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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.
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 energy research. For more databases, check out our Databases A-Z page and select "Environmental Science," "Economics," "Engineering," or some other relevant topic from the drop-down.
Academic Search Complete
Academic Search Complete is a large scholarly, multidisciplinary, full-text database. Updated daily.
ASSIA: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts
ASSIA: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts provides indexing and abstracts for over 500 journals serving the "caring professions": health, social services, psychology, sociology, economics, politics, race relations and education. Coverage dates vary; most titles from 1990s to present. Updated monthly.
Communication and Mass Media Complete
Covers communication and mass media as well as other closely-related fields of study to create a research and reference resource encompassing the breadth of the communication discipline.
Contains more than 1,000 scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. JSTOR's moving wall policy means there is often a gap from 1-5 years between the most recently published issue and the date of the most recent issue available in JSTOR.
Provides access to journals from 100 not-for-profit scholarly publishers. Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.
Covers the international literature of sociology. As well as hundreds of full text scholarly journals, the database also includes over 500 recent full-text doctoral dissertations on sociology.
Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science)
Covers current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 8,500 of the most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world.
Sociology Collection (Includes Sociological Abstracts)
Covers sociology and related disciplines. Comprehensive and international in scope. Covers about 2,600 journals in 30 different languages from 55 different countries. Also includes books, conference papers,and doctoral dissertations.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Environmental Science Librarian