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ENGR 1202 - Introduction to Systems Engineering

Choosing keywords

Think about terms you can use to describe your topic. The words you used in your topic proposal is a good place to get started. Once you've done a few searches and have found an article or two that looks interesting, use the titles, abstracts, and subject headings provided in that article to find new keywords to try.

Try combining different keywords with AND to make a more specific search, like engineering AND workplace, to find articles that have both terms included. You can also broaden your search by using OR between two related words, like personnel OR employee.

To find all variations of a term, you can replace the end of the word with an asterisk. Communica* will bring back communicate, communication, communicators, etc. This technique is called truncation, and you can use it in most databases & the library catalog.

What are databases?

Databases are used to search for articles printed in a range of publications. We subscribe to databases that index everything from scholarly journals to newspapers and popular magazines. 

All databases will include citation information for the articles they index, and most will have abstracts, or short summaries of what the article is about. Some will also include the full text of articles online. If a particular database doesn't have the full text available, you should see a link that says "Get It!". Click this link to see if the library gets that article from another source or in print, or to request a copy from another library.

Multi-search options

You can use the "articles" tab on the search box on our home page to search several databases and the catalog at once. For projects where you only need one type of information this isn't a great choice, but for this assignment it will be very useful. Since all of your topic ideas cover engineering, management, and other similar fields of study, the multi-search tool is a great way of searching databases that cover engineering information as well as business and management topics at the same time.

Searching for books

Searching the library catalog lets you search through all of the books (and government reports, videos, and other things) that Atkins Library owns. Each item we have has a single short record in the catalog--when you do a search, you are looking to see if the keywords you enter appear in the title, author, or subject headings for any of our items. If the word you use isn't in the title, author, or subject heading, the catalog won't find it for you, even if the book is about exactly that topic.

You can also search for books outside of the library collection. I like using Google Books to do this--it will find keywords from the full text of the books scanned into its index, so if your keyword turns up throughout the middle of a chapter (but not in the title) Google Books might be able to find it for you (when the catalog couldn't).

If you find a book you'd like to use that the library doesn't own, you can borrow it from another library using our Interlibrary Loan service (see more info below).

Google Books

Search the Google Books index of scanned books from publishers and research libraries
Google Book Search

CRC Engineering Handbooks

CRC Engineering Handbooks is a collection of books available in full-text online. Search by keyword to find books that discuss your topic, and download PDFs of the chapters you want to read.

Searching for articles

Search a database to find articles on a particular topic. Engineering Village, which searches both Compendex and INSPEC at once, is a good place to start for technical engineering topics. Business Source Complete is the best place to look for articles that focus on management and leadership. Try searching for one or two of your keywords together--Compendex is so large that it is easy to have over 10,000 results from a basic search.

When you have found an article that you'd like to read, if you don't see a link for a PDF or HTML full-text version, use the green Get It button button to check our library's holdings for that article (in Engineering Village you need to click through to the Abstract or Detailed record to see the Get It button). A new page will open up. If it says "Full text available from" and a database name, click that link to get to an online version of the article. If it says that the article is available in the library, write down or print out the citation information, and then click the link to the catalog to get the call number for that journal. If the article is not available, there should be a link that takes you to the Interlibrary Loan request form, where you can have a copy scanned and sent from another library.

Subject Guide

Turabian Style citations

Interlibrary Loan

Books, articles, and other research materials may be borrowed from other libraries' collections using the Interlibrary Loan service. Required textbooks for current courses cannot be requested.

Interlibrary Loan