FIG - Plastics the Environment
FIG - Plastics & the Environment
This page should help you with your library research assignment. Feel free to contact me with questions. You may also want to try the UO Libraries LibX Toolbar for your browser!
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Find an article here:
Other specific databases to try:
Academic Search Premier
- Good for its mix of popular, news and scholarly articles. You have to exercise your critical evaluation skills to help determine what's what. (Do NOT rely solely on their 'limit to peer-reviewed' feature--it is not reliable.)
- Produced by the National Agricultural Library, this database includes articles on starch, vegetable oil, and biomass derived plastics; as well as biodegradability.
- This is *the* search engine and databases for chemistry. The link above takes you to a place for downloading the special client software that you need. It is also loaded on computers in the Science Library (from the start menu on the PCs, go to Programs). Only 2 UO users can be searching SciFinder at the same time. You will want to use this for looking up your polymer, but Web of Science or other databases should do you fine for finding articles.
- Interdisciplinary science database, a heavily-used source for science literature. Highly recommended.
- Google for academics. This is a good place to look for life cycle assessments (LCAs), because these often are not published in journals, but as special reports, which Google can find if they're on the Web. Tip for LCA searching: You'll do better to search for each LCA separately, e.g. one search for cotton, one for plastic. LCAs usually just assess one thing; you need to do the comparison yourself.
Breaking environmental science news
How to read a scientific journal article
(located in the Science Library)
Campo, E. Alfredo. Industrial Polymers. SCI REF QD388 .C36 2008
- A good source of information on the general properties and uses of common industrial plastics.
Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology, 3rd ed. SCI REF TP1110 .E53 2003 (8 vols.)
Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers. Sci RESERVE TP1180 .B55 H363 2005
- Jam-packed with info, including a chapter of LCA data on various polymers.
Physical Properties of Polymers Handbook, 2nd ed. SCI REF TA455 .P58 P475 2007
- See particularly Part IX "Responses to Radiation, Heat, and Chemical Agents" for photo-, bio-, etc., degradability.
(must be on campus, or an authorized UO user if off campus, to access)
- You can search the whole collection, or see particularly: Chemistry: Foundations & Applications and the Environmental Encyclopedia.
- Contains many dictionaries, scientific and otherwise.
- A collection of databases from the National Library of Medicine on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. Here you can search a particular chemical and get information on its human toxicity and environmental fate, household products information, and more.
Compare the above reference sources with:
- Do the articles have identified authors? Are the authors' credentials and affiliations available? Do the articles have references or bibliographies? If so, are there differences in the kinds of references given?
- Wikipedia is a very handy, free Internet source, but it is not necessarily reliable. For a humorous demonstration of this phenomenon, watch this excerpt of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. (Some improvements have been made to Wikipedia since this segment aired.)
This web page contains a wealth of information on evaluating information sources both in print and on the Web: Critical Evaluation of Information Sources
To determine whether a particular periodical (magazine, journal) is scholarly (peer-reviewed, refereed) or popular, see these pages:
What is "peer-review"?
Here are a couple of pdfs that provide good explanations of what it is (and is not), and why it's particularly important in the sciences:
(NB: both of the above are produced in the UK, so there are a few Britishisms that may not make sense)