1. Select which database you want to search.
If you are unsure of where to start the Mardigian Search box on the library homepage is a federated search which can look inside many of the databases and journals we subscribe to and can help you to see which resources are returning useful results. You can then dig deeper into those promising resources to get the most targeted and useful sources for your particular need. This page organizes the databases that would be most useful to people researching in the fields of engineering, computer science, and mathematics by topic and format.
2. Select your search terms and decide which connectors you will need between your terms.
Follow the procedure outlined in the linked pdf to find a good starting point for your search. Remember that your search will necessarily evolve as you narrow in on the best search terms to fit your precise information need.
4. Use the filters available in the database to limit the results and to begin evaluation.
Once you have found the search terms that return the most helpful results you will need to use the filters built into each database to narrow your results to only the most relevant and highest quality. The filters are different between each database you will encounter but some of the commonalities and tips on which are most useful are listed in the linked document above.
5. Analyze your results. Did you find what you needed?
If you didn't find anything useful, try looking in a different database or go back to the library homepage and start with a search in the Mardigian Search box to get ideas where to look more in-depth.
If you found some results but you need more or need to fine tune your results, look at the highest quality results and:
Articles - If you are looking for a quick read, breaking information on a very current topic, or some very specific information, an article from a journal (also called a periodical, or a serial, or a magazine) is likely the resource for you.
Citations and indexes - If you are doing in-depth research on a topic and you want to ensure that you find a large amount of the information that is extant, indexes, abstracts, and citation databases may helpful. These will help you find that certain material exists and will help us gain access to it for you, but will usually not link you directly to it. If you find a citation you want to read in full, visit our Interlibrary Loan Guide for directions on obtaining a copy. These requests have to be processed individually by several participants and will take several days or weeks to be fulfilled so they are not useful for research that requires fast turnaround.
Conference Proceedings - Conference proceedings are published in conjunction with a one-time or a recurring meeting focused on a particular discipline. Serves as a forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research and are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. These are most often found in academic journal databases along side other academic articles or on the webpage of the specific professional organization who hosted the conference.
eBooks - For an in-depth and comprehensive exploration on a topic a book may be the best choice. eBooks are identical in content to the print version of the same title and ISBN (International Standard Book Number, often found as the barcode on the back cover.) However, sometimes the images, tables and figures may not be formatted correctly or appear as aesthetically pleasing as in the print version. The eBooks available to you through the Mardigian Library are immediately accessible from your computer and most are able to be read by multiple users simultaneously. Often they allow downloading of a certain number of pages and by creating a personal account you can often mark them up online and save your personal notations.
Standards are a set of technical definitions and guidelines. A set of "how to" instructions for designers, manufacturers, and users. Standards promote safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency in almost every industry. Standards can run from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages, and are written by experts with knowledge and expertise in a particular field. There are many standards created by many governing bodies, licensing agencies, and accreditors. To see more detailed information on what standards are and how to use them follow THIS LINK. If you are ready to look for the standard that fits your present need click on the "Standards" tab in the box below.
Technical Reports - describe the process, progress, or result of ongoing research into a technical problem; may include recommendations for further study or offer conclusions; usually written by a researcher and often not peer reviewed outside the authors' organization.
Video Databases - These databases contain visual files and can deliver content which may be easier to understand by seeing it. Where eBooks sometimes fall short on the visual elements, video databases can allow you to witness "first hand" things you may ever get to see in person due to safety, temporal, or distance related reasons. These can be especially helpful when you want to see a system in action or when you are looking for easy to follow direction on performing a specific task.
White Papers - Written by industry practitioners or product or service vendors, "white papers" argue the benefits of a specific technology, product, or method for solving a specific problem; present research findings or give a list of tips for solving an issue; or highlight a product or service from a particular vendor.
For more information and resources on Computer Information Science (CIS), see the Computer Information Science (CIS) and Computer Engineering (CE) Resources subject guide.
For more information and resources on Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), see the Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Resources subject guide.