Guide to Information Resources, UIUC Geology 380, Environmental Geology
Tools for Finding Articles
Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
Expanded Academic (Infotrac)
Web of Science/Web of Knowledge
(Science Citation Index)
Science Direct (Elsevier Online
Compendex /Engineering Village
National Technical Information
SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts) - You must
Water Resources Abstracts
Other Article Databases - for other disciples
intersecting with geology (examples:
health, life sciences...)
Locations of Many UIUC Print Geology Journals
Scirus - Searches for scholarly articles (most available to you
online) or more scholarly web sites (either, or both; "both" is the default)
Full Text Electronic Journals
Connect to Full Text Electronic Journals in the Geosciences
The Full List of Electronic Journals Available to
Tools for Finding Books and Documents
UIUC Online Library Catalog (Web)
Library Catalogs for other online catalogs
Monthly Catalog (MoCat)
Reports Center - U. Maryland Libraries
National Academies Press
Borrow Material not Owned by UIUC
Get material from one of the other Illinois Libraries
Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Service
A place to start
EPA Envirofacts Data Warehouse
National Library for the Environment (CNIE)
Superfund Query Form
Chemical Scorecard - Environmental Defense Fund
Mineralogical Society of America
Links for Geology 118,
Resources for Earth Science and Geography Instruction -
Mark Francek, CMU
Environmental Links from ChemIndustry.com
MSDS Search - Material Safety Data Sheets
RTKNet - (Right-to-Know)
DOE Information Bridge - Links to full text documents
Style and Writing Guides & Tools
References for Scientific Communication
and Literary Style - from Dr. Steven Altaner, Geology Dept., UIUC
GSA Style Guide
AGU Style Guide
Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science
Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United
States Geological Survey
Online Reference Collection
ChemNet - CRC Handbooks and Reference Material for
EngNet - Chapman & Hall/CRC Handbooks and Reference
Material for Engineering
Glossary of Geology, 4th ed., 1997, edited by Julia A Jackson: In the Geology Reference area
Just for Fun
There are three novels (a trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson on the subject of environmental
issues, set slightly in the future. These are very well researched and highly thought provoking.
They are about Mars, but also about Earth. They should be read in order: Red Mars [Undergrad 813
R5634RE], Green Mars, Blue Mars [Undergrad 813 R5634B]. Robinson has also started another
environmental novel trilogy focusing on global climate change, starting with Forty Signs of Rain
and followed by Fifty Degrees Below.
Steps for Finding Information on Your Topic
Step 1. Select and narrow your topic.
One of the most common mistakes made by college students is the failure to sufficiently narrow
the topic of the paper. For example " Yucca Mountain" might be a good place to start, but needs to
be narrowed. Other topics that need to be narrowed include "
Global Climate Change", "Hanford Site", "Superfund
sites", "Rocky Flats", etc. Another common mistake is to narrow the topic to the point that not
enough material is available. One strategy would be to search "Yucca Mountain", look at the
material available, and then narrow the topic based on ideas gained from the original search.
Step 2. Choose your search terms.
Think of synonyms. You will add to your list as you search and evaluate your search results.
Step 3. Define your search strategy.
Your search strategy will partly depend on the search engine you use. Search engines are not yet
standardized, and each will handle elements such as Boolean operators, truncation, and so forth
differently. Consult the help functions for each search engine to ensure that you obtain the
- Boolean Operators: and, or, not (and not, but not). See
figure. These are used to connect search terms in order
to widen or narrow the search.
- Truncation: *, #, +, !, ?, $, etc. These are used as substitutes for characters within search
terms. (Use with care. For example, rock* would retrieve rock and rocks, but also rockets and
rocker, depending on the database. Examine your results and adjust your search if necessary).
- Nesting: Tells the search engine the order to perform operations by using parentheses
- Phrases: Treated differently by the different search engines. With some search engines phrases
must be enclosed in quotes.
- Adjacency: How close words must be within text. Treated differently by the different search
- Stop words: Common words such as "a", "the", "of" that are not included in a search by the
search engine. Treated differently by the different search engines.
- Fields: Some search engines, such as GeoRef, allow limiting the search to specific fields. For
example, "hydrology in ti de ab" limits the search to the title, descriptor and abstract fields.
This is useful when unwanted hits are resulting from terms in an institutional field or such.
Example of a complex search strategy using Boolean operators, truncation and nesting with
- ground *water and (mining or mines or tailing *) and (hazard * or toxic * or pollut *) and
(model * or simulation )
- ground*water will search both ground water and groundwater.
- hazard* seaches for hazard, hazards, and hazardous.
- toxic* searches for toxic and toxicology.
- pollut* searches for pollution, pollutants, polluting, etc.
- min* would not work because it would search for mineral, minimum, etc., not just mines and
- tailing* searches for singular and plural. chemi* searches for chemical, chemicals,
chemistry...; the same for geochemi*.
- model* searches for model, models, modelling, modelled.
- This search could be conducted in steps. For example:
- First, search: ground*water, resulting in over 163,000 hits.
- Then search: #1 and (mining or mines or tailing *), resulting in over 9600 hits.
- Then search: #2 and (hazard* or toxic* or pollut*), resulting in over 4100 hits.
- Then continue adding (model * or simulation ) , finially ending with over 900 hits, or continue
to narrow the search.
- Searching in sets helps you understand the results. For example, if you end up with zero hits,
there may be a typographical error. You may expand or narrow your search after any step. Searching
with one string of text can be faster, but searching in steps gives more control.
- Example of problems using truncation: rock* (returns rock and rocks, but also rockets, rockers,
Step 4. Choose your database
- Indexes geological information published from 1700's to present; includes government
- Boolean: and, or, not
- Truncation: *
- Nesting: is used
- Fields: "in ti de ab"
- For help in using GeoRef via CSA, try this
, or consult the "help and support" link on the GeoRef search screen.
GeoBase (Engineering Village)
- Indexes the worldwide literature on geography, geology, and ecology
- Truncation, Wildcards, Plurals:
- +: Plural and singular only. Example: rock+
- *: Retrieves root word with all suffixes. Set to read a limit of 50 index entries. Example:
- # or ?: Wildcards. Can be used within a word; # replaces one character and ? replaces several
characters. Example: Colo?r retrieves color and colour.
- Caution: Make sure the correct fields are selected for your complete search (watch the
Compendex Plus/ EI Compendex (Engineering Village)
- Deals with applied science and engineering
- Searching is the same as for Current Contents (above).
U.S. Government Documents (GPO Monthly Catalog; MoCat)
- The Catalog of United States Government Publications indexes print and electronic information
published by Federal agencies. Many of these publications are distributed through the Federal
Depository Library Program. The Catalog via paid subscription contains records from 1976 to
free index contains records generated since
January 1994 and is updated daily. A print index, Monthly Catalog of United States Government
Publications, contains earlier information.
Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey:
Web of Science: (ISI)
Web of Science is the online equivalent of print citation products, such as
Science Citation Index. Citation searching enables one to track lines of research forward
in time by determining citations to older, important articles.
- See the help section while connected to the database. This database is a bit more complicated
than others, and results may be adversely effected by not understanding the system. See the
librarian for help.
- Search operators: and, or, not, same, sent
- Truncation/Wildcards: Single character: ? Multiple characters: *
- Example for cited author search: Altaner s*; Nature; 1988 or 1999
Many other databases are available: Take a look at
Step 5. Conduct your search
Step 6. Evaluate search results, note additional terms and unwanted terms.
Step 7. Refine search and re-do.
Step 8. Find out whether UIUC has the material; if not, use Interlibrary Loan (IRRC)
Please come see me if you need any help. If you'd like to make an appointment, contact me
by phone (333-2676) or e-mail (luraj at illinois dot edu).
Updated 08/02/06 lej
Created 01/14/03 lej
Converted 01/10 hyk