Research Databases


List of Research Databases

Following is a list of research databases that contain various types of information, data, public records, images, and more. All of the databases are “open access”, which means anyone can access them without paying a fee.

Government Research Databases

  • Access to Archival Databases (AAD) – AAD is a search engine that allows users to search some of the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) holdings of electronic records. Examples of categories include Military Personnel, Prisoners of War, Businesses, Wars, Places, and many more. You can search by person, geographic area, organization, or date.
  • BeenVerified – BeenVerified provides access to millions of public records at an affordable price.
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications – This searchable online catalog allows you to find federal publications across multiple government databases. Also, it allows you to find a nearby Federal Depository Library.
  • CIA World Factbook – The Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook provides detailed information on 267 world entities. Categories of information include the military, geography, government, economy, and more.
  • Microfilm Catalog – This is a searchable database of NARA’s numbered microfilm publications. The microfilm includes those films created by or purchased by NARA for researcher use. Determine which rolls of microfilm may be the most relevant for your research at NARA.
  • National Security Archive – independent non-governmental research institute and library. The National Security Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This is somewhat of a WikiLeaks-style site, but all of the information has been declassified.
  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Resources – A collection of resources to help private investigators search open-source databases and the deep web (also known as Darknets). Also, includes links to help with social media and other online investigations.
  • Public Records Databases – An article that details a list of the best open-access public records databases, such as BeenVerified.

Education Research

  • CORE – CORE is an open-access database that aggregates more than 200 million research papers into a single database to support the research community. CORE pulls information from tens of thousands of journals and thousands of repositories from around the world. 
  • Google Scholar – Google Scholar provides an easy way for anyone to search from one central location through scholarly articles, books, court opinions online repositories, and websites.
  • ScienceOpen – ScienceOpen is a professional networking platform designed to help scholars promote and get credit for their research. The platform has over 70 million articles from 28 million authors.

Business Data and Information

Thomas Register Of American Manufacturers – The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers is a database of 500,000 suppliers. In addition, it has information on over six million industry products. 

Other Research Databases

  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Resources – A collection of resources to help private investigators search open source databases and the deep web (also known as Darknets). Also, includes links to help with social media and other online investigations.
  • Pay Phone Database – Payphones are definitely a thing of the past, but some still exist. This website serves as a database of thousands of payphone numbers located throughout the United States and Canada. An interesting resource for finding the source of obscure numbers. Maybe one of your clients is getting a call from a hard-to-track number. It could be an old payphone.
  • Private Investigator Research Tools – This is our extensive list of resources designed specifically to help private investigators conduct research.
  • Watchman Index of Cults and Religions – This website provides an index to cults, occult organizations, new age groups, and religious movements. Helpful for learning more about more than 1200 religious organizations and beliefs.

We Need Your Help

Please help us update this list with additional open-access research databases. Please post suggestions for additional databases in the comments section below.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments about these open-access research databases, please post a message below.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


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