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Cool Tools, Reference, Uncategorized

Resources for after you graduate

When you graduate Western Michigan University, you will lose access to our online engineering databases and journals. However, there is a wealth of free engineering resources that you can use for searching for journal articles or getting background information.  Here are some of the key sites I’ve found over the last 10 years of being a science librarian.  If you have others, send them to me and I’ll post additional lists.

Google Scholar
If you need to search for the scholarly literature in engineering or computer science, this is a great FREE place to start. Google has indexed many scholarly society and publisher collections (including Springer and Elsevier), plus many technical report collections. The advanced search page enables you to search by author, publication and date. You can even include patents in your search. Or you can just use the main Google box.

Google Books
Not only are most old books (out of copyright) available for full download in PDF format, but many recent books are available for brief previewing. You can use this nifty search tool to skim through a few pages of many engineering related titles, and sometimes, that’s all you need.

Google Patents
Quick easy one box keyword search and download (in PDF format) for U.S. patents.

This search database was designed by IEEE and indexes content from many scholarly engineering societies including IEEE itself, as well as the following (among others):
Acoustical Society of America
American Institute of Physics
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Institute of Physics
Optical Society of America

Plus a number of government technical sites. The crisp clean interface is another plus, whether you are using the Google-like simple search page or the advanced search page.

Energy Citations Database
This U.S. Department of Energy database provides access to over 2.6 million document citations, from technical reports to government funded research articles, and even some scholarly materials. A portion of this stuff is freely available in PDF format. Well worth using if you work in the energy fields.

ASTM Standards
The ASTM standards site will not give you free access to the standards but it provides a great keyword search box for locating which standards you need for specific purposes. Plus you can also browse by subject area or via the alphanumeric index. In addition, ASTM is very good at telling you which standards are out of date or have been revised.

Wikipedia Engineering Site
Lacking any other general engineering reference on the web, the Wikipedia site will do for some engineering basics, and for a decent overview of engineering.

Wolfram MathWorld
Stunning mathematical reference site. Also linked from Eric Weisstein’s World of Science (see below).

World of Science (Eric Weisstein)
This general online encyclopedia of science and mathematics covers astronomy, bios of famous scientists, chemistry, mathematics and physics. The entries are well written (better than much of Wikipedia), extensively referenced, and of a very high quality.


About Ed Eckel

I am a engineering and applied sciences librarian at Western Michigan University.


2 thoughts on “Resources for after you graduate

  1. Ed,

    I’m glad to see that you included Scitopia.org a site that my company Deep Web Technologies has developed.

    Other great sites that we have developed that provide access to scientific information for your graduating students include: Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org and ScienceResearch.com

    Posted by Abe Lederman | October 15, 2010, 11:17 am
    • Thanks for reminding me of those Mr. Lederman. I will do another post on other useful resources for graduating students at some point, and include those links as well. Then I’ll probably do a “best of” closer to May for people soon to be graduating.

      Congratulations on your company’s work. I do really like what you’ve done. It is a great service to engineers and scientists outside the academic world, who lack access to university funded resources.

      Posted by Ed Eckel | October 15, 2010, 4:10 pm

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