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Getting Started With Engineering Information: What Am I Looking For?

Information seeking is about more than sources. It is a process. This LibGuide will help you get started on that process.

Figuring Out Citations

In order to track down a citation, whether from a list of library database results, a bibliography you found on the web or in a journal, it’s helpful to know the identifying features of different types of publications, as well as where they can be found. 


Journals - Probably the most prevalent types of citation

Representative Example:

J. Li, G. Ananthasuresh, J. Micromech. Microeng. 11(1) (2001) 38-47.

Identifying Features:  Author(s), followed by Journal Title (or Abbreviation), then Volume Number (sometimes issue number) Year, and finally page number.

Found:  The first place to look for journals is the UToledo Library Catalog, searching by TITLE.  However, you need to use the full title, not the abbreviation.  If you don’t know the full title, you can sometimes find it if you:

  • Do a KEYWORD search in UToledo Library Catalog based on the abbreviation
    t:micromech** AND t:microeng**  and MATERIAL TYPE = PERIODICAL/SER
  • Search the OhioLINK Central catalog for the abbreviation
  • Or use the book Periodical Title Abbreviations located in Carlson at the Ciculation Desk.

The UToledo Library Catalog lists titles that we subscribe to either in print or as electronic journals.  If we do not subscribe to a journal, you can use the Interlibrary Loan web form to order a photocopy from another library… it can take up to two weeks to arrive, but it is a free service.


Books and Book Chapters

Representative Example:

K. Okuyama, “Sintering”, in: K. Linoya, K. Gotoh, K. Giashitami (eds.) Powder Technology Handbook, 2nd ed., Marcel Dekker Inc. New York, 1997, 193.

Identifying Features: Author, “Chapter Title” in: Editors, Book title, Publisher, Place of Publication, Year, Page.

Found:  To find a book, you first should identify the book title (usually it comes right before the publisher’s name) and then you can do a TITLE search in the UToledo Library Catalog.  If there are multiple entries, you should narrow it down by the book author or editor’s name, the edition, or the year.  If you do not find your book in the UToledo Library Catalog, click on Search OhioLINK and it will look for the book at any college or university in Ohio.  As long as there is a copy available to be checked out, they can send it to you in 3-5 days, just click on REQUEST THIS ITEM and follow the instructions.


Conference Papers and Proceedings

Representative Example:

M. Egashira, SPIE Proceedings 3673 (1999) 141-151.

A. Kanarachos, A new approach of the fem analysis of two-dimensional elastic structures using global (Coons’s) interpolation functions, ECCM ’99.

N. Osakabe, M. Kurosawa, Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, Heidelberg, 1998.

Identifying Features:  Varied.  Look for the words: Proceedings, Congress, Meeting, Symposium, etc.  Also, look for acronyms with dates attached (like ECCM’99), or names of cities with dates attached.

Found:  Proceedings and conference papers are often more difficult to locate, simply because they come out irregularly and libraries do not tend to subscribe to them like they do for journals.  So a library may only have one year of a proceedings, not the whole set.  The various ways that a conference paper might be cited means that it is often impossible to just look for them by TITLE.  A more effective strategy is one of the following.

  • Search by KEYWORD for words from the conference name and city (if known) along with the word ‘congresses’

Micro electro mechanical AND Heidelberg AND congresses

  • If you don’t find it in the UToledo Library Catalog, search in OhioLINK Central Catalog
  • If you still aren’t finding it, try dropping the city name, and look for a proceedings from the same series
  • Click on the title of a similar proceedings, and you may be able to click on ‘Conference’ or ‘Author’ near the top of the record to look for others in the same series.
  • Proceedings can usually be REQUESTED from OhioLINK just like books, above.  Be sure to request the right volume of multivolume proceedings (or request them all if you aren’t sure which volume your paper is in.)

If you still cannot find your conference, it may not be owned by any OhioLINK library.  Contact a reference librarian to help you order the paper through Interlibrary Loan.  Also, some conferences never issue printed proceedings, and your citation may be to an oral presentation or poster session at a meeting.  These will not be able to be found in any library.



Representative Example:

Fournier, Ronald L.; Sarver, Jeffrey G.  Immunoprotective membrane for medical uses.    PCT Int. Appl.  (1997),  WO  9717129  A1  19970515 

Ashtiani, Cyrus N; Stuart, Thomas A. Circulating Current Battery Heater.  (2001) US 6,259,229.

Identifying Features: Varied.  Usually Inventor, Patent title, and Patent number codes.  Look for US (United States) WO (World Intellectual Property Organization), or other two letter codes before a number.

Found:  Patents, especially those from the United States, Europe, and Japan, can be found on the web and viewed or downloaded for free.  Older United States patents (before 1976) can be obtained from the Toledo Lucas County Public Library in downtown Toledo.  When you download electronic copies of patents, it is useful to have some supplementary software on your computer, especially a .TIFF viewer and software to compile the images.

 There is also a LibGuide for Patents that provides more information on patent searching and sources for patent information.






Representative Example:

International Organization for Standardization, 5660: Part I: Heat release rate from building products (Cone Calorimeter Method.) 32 p. (1993)

American Society for Testing and Materials, E 1590-95a: Standard test method for fire testing of real scale mattresses.  Annual Book of ASTM Standards, 04.07, pp. 1381-1400, (1997).

Identifying Features: Standards Organization, Standard Number: Name, sometime printed source, Year.

Found:  See the Engineering Standards LibGuide for a list of sources of standards. The UToledo and OhioLINK catalogs may be helpful, as well as the Interlibrary Loan service. You may also contact the Engineering Librarian for help.





Dissertations and Theses

Representative Example:

K. Ramaswami, Process planning for shape deposition manufacturing, PhD Thesis, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, 1997.

Identifying Features:    Author, Dissertation Title, University, Year.  Often will say ‘Thesis’ or ‘Dissertation’.

Found:  UToledo typically does not have dissertations other than the publications of our own graduate students, which are shelved by year and last name on the fifth floor of Carlson Library.  Dissertations from other Ohio universities can usually be requested from OhioLINK. Some OhioLINK (including UToledo) theses and dissertations are available in PDF form at OhioLINK ETD Center.   To get a dissertation from a non-Ohio school, you will have to use the Interlibrary Loan form (for books) and we can usually obtain the dissertation from the original school for you to borrow for a limited time.  Abstracts of dissertations and PDFs of recent UToledo dissertations can be found at ProQuest.