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Key Resources in Engineering
These resources contain basic overview information that can be useful when you're just beginning your research.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) provides access to a range of encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference sources. Individual titles may be added or cancelled yearly.
Oxford Reference Online
Oxford Reference Premium contains over 125 language and subject dictionaries and reference works, all published by Oxford University Press. Areas of coverage include science and medicine, the humanities and social sciences, and business and law. Content includes world maps, illustrations, timelines, weblines, and key titles from the Oxford Companions series. English dictionaries and thesauri, guides to grammar and usage, and dictionaries of etymology, foreign languages, quotations, and names are provided.
You can also search URSUS for engineering-specific encyclopedias and handbooks, many of which are accessible online! A few examples are below, but there are many more.
Once you have a good understanding of your topic and have selected a few keywords, OneSearch is a great place to start your research! OneSearch is a convenient way to search almost all of the library’s resources using a single search box.
Trade journals are a type of magazine covering news and features of interest to a particular field of work or industry. They can be found in some databases (look for a list of document types in the lefthand sidebar after you run your search), in OneSearch, or in professional organizations. A few freely available engineering trade journals are listed here.
Below are just a few of our databases useful for engineering research. For more databases with engineering content, check out our Databases A-Z page and select "Engineering" from the drop-down.
Academic Search Complete
Multi- and inter-disciplinary database with academic journals, trade journals, and other periodicals.
ASCE Civil Engineering Database
Provides Access to over 100,000 Bibliographic and Abstracted Records.
Building Materials by McGraw-Hill Sweets
Product and manufacturing information for those involved with construction. Search by company name, trade name, product, or by one or more of 16 subject divisions for detailed information about the product or company with direct links to company websites.
Journal articles on science, technology, and medicine published by Elsevier. Coverage: 1995-present.
TRID: the TIRS & ITRD Database
Contains citations and abstracts for books, journal articles, and technical reports in all areas of transportation research. Search by author, title and subject. Produced by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Science. Coverage: 1960s +
USPTO Web Patent Database
For patents from 1976 to the present it provides searching by classification system, title and abstract words, inventor and company name and many other fields. For patents prior to 1976 you must search by patent number or the classification system.
Web of Science Core Collection
Covers multidisciplinary information from approximately 8,500 of the highest impact research journals. Provides cited reference searching, with which users can navigate forward, backward, and through the literature to uncover information relevant to their research. Coverage: 2000-present
You can search for books in our library and other libraries using the links below. If you're not sure how to find what you're looking for, ask us!
URSUS Library Catalog
Catalog for the University of Maine system, including USM. You can choose to limit your search to USM, or search all libraries and use interlibrary loan.
If URSUS doesn't have what you're looking for, use MaineCat to widen your search to all Maine libraries. You can request any book you find and it will be delivered to the USM library location of your choosing.
You can widen your search to libraries worldwide using WorldCat. If you find a book you need, request it using the "Order through Illiad" link.
Formulas, data tables, and other reference information useful for engineers.
Searchable database of material properties includes data sheets of thermoplastic and thermoset polymers, metals and alloys, ceramics, semiconductors, fibers, and other engineering materials.
TED Talks - Engineering
Looking for some inspiration? Check out these TED Talks about engineering.
Excellent computational engine.
Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science
Guidelines, formats, and templates for a variety of types of writing in engineering.
Search for military standards and specifications. To get a broad listing, input MIL-STD in the Document ID box and set Status to Active and run a search.
Search by standard provider (i.e. ASTM, ISO, ANSI) or search for "building codes"
Includes the most recent versions of the International Building, Residential, Fire, Property Maintenance, and Energy Conservation Codes
IHS Standards Store
Free to search, although the standards themselves are not free. If you find one you want, contact the library.
Searching Tips and Tricks
- Most databases allow for searching with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
- Use AND to focus your search and combine different aspects of your topic
- Use OR to broaden your search and find sources that use different words for the same concept.
- Use NOT to omit certain terms from your results.
- Use an asterisk (*) to truncate words if you want to search for all words with that root. For example, “environment*” would search for environment, environmental, environmentalism, etc.
- Put quotes around a phrase that you want the database to search as a phrase, rather than as individual words.
- Group synonyms inside parentheses using OR between each one
URSUS is the combined library catalog for the entire University of Maine system. You can search the entire system, or select University of Southern Maine Libraries in the drop-down.
Other helpful tips:
- If you find a book that is relevant to your needs, look at the "Subject" area of the book's record. Click on a few of the subjects to find other similar books.
- In many of the book records, you can look at the table of contents - click the link under the "Inside This Book" heading. This can help you determine if a book is right for your research.
- If USM doesn't have a book you want, click the "Request" button at the top of the page and we can get it for you through interlibrary loan.
Most databases, as well as URSUS and MaineCat, assign subjects to books and articles. A subject is a designated word or phrase that describes an idea or concept and groups all articles or books about that concept together.
- Subjects are also variously called descriptors, controlled vocabulary, headings, or index terms.
- To search by subject you have to know the exact subject term. Most databases that use subjects have a Thesaurus that you can use to look up subject terms. You can also do a keyword search, find a book or article that is relevant to your research, and look at the subject terms assigned to it.
- URSUS and MaineCat use Library of Congress Subject Headings and each database has their own list of subject headings, so you have to look up subjects in each database independently.
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