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Key Resources in Environmental Science
These resources contain basic overview information that can be useful when you're just beginning your research.
Gale Virtual Reference Library This link opens in a new window
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 This link opens in a new window
Many entries from Oxford reference books in all subject areas.
You can also search URSUS for environmental science-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.
Below are just a few of our databases useful for environmental science research. For more databases with environmental sciences content, check out our Databases A-Z page and select "Environmental Science" from the drop-down.
Agricola This link opens in a new window
Includes journal articles, books, series, and materials in many non-print formats on agricultural and nutritional related topics from U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Library. 1970-present.
Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts:ASFA This link opens in a new window
Index to journal articles, conference papers, books, monographs, theses, technical reports, and non-conventional literature covering all aspects of marine, brackish, and freshwater environments. International in scope.
Environment Complete This link opens in a new window
Contains full text for more than 400 journals, including many of the most-used journals in the discipline. It also has full text for more than 100 books.
GreenFILE This link opens in a new window
Information on all aspects of human impact to the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done at each level to minimize these effects.
Oceanic Abstracts This link opens in a new window
Contains journals, conference proceedings, books, and reports covering oceanic environments. Coverage: 1981-present.
Web of Science Core Collection This link opens in a new window
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.
Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
Information on invasive species, forest health, natural resource and agricultural management. Includes the Invasive Plant Atlas.
Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB)
HSDB is a toxicology database that focuses on the toxicology of potentially hazardous chemicals. It provides information on human exposure, industrial hygiene, emergency handling procedures, environmental fate, regulatory requirements, nanomaterials, and related areas
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
International body for assessing the science related to climate change. Provides policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Lists conservation status of every species.
Information about pollution problems and toxic chemicals in any locality (enter your zip code to try it out!)
A wealth of environmental information can be found in the reports and publications of government agencies. Visit the sites below to search for publications. You can search across many government agencies in one place with MetaLib.
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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Frequently Asked Questions
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