FIG Running on Empty
FIG: Running on Empty - Library Resources
- Your contact librarian: Victoria Mitchell
- 14 Onyx Bridge
- T: (541) 346.3076
Reference books can be really useful for doing background reading on a subject. Most subject encyclopedia articles have bibliographies at the end for further reading, including journal articles. Reference books are also a good place to find facts, statistics, etc. Be sure to look in the index, usually located at the end of the last volume.
Berinstein, Paula. Alternative Energy: Facts, Statistics, Issues. SCI REF TJ808 .B467 2001
Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences (5 vols.) SCI REF QC854 .E522 2003
Encyclopedia of Global Change (2 vols.) SCI REF GE149 .E47 2002 Also online
Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change (5 vols.) SCI REF GE149 .E443 2002
Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences (Online only)
Environmental Encyclopedia SCI REF GE19 .E38 2003 Also online
Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy.(3 vols) SCI REF TJ163.28 .M33 2001
Water: Science and Issues. (4 vols.) SCI REF GB655 .D37 2003 Also online
Here are some Library Subject Headings that may be helpful:
- Climatic changes [this will retrieve way too much; see below on tips for limiting]
- Global warming
- Greenhouse Effect, Atmospheric
- Greenhouse gases
- Marine ecology
- Ocean-atmosphere interaction
- Ocean circulation
- -- Environmental aspects as a sub-heading, e.g.:
- Carbon dioxide -- environmental aspects
- Methane -- environmental aspects
The above are just a sampling; there is much more. You can also try a keyword search. For example:
ocean AND carbon<-- the "and" is in upper case just to show that it is a "Boolean operator": telling the computer to search for both terms in the same catalog record, but not necessarily as a phrase. All the book records retrieved by this search will have something to do with the planet Mars and life. The Advanced Search page will give you many more tips on keyword searching.
How to Limit
Say you searched the subject heading "Climatic changes", which gives you over 1000 books -- that's WAY too much. Click the "Limit/Sort" button at the top of the screen. There are a number of options: You could limit to Location : Science and Year of publication: after 1996, for books published in the last 10 years. That narrows it down to under 150 -- a much more reasonable list to browse through.
If your research is going to take you into more specialized areas, I recommend going to OneSearch Advanced Search, and selecting from among the categories and subcategories. The categories most likely to be useful for your topics are Environmental Studies, and possibly Biology -- subcategory: Ecology and Evolution. The Physics category may also be useful.
You can then either search the combined databases via OneSearch, or select an individual database to search from among those listed (by clicking on the database name.)
A very good, interdisciplinary science journal article database, that covers mostly peer-reviewed journals is
In addition to being able to search by topical keywords, author, etc., Web of Science has the special feature of showing you who has cited an article, and how many times it has been cited. This is useful in a couple of ways: it can lead you to more recent articles on the same topic, and it gives an indication of how influential an article or author has been on other researchers.
Academic Search Premier is good for its mix of scholarly and popular articles. Here you can find easier to read articles in magazines such as Scientific American and New Scientist, as well as news articles.
See the following library guide for getting the most out of web searching:
Searching the Web
and the sites below for how to evaluate sources for reliability.
Evaluation of Sources
Start with this excellent web page "Critical Evaluation of Information Sources", created by UO librarian Ted Smith. It can be applied to both printed sources (books, articles) and web sites.
Different types of periodicals
You can make certain assumptions about the credibility and reliability of information based on the publication. The most reliable sources are those which are considered "scholarly" and are usually peer-reviewed. How do you know if a periodical is scholarly?
- This guide can help you distinguish between scholarly and not: Scholarly or Popular?
- See also this handy, printable sheet (pdf) that shows and describes the whole range of periodicals, from scholarly journals to tabloids: Types of Periodicals
For evaluation just of web sites, I recommend the following:
- This is a nice little tutorial-type site from Ohio State, very easy to use.
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly, Or, Why it's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources
- From New Mexico State University. See particularly "Criteria" and "Examples".
"Peer reviewed" is often used interchangeably with "refereed" (See "Refereed", below.) Peer review is the process of review by qualified outsiders known as "peers": that is, they are experts in the same field, who identify manuscripts, proposals, grants and other works that worthy of publication. In the peer review process, authors submit their work to scholarly (including scientific) academic journals, who in turn, send manuscripts an editorial board or similar group of peers to determine the article's acceptability, validity, reproducibility of results, grammar and scholarly use of theory. Authors may then be asked to edit or revise before their work is accepted for publication.
- For more information, see this excellent pdf guide on peer review, and why it is particularly important in the sciences.
- Also, this Wikipedia article on peer review is actually quite good --at least when I looked at it. You cannot always rely on Wikipedia as it can be edited by just about anyone, at any time. For a humorous demonstration of this phenomenon, watch this excerpt of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central (looks like you have to sit through a brief commercial first, though.)
Refereed-- A publication that has been peer reviewed This involves external assessment by at least one independent reviewer. In the case of a journal article or conference publication, the independent reviewer (or referee) cannot be a member of the editorial board. See also Peer reviewed.