Waters and Oceans Worldwide (WOW) | National Inquiry Services Centre

Waters and Oceans Worldwide (WOW)

Records: 2 million
Aggregated databases: 20
Period: 1970 and earlier to current
Updated: Quarterly
Available format: EBSCOhost

Available on EBSCOhost

About the Database

Waters and Oceans Worldwide (WOW) offers comprehensive information for researchers specialising in all aspects of water research. The database collection has two million records and wide international coverage. Prominent themes covered include water supply, water treatment, water quality, sanitation, health, irrigation, drainage, groundwater and hydrology, habitat and ecology management, environmental impacts, oceanography, marine geology, pollution, coastal and estuarine studies, climatology and climate change, hydroelectric power, dam construction and related civil and water engineering issues, desalination, mining, and much more.

WOW is an electronic information resource which is an aggregation of 20 bibliographic databases from around the world. Major contributing databases include:

  • WATERLIT compiled by NISC in South Africa
  • HydroArchive from GeoSystems in the UK
  • International Water Management Institute (IWMI) database from Sri Lanka
  • Selected Water Resources Abstracts (SWRA) from the US
  • BIDLIB database from the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in the UK
  • The FBA (Freshwater Biological Association) database from the UK
  • OCEANIS and the library catalogue from the National Oceanography Centre in the UK

And more

WOW includes detailed keyword indexing, article abstracts, direct links to full text, where available. The records and abstracts cover all publications including journal articles, research reports, conference proceedings, grey literature, monographs, theses and dissertations, books, websites and more. Users of Waters and Oceans Worldwide include universities and government departments; water research, engineering and oceanography institutes; municipalities and engineering companies. WOW is indispensable for those institutions involved in water supply, storage and treatment and all aspects of ocean and coastal research and exploitation.


AQUAREF (1970–1992)

85 500 records

From the Inland Waters Directorate of Environment Canada, AQUAREF focuses on North American resources and related topics, spanning the period from 1970 to 1992. Altogether 85 600 records have been sourced from the publications of Environment Canada plus government agencies, universities and research bodies, conference proceedings, and more than 200 journals.

AQUIRE (Aquatic Information Retrieval) (1900–2000)

15 300 records

This database was produced by the US Environmental Protection Agency and contains information on acute, chronic, bio-accumulative and sub-lethal effects of chemicals on fresh- and saltwater organisms. Information covers over 6 500 chemicals and substances, study protocol and test results. Over 4 100 species are covered.

The BIDLIB Database (1997 and earlier to current)

25 000 records

BIDLIB is compiled by the library of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL) in Liverpool, UK. The BIDLIB database focuses on the physical oceanography of coasts, estuaries and shelf/slope regions. BIDLIB has specialist coverage of tides, tidal instrumentation, sea-level dynamics, numerical modelling, remote sensing, sediments and gravity. Records are sourced from a wide range of media and publication types. BIDLIB continues and replaces the earlier Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory database (POL) which is also included on WOW.

Biscayne Bay Bibliography (1960–1994 and back to the 19th century)

2 000 records

This database was compiled in the library of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS library), University of Miami. Source materials include much unique material from scientific journals and periodicals, monographs, conference proceedings and symposia, government reports, books, theses and dissertations, as well as rare and unpublished material.

California Coastal Processes Bibliography

2 200 records

This annotated bibliography has 2 200 references with keywords and abstracts. It is considered an institutional repository, including materials published before 1986, and is not current. The publications include scientific literature and technical reports on the California coast which cover coastal processes, geology and geomorphology, hydrology and hydraulics, and meteorology. It was compiled by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Districts of the Army Corps of Engineers and published as part of the Coast of California Storm and Tidal Waves Study.

Chesapeake Bay Bibliography (1920–1989)

8 000 records

This compilation was produced by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. The database was maintained from 1970 to 1989. It covers books, articles, government, institutional and academic reports, as well as theses and dissertations dealing with all aspects of the ecology and management of the Bay back to the 1920s.

DELFT HYDRO (1977–1987)

64 500 records

The Delft Hydraulics Laboratory in the Netherlands supplied international coverage of water and related scientific literature. Here, the emphasis is on engineering and related technological disciplines. The 64 500 references are taken from technical reports, books and theses, publications from relevant institutions, conference proceedings, and over 600 periodicals.

FBA Database, Freshwater Biological Association of the UK (1930 to current)

242 000 records

The library of the Freshwater Biological Association houses one of the world's finest collections of information on freshwater science, built up over a period of 70 years. The stock consists of around 10 000 books, 2 300 journal series and approximately 100 000 reprints and reports. The catalogue covers all aspects of freshwater ecology, as well as pollution, phycology, microbiology, invertebrate taxonomy and ecology, sediment and water chemistry, aquaculture, fisheries management and hydrology. The organisation has arrangements with over 500 organisations and individuals worldwide who also supply publications (books, journals and reprints), contributing greatly to its international coverage.

The FBA’s library catalogue and bibliographic database contains over 240 000 citations based on the above collection. The citations cover monographs, research reports, conference proceedings, grey literature and journal articles. 

Gulf of California: Bibliography of Marine Sciences (1970–1991)

8 000 records

The Gulf of California Bibliography of Marine Sciences covers a geographic area from Cabo Corrientes to Cabo San Lucas, northward to the head of the Gulf, at the mouth of the Colorado River. The East Pacific Rise at 21 deg N has been included, since it is important to Gulf researchers. Most references to the terrestrial flora and fauna of the Gulf Islands have been excluded. References were obtained through to June 1991.

HydroArchive (1970 and earlier to current)

260 000 records

 The comprehensive HydroArchive database is a subset of the esteemed GeoSystems database GeoArchive. The focus of HydroArchive is oceanography and hydrology, and topics covered include marine geology; physical and chemical oceanography; ocean and coastal engineering; tidal and wave energy; marine mining and mineral deposits; offshore exploration; marine pollution and waste disposal; water supply and management; fluvial and coastal geomorphology; paleo-oceanology, paleohydrology and paleolimnology; atmospheric science and meteorology; mathematical modelling; technology; policy and legislation.

Combined database of the UK-based Institute of Oceanographic Science, Deacon Laboratory (IOSDL) and the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL) (1985–1996)

144 591 records

This database was compiled by the National Oceanographic Library (UK) at IOSDL until 1996. It comprises over 144 000 records that provide multidisciplinary marine coverage, including marine physics, chemistry, biology, geology, technology, geophysics, pollution, meteorology and remote sensing, as well as comprehensive coverage of tide and sea-level research. Since 1997, the Southampton Oceanography Centre (formerly IOSDL) and POL have compiled separate databases, OCEANIS and BIDLIB respectively. Both are also included on WOW; OCEANIS is also included on the NISC FFAB database collection (Fish, Fisheries and Aquatic Biodiversity Worldwide).

IWMI Database, International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka (1986 to current)

42 500 records

IWMI's bibliographic database on integrated water resources management contains information from 1986 to date. The citations include published monographs, research reports, conference and workshop proceedings, grey literature and journal articles. Information can be retrieved by author, title, keywords, date, series, or geographical location. Full-text access to some sources is also available.

The International Water Management Institute is a non-profit scientific research organisation with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in agriculture and on the water needs of developing countries and has 15 sites worldwide.

Long Island Sound Bibliography (1965–1994)

3 827 records

This database was produced in the Long Island Sound Resource Center at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point.

National Marine Biological Library Database from the UK (1979 to current)

116 000 records

This library, based in Plymouth, UK, is over 100 years old and is one of the largest and most extensive of its kind in the world. Their database covers worldwide marine and estuarine pollution, including detection and analysis, levels, biological effects and control. It features literature on estuaries, coastal waters and major sea areas of the British Isles and Republic of Ireland. Journals, books, reports and grey literature are indexed in this database.

NOAA databases, National Oceanographic and Administration in the USA (1807 to current)

114 564 record

This database is compiled by the NOAA Library and Information Network. This 23 Institution consortium provides nine collections, including archival coverage; topics covered include hydrographic surveying, oceanography, meteorology and hydrology, living marine resources, and meteorological satellite applications. Citations are drawn from over 9 000 serial titles and 1 500 active journal subscriptions, 35 000 reports and meteorological data publications from roughly 100 countries. Also included are 1 000 rare books. 

OCEANIS and the Library Catalogue from the National Oceanography Centre in the UK (1985 to current)

100 000 records

The OCEAN Information System (OCEANIS) is produced by the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton and continues the work done by the Institute of Oceanographic Science, Deacon Laboratory (IOSDL).

Sea Grant Abstracts (1968 to current)

50 000 records

This database is produced at the US National Sea Grant Depository at the University of Rhode Island. The National Sea Grant College Program Database includes research on pure and applied science, engineering, business management, law and policy, shipping, fisheries, economics, recreation, and education, concerning use and conservation of US oceanic, coastal and Great Lakes resources.

Selected Water Resources Abstracts (SWRA) (1960–1994)

270 000 records

SWRA was produced by the US Geological Survey until 1994. This high-quality database with abstracts offers excellent archival coverage of US water-related topics.

WATERLIT (1975 to current)

500 000 records

WATERLIT comprises half a million records with abstracts and comprehensively covers the period from 1975 to current. Extensive keyword indexing enhances retrieval. WATERLIT provides essential information for those dealing with all surface, coastal and subterranean water resources, including the industrial and environmental aspects of water supply, water treatment, water quality, wastewater and sanitation, weather, climate and climate change, and analysis of water in arid lands. International coverage is excellent, and coverage of Africa and developing countries is comprehensive. NISC in South Africa has compiled and maintained WATERLIT since 2003. WATERLIT was previously compiled under the auspices of the Water Research Commission in South Africa.

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