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Writing Your Paper - CECS and Mathematics

What IS a database?

A database is an organized collection of digital resources that’s been made searchable.

It could be grouped based on a topic area (e.g. Environmental Science) or by a type of resource (e.g. streaming films or statistical data). 

This image above represents an article database, showing a database made up of three journals (A,B, and C). All of the articles that have been published in each of those journals can be found in this example database.

So why can't I just Google it??!

Most databases are accessed by subscription only, so while they are all electronically accessed, the resources inside databases may not be available for free via the web. Libraries subscribe on behalf of their users allowing them to access materials that would be found behind a paywall if you got there through Google (or any other search engine).
As an academic library we also (try to) subscribe only to databases that have high quality resources in them. Most of our databases are academic journals or books which have been vetted and peer reviewed.

Why do we have SO MANY databases??

Each database contains different resources. So while there could be some overlap in what is available in various databases, the Mardigian Library intentionally purchases database subscriptions to allow access to the widest selection possible with as little duplication as possible.


How to Search a Database

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 one of these 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.

3. Perform your search.

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:

  • Check the articles for keywords - there might be synonyms for the keywords that you used that will help you find more articles. Keywords are usually found before or after the article's abstract or you may want to skim the article to find other terms that are used to describe the same idea.
  • Use the Boolean Operator "NOT" - if you find too many results that are off topic, you can use the "NOT" operator to weed out sources which contain your search terms but also include a specific word which indicates they are on a different subject.
  • Look through the article's references - you should be able to find citations to older, helpful articles there
  • Search for more articles by the same author(s) - the author(s) probably have published more articles in the field.
  • Sign up for search alerts or table of contents alerts - this is especially helpful if you plan ahead and have a couple of weeks to a couple of months before your project is due. Many databases have these alerts and you may be able to incorporate the latest research into your project. 

Specific Fields

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Journals - AIAA journals present original research about concepts, methods of analysis, technical knowledge, exploratory developments, and new applications spanning the spectrum of aerospace science and technology.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration Technical Reports Server (NTRS) - access to NASA's current and historical technical literature and engineering results. Over 500,000 aerospace-related citations, over 200,000 full-text online documents, and over 500,000 images and videos are available. NTRS content continues to grow as new information is created for or funded by NASA.


Smithsonian Collections Online - Combines the full archive of Smithsonian Magazine and Air & Space Magazine. These magazines present a unique and comprehensive insight into history, science, nature, the arts, innovation, technology, and world culture.

ChiltonLibrary - Provides exclusive photographs, diagnostics designed by instructors, step-by-step repair procedures, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) maintenance schedules, wiring diagrams, recalls, and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) for automobiles and light trucks.


SAE MOBILUS - This resource was previously known as: SAE Digital Library
Full text of every paper contained in the SAE Proceedings, Special Publications, and Transactions since 1906, as well as SAE Standards and E-Books. The digital library covers advancements in all areas of mobility engineering.


Small Engine Repair Reference Center (SERRC) - From off-campus, you will need to log in with your Michigan driver license (or ID).
Offers assistance in providing routine maintenance (tune-ups, brake service) as well as extensive repairs (engine and transmission disassembly) and allows users to search by product type, brand, model/engine type, specific area of model/engine type, and model numbers. 


Wards Intelligence - Offers in-depth automotive industry data including automobile production, inventory, and sales data. Search or browse data reports available under the Data tab. Data are available as downloadable Excel files.

PubMed - A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 16 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1940s.

Nature Journals Online - Leading research papers in all scientific disciplines and provides lay readers who have an interest in science the best possible perspective of the scientific world. In addition to Nature, you can browse or search other Nature titles such as: Nature Biotechnology, Nature Chemistry, Nature Geoscience, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Physics, and Scientific American.



ACerS-NIST Phase Equilibria Diagrams Online - Online source of 23,000 critically evaluated phase diagrams for oxides, salts, carbides, nitrides, borides, compound semiconductors, and chalcogenides. Functionality includes:
• Search commentaries and diagrams by chemical system, published author's last name, volume, language, publication year, and figure number.
• View diagram's chemical system, figure number, figure notes, references, commentary, and footnotes.
• Manipulate diagrams with zoom in/out, lever rule, curve follow, mirror, Mol% to Wt% or Wt% to Mol%, and built-in calculator.


SciFindern - Produced by Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the most comprehensive database for the chemical literature, searchable by topic, author, substances by name or CAS Registry Number, OR use the editor to draw chemical structures, substructures, or reactions. It is a core research tool for chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, physics, environmental science and other science and engineering disciplines.

SpringerMaterials - comprises 400 Landolt-Börnstein volumes, 44,000 chemical safety documents, a subset of the Dortmund Data Bank Software & Separation Technology comprising 300,000 data points, and the Linus Pauling files on inorganic solid phases.



ASM Alloy Center - Search in one easy step across ASM property data, performance charts, and processing guidelines for specific metals and alloys. Includes data sheets and diagrams, an alloy finder, materials property data, coatings data, and corrosion data.

ASM Failure Analysis Center - Over 1,000 case histories along with authoritative handbook information on failure mechanisms and analysis methods. The Failure Analysis Center enables you to find specific information to help you quickly solve your own failure analysis or materials performance issues.

ASM Micrograph Database - The Micrograph Database is a comprehensive collection of micrograph images and associated data especially for industrially important alloys. Information captured for each image includes material designation and composition, processing history, service history, metallographic preparation/technique, magnification, significance of the structures shown, selected materials properties data, and other relevant data.


Material ConneXion Materials Database - Offers access to descriptions of innovative materials and processes. The database is searchable by specific criteria within the categories of processing, sustainability, usage, and physical properties. Manufacturer information is provided.


Material District - As the world’s leading network in the field of innovative materials, MaterialDistrict empowers global innovation by match-making material needs with material solutions. The MaterialDistrict network encourages joint innovation towards a better, more sustainable and higher quality society. 

ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Digital Library
Full-text archive of ACM publications, including journals, magazines, transactions, proceedings, and newsletters, as well as some publications by affiliated organizations.

ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library - Searchable online access to the various journals published by The Electrochemical Society.


IEEE eLearning Library - Note: Requires a free personal account to view videos. The IEEE eLearning Library delivers more than 300 courses in core and emerging technologies that provide students, faculty, and professionals the best educational courses from IEEE conferences and workshops around the world.


IEEE Xplore Digital Library - Full-text access to IEEE transactions, journals, magazines, conference proceedings, standards & online courses, plus related e-books. All current IEEE Standards, the IEEE-Wiley eBooks Library, and VDE VERLAG conference proceedings are also available. 

ASME Digital Collection (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) - ASME conducts one of the largest technical publishing operations in the world, offering thousands of titles including some of the profession's most prestigious journals, conference proceedings, and ASME Press books.

Emerald Insight - Management and engineering journals published by MCB Press. Articles on engineering, management, operations, human resources, training, and other topics.


Faulkner's Advisory for Information Technology Studies - Reports on information technology topics that can be used for tracking technology advancements and trends, strategic planning, competitive analysis, market awareness, implementation support, product and vendor evaluation. The reports are written by researchers, analysts, and technical writers.


Gartner - This database contains a comprehensive body of technology knowledge and is a resource used by thousands of organizations to help decision makers capitalize on information technologies and markets.


AES E-Library - Articles and papers from the Audio Engineering Society from 1953 to present. Includes full-text articles from the peer reviewed Journal of the Audio Engineering Society as well as the society's convention and conference papers.



Optica Publishing Group - Formerly called Optics InfoBase. The journals of the Optical Society of America, plus OSA's major meetings (past and current). It also includes access to OSA's Optics ImageBank, containing more than 200,000 indexed images and figures from OSA journals.


SPIE Digital Library - The most extensive resource available on optics and photonics, providing access to more than 275,000 technical papers from the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers journals and conference proceedings. More than 17,000 new research papers are added annually. Also included is access to SPIE e-books.

Multi-Disciplinary and Reference Databases


Cross-Disciplinary Engineering Databases:

Annual Reviews  - Reviews of the most significant primary research literature to guide you to the principal contributions of the field and help you keep up to date in your area of research.

Applied Science & Technology Source - From off-campus you will need to log in with your Michigan driver license (or ID). Applied science specialties. Leading trade and industrial journals, professional and technical society journals, specialized subject periodicals, buyers' guides, directories, and conference proceedings.


Begell Digital Library - Broad spectrum of engineering and biomedical sciences research. Contains professional peer-reviewed journals, major engineering references, International Centre for Heat & Mass Transfer conference proceedings, e-books, and more.


Not Working---Link Repair in Progress -- China Academic Journals Full-text Database - More than 10,000 academic journals (Most are only available in Chinese) focusing on science, engineering technology, agriculture, philosophy, medicine, humanities, and social sciences.


Engineering Case Studies Online - Wide range of video and text material focusing on engineering failures and successes. Documentaries, accident reports, experiments, visualizations, case studies, lectures, and interviews from leading engineering institutions around the world.


Engineering Village 2 - Information about articles, proceedings, and papers related to engineering and computer science includes citation information. More than 12 million bibliographic citations and indexed abstracts from publications in engineering and science. Searches can also be done on US Patents, CRC Engineering Handbooks, Industry Specs and Standards.



Google Scholar - A Google search of scholarly sources, including articles, books, and papers. Also includes links to who cited articles. Use this link and you'll see UM-Dearborn availability for items and full text when available.


IET Electronic Library (IEL) - The Institution of Engineering and Technology provides access to IET Journals, eBooks, Conference Proceedings, and reference materials as well as case studies in engineering.


National Academies Press - Reports and books from the National Academy Press. NAP provides the full text of reports issued by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.


ProQuest Technology Collection - Global literature on technology and applied science, including materials science, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, condensed matter physics, computer science, and electronic engineering.


ScienceDirect - This resource was previously known as: Elsevier Journals
More than 2,500 journals in science, medicine, and technology. Includes coverage of engineering, economics, business and management, and selected social science titles.


SpringerLink - Topics include: biomedicine, life science, clinical medicine, physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, humanities, and economics.

































Handbooks, Dictionaries, & Encyclopedias:


AccessEngineering - Such renowned resources as Perry's Handbook for Chemical Engineers and Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers. Also includes: powerful search tools, interactive tables and graphs, instructive videos and student study guides, time-saving curriculum guides, and global engineering news.


AccessScience - A science encyclopedia, dictionary, and news source. Includes: McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. 


ASM Handbooks Online - ASM Handbooks Online features the complete content of the ASM Handbook (twenty-five volumes), Aluminum Casting Alloys, Beryllium and Beryllium Alloys, Engineered Materials Handbook Desk Edition, and Metals Handbook Desk Edition.


CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics - Contains frequently used data in science, including the periodical table of the elements, basic constants and units, and geophysical data. Allows search by chemical structure. 


Knovel Engineering & Scientific Online Reference - Scientific and technical reference books from more than 70 leading technical publishers and professional societies including AIAA, AIChE, ASHRAE, ASME, and SAE. Data can be searched, copied, and sorted into interactive tables, or exported to create graphs and charts.

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