

Classification code:  the categories in classification code reflect the original printed indexes and the sections within these indexes.  However, you need to know the appropiate code number to search from the search screen. Also, although these Classification codes are hierarchical, the search does not include the narrower terms below an index or section heading. So use the truncation symbol in your search. Enter the number and choose Classification Code from the dropdown menu (70* = GEOGRAPHICAL ABSTRACTS: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY; 71* = GEOGRAPHICAL ABSTRACTS: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY; 72* =  GEOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS; 73* = ECOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS; 74* = INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ABSTRACTS; 76* = OCEANOGRAPHIC LITERATURE REVIEW; 77* = GEOMECHANICS ABSTRACTS).  Alternatively, after searching you can refine your results by classification code - although note that again the narrower terms under a heading will not be included in your search.

Geographic terms: use the Geographic terms option to narrow your results to a specific country or geographic area. (Note: this should not be confused with the option to refine by Country.  The Country option is for the country of origin of the document, that is, the countries of the author affiliations rather than the geographic areas discussed within the document).

Combining searches: your search history displays at the foot of the search screen. Type the search set numbers to combine searches, for example: #2 and #3

Full text?

Click on the Find@Stir button Find@Stir button, which provides links to the full text of the journal if available, or to the library catalogue, to check if we have the item in paper format.

Records can be downloaded into Refworks (a software product for managing references and formatting bibliographies).

Other useful resources

See the Environmental Science Research Guide

Further help

Select Help in the top righthand side corner