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Searching for references

These are some tips provided by the PSE Engineering Librarian, Bob Heyer-Gray, on searching for papers in the mechanical and aerospace engineering fields at the UC Davis library system on December 11, 2009.

  • Browse through the databases available on the library website to get an idea of what is available.
  • Worldcat is a database of libraries collections from around the world. They didn't use to have articles (only journals, books, and collection titles) but now they are getting them. The site is expanding outside of United States libraries and it is now becoming more global.
  • In Worldcat, Firstsearch may display more information about the item.
  • NTRL and NTIS are good places to find technical reports that were government sponsored in some way.
  • After you find a citation for an item you want make sure to check Harvest to see if UC Davis has the item.
  • If you use UC-elinks to automatically search the Harvest or Melvyl catalogs the search is limited to only one category. It is better to manually search the catalogs via the library website.
  • If you can't find the item in Harvest, Melvyl or UC Davis's database subscriptions then just request it...don't spend time searching anymore. But feel free to add any helpful info for the librarian, like websites that may have the item.
  • Don't be afraid to ask the librarians for anything. Feel free to run references by them at any stage of the search process. That is what they are there for and the like when we get them involved in our searches.
  • There are two options for requesting items: UC-elinks (appears in database and google scholar searches) and the manual request. UC-elinks isn't always faster on the request items, it is better to use the manual form. You can use UC-elinks if you are already in the database, but use the manual form otherwise.
  • If your item is NASA related, UC Davis probably has it or access.
  • Compendex is a broad engineering database and good place to start searching.
  • Web of science is a broad database and another decent place to start.
  • PSE does have ASME stuff. Earlier than 2000 we have print versions. Search in Compendex or the ASME digital library (this doesn't have always full text though).
  • UC-elinks is great for checking if PSE has journal articles.
  • It may be illegal to post a pdf of your own paper online but you may be able to put up a preprint. Check Sherpa Romeo to check what publishers allow in terms of copyright.
  • Any papers we publish in Springer journals are open access from 2008 forward. You may not have to select open access when publishing to Springer journals, it should automaticallly be OA if you are affiliated with UC Davis.
  • Google, Google Scholar and Google Books are great search tools but may not search back in time very deep and you don't know what they are covering, it could be any collection. Make sure to make use of advanced search techniques to home in on what you are looking for. Double quotes (" ") are good for searching titles as exact phrases.
  • If you are looking for new SAE papers try searching Google. Some companies post them randomly. Use so you don't search the website.

  • The full version of Adobe Acrobat will convert a .tif document with OCR'd test to a .pdf document with the selectable text in tact. This is good for microfiche scans.

This lab meeting was a follow up to a more general talk given by Karen Andrews and Bob Heyer-Grayon November 12th, 2009 for the MAE seminar. The following are the notes provided by Karen and Bob from that talk:

MAE Seminar November 12, 2009

More Efficient Searching and Tips & New Tools from the Library

Karen Andrews - - (530) 752-1627 Bob Heyer-Gray - – (530) 752-0348

PSE Department Head MAE Librarian

Things are constantly changing at the library, so come find out about new tools, services, and resources available to UC Davis faculty students and staff...from chat reference to new online handbooks. Also learn a few ways of making better use of some the existing resources you already know about like Compendex or Web of Science.
Have you been saving up questions or problems that you've been wanting to ask about? We'll try to leave plenty of time for you to ask any follow-ups at the end of the presentation.

We look forward to seeing you at the seminar.

Links demonstrated at the Seminar:

PSE Homepage

    Connecting from off campus


    PSE Blog

    RSS feed for Blog

    Access Engineering (McGraw-Hill Handbooks)

    AIAA Papers

    Springer E-Books

    Occasional Surveys

    Chat Widget

    Subject Guides

Library Catalogs


    RSS/New Books

Melvyl (Classic Melvyl) (Next Generation Melvyl)



    RSS Feeds

    Saving Searches/e-mail Alerts

    Managing Your Results

Web of Science

    Save History/Create Alert/RSS

JCR (Journal Citation Reports)

Campus Supported Bibliographic Citation Manager


EndNote Classes

Scholarly Communication Resources

Keep your copyright

Wording to amend the publishing contract to keep your author rights

Identify "good" publishers in terms of keeping your author rights

Publish with the University of California!
Publish a journal or a conference proceeding, manage the paper review process,
ensure open access and digital preservation for the future...all for free!

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