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Consult Your Liaison Librarian
Getting Started with Research for ENGR339!
- Need a review of Hekman Library basics? Check out this "Get Connected" guide or browse our How-to playlist on Youtube.
- If you're off-campus, remember to start at the library homepage when connecting to databases and ebooks, so you'll be recognized as a Calvin user (when you're prompted to login, enter your Calvin username and passphrase).
- Struggling with citations? For more help, see the library's longer Citation 101 guide or try using Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab)
Remember, engineers are people who solve problems and focus on making things work more efficiently and effectively -- apply that kind of dedication to analysis, planning, and design to create relevant informational searches.
Tips for Searching
Not everyone likes to search, but everyone like to find. Here are some tips for efficient searching for successful finding:
- Choose the right database, a precise tool that fits your needs rather than a multitool that may be too generic. Multi-tools are handy and useful for many jobs, but none of the multi-tool tools are as good as the real tool, and no professional would rely solely on a multi-tool. Similarly, Google is a handy and useful research tool, but not as good as the research tools available from the library.
- Begin with the assumption that the information you need is out there - somewhere. If you don't begin with this assumption, you'll quit too soon or be satisfied with inferior results.
- Don't aim for the grand slam: You may have to break your search strategy into the smaller components that make up your project.
- Example Team Project: Developing a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) to assist scuba divers and allow for improved endurance, range and safety when diving. The vehicle has four primary systems: Power/Propulsion, Controls/Ergonomics, Buoyancy/Stability, and Hydrodynamic Design.
- Research is not elegant or pretty - RE search.
- Language is imprecise; there are multiple ways of describing almost everything
- Synonyms: drinking water, potable water / climatology, meteorology / pellets, briquettes
- Contextual synonyms: Project: Wastewater treatment in developing countries. Synonymous phrases for "developing countries": sustainable development, appropriate technology, rural, villages.
- Contextual definitions: elasticity (building materials and economic markets), election (theology and politics) [danger of using an interdisciplinary database]
Engineering Research Database
The Engineering Research Database covers the international journal and non-journal literature pertaining to all areas of engineering. Sources covered include over 3,500 periodicals, conference proceedings, technical reports, trade journal/newsletter items, patents, and books. The database contains full-text articles from several hundred journals.
Web of Science
Web of Science is the world's largest, high-quality interdisciplinary database with indexing back to 1900. All subject areas are covered, but the sciences are covered extensively.
SciFinder-n (formerly SciFinder Scholar or Chemical Abstracts)
The premiere database for all chemical and biochemical research. All Calvin users must set up account for access.
ACM Digital Library - Association for Computing Machinery
The full-text collection of all ACM publications, including journals, conference proceedings, technical magazines, newsletters and books.
Energy Citations Database
The Energy Citations Database contains energy-related reports, conference papers, journal articles, books, dissertations, and patents from the Department of Energy. Subjects covered include chemistry, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, climatology, oceanography, and related disciplines.
Citation information for journal articles, conference proceedings, technical standards, and related materials on computer science, electrical engineering and electronics, and allied fields. For full-text, request through ILL.
Transportation Research Information Services
The Transportation Research Information Services database contains over half a million records of published transportation research from 1960 to the present including technical reports, books, conference proceedings and journal articles. Topics include planning, finance, design and construction, materials, environmental issues, safety and human factors and operations for the modes of highways, transit, railroads, maritime and aviation. Approximately 24,000 records link to full-text.
Other Web Resources
Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology
An essential encyclopedia for understanding applied chemistry.
National Library of Energy
The NLE virtually integrates information from Energy.gov (the DOE website) and all DOE program offices, national laboratories and other facilities. The NLE search feature provides one-stop access to information in DOE's broad mission areas: science and R&D; energy and technology for industry and homeowners; energy market information and analysis; and nuclear security and environmental management.
United States Patent & Trademark Office
The United States Patent & Trademark Office website provides free access to patent documents including full text for patent grants since 1976, full page images since 1790, and patent applications published from March 2001 to present
ThomasNet is an industrial search engine that is "designed for sourcing components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials and custom manufacturing services."
Industrial Quick Search (IQS) Directory
"IQS Directory is a comprehensive listing of manufacturers and suppliers serving major segments of the OEM industrial manufacturing marketplace across the United States and Canada. Industrial engineers and buyers rely on IQS Directory to specify products within a series of categories and buy products directly from manufacturers."
W. W. Grainger
"Grainger is America’s trusted source for MRO supplies and industrial products. For over 90 years, we’ve built a tradition of getting customers the products and services they need. Grainger offers over 1.5 million products from thousands of trusted MRO suppliers..."
"A leading supplier to the global Life Science industry with solutions and services for research, biotechnology development and production, and pharmaceutical drug therapy development and production."
Recommended Guides for Industry and Company Information
Identify your industry's standardized name and NAICS code. Obtain surveys of your industry, such as analyst reports and in-depth descriptions. Find reliable statistics about your industry, including historical information, trends, and forecasts. Search for your industry in the news, and locate articles about your industry in trade publications and databases.
Determine whether you company is public, private, or nonprofit. Get to know your company better by finding company profiles online and in databases. Look for your company in a company directory in order to fill out its profile. Monitor your company in the media, and use alerts to obtain the most current news at any time. Identify what industries your company belongs to, and research your company within industry sources.
More Research How-tos
Even if Hekman Library doesn't own a particular book or article that you need, you can borrow or get a copy from another library through our MeL and ILL sharing services. If you have any questions or problems, our library staff are always available to help!