Explore engineering articles, patents, standards, and other information.


Save your time! Use these search techniques:
  • Put quotation marks around PHRASES (two or more words), so that the words are searched together
    --- Example: "chicken pox"
  • Put an asterisk at the end of words, so that you get all of the word endings
    --- Example: high* = high, highs, higher, highest
  • Think of alternate spellings or synonyms
    --- "cyber security" OR cybersecurity -- it's used both ways. You should also add "information security" OR "computer security"
  • Start by putting your search words in the Title. If you get nothing, you can take them out of the Title and move them to "Anywhere."

Library Catalog -- Books

Search the library catalog for books about the general topic. Always refine your searches by date, format, or other characteristic.

For example:

  • "solar cells" -- This phrase is in the TITLE, and this search is limited to FORMAT of "book" and "online," from 2015+
  • biodiesel technologies -- These two words are also in the TITLE, with the same limits as above. (But there are NO quotation marks around these words, because this is not a phrase, and we don't care whether these words appear together or not.)


Access Engineering

Be patient and try different approaches, such as:

  • Put your phrase into the search box on top, then use Subject (on left) to narrow your results
  • Remember to search phrases (words that you want to appear together) with quotation marks
  • Add more words to the search box, which will search *within* the results you have

Use journal articles to get:
  • a narrow or specific part of your topic
  • up-to-date information

To find databases about ALL topics, go the library home page --> Articles & Databases --> BROWSE ALL DATABASES

  • To choose a specific database by its name, use the search box


  • To see what is in a database, click "More Info" next to its name:






Citing Your Sources
  • You are using IEEE style
  • Your paper guidelines tell you exactly what you will need for each kind of source, and where to find it in the most recent IEEE style guide (2018)  (Here is a short version of the main points [May 2019].)
  • For sources that are NOT articles or books, do not panic! Just look at the IEEE guide's Table of Contents. If you're not sure what kind of source you have, please send me a note! (


Organizing Your Sources
  • On this guide is information about using a citation manager, or a matrix, or both (or whatever you want) to keep track of the sources that you use
  • Citation managers let you export citations FROM databases INTO the manager -- you can put them into separate folders, and create a bibliography in whatever style you want.
    (Start using a citation manager as soon as possible! You'll need it forever.)

  • RefWorks is the citation manager that is supported by JHU
Writing Help

Plagiarism -- It is extremely important to make sure that your writing does not use someone else's work without properly acknowledging it. Even "paraphrasing" (putting someone else's writing into your own words) must be done in a very careful way.

  • These tutorials will help you learn the basics of avoiding plagiarism. You will always need to know this, not only during your academic career, but throughout your professional career, too.

Here are the instructions to get to these tutorials.


NOTE: If you are using a trade name as a search term, you may not find much in these databases.
To search trade names, use the business databases and other sources listed in the tab "Business and News."

Library Home Page --> Guides by Topic --> Engineering
  • This guide's Online Resources page lists databases with articles from scholarly journals, trade journals, and other sources.
  • To find out what's in a database, click the little dot at the end of its name
1. START with Compendex -- This is the biggest, best database for articles and conference papers in *all* engineering fields.
  • "Add search field" means "add another row"
  • Check the date! This database goes back to 1884!
  • Put words in the title, or somewhere else, or mix them up

2. SCOPUS -- Broad science/engineering/medicine database with scholarly articles and more
  • The "+" on the end of the row means "add another row"
  • You must click on LIMIT for everything under it to show
  • Fix the date!

3. Academic Search Ultimate -- Broad coverage of all fields
4. Government sites -- U.S. Energy Information Administration, and U.S. Department of Energy (not a great search engine)

---- HINT:  Use this Google trick to find U.S. government info:  to your search terms, add . (This also sometimes gets information from U.S. states.)

1. Science news:  General Science Full-text includes articles from scholarly and trade publications, including Science, Nature, and the New York Times

2. Business news:  ABI/INFORM includes news about new products and other business-related topics

3. Regular news: Guides by Topic --> News and Newspapers -- The sources under "Core" are current U.S. newspapers

1) START --> U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) -- take your time and explore.

  • Try "Sources and Uses; each category has a "data" tab

2) Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) -- They have many different kinds of information; for example, here's their HydroSource Program

3) CQ Researcher -- Browse topics or reports (which includes pro/con statements). Use this database for background information and references. (Always check the date!)

4) GIS Maps -- At EIA's Layer Information for Interactive State Maps are datasets. A "shapefile" is one layer in a geospatial map. For example, you can start with a map of U.S., then put on shapefile of all the locations of nuclear plants.

  • If you want to use ArcGIS, go to the research guide for GIS and Maps and tell them what you want to do

5) Data Planet -- Department of Energy data that you can export. Try browsing by subject and look at "Energy Resources and Demand" or use the search box. They also have "State Energy Data System" (SEDS).

6) Statista -- Easy to search, a lot of industry data, includes studies and reports, and you can export the data

7) DAAC ("distributed active archive centers") -- Many U.S. government agencies and national labs have one of these, and they have data. (Note: they are mostly science- and climate-related.)

  • For a list, go to the "Get Data" page of Oak Ridge National Lab site’s DAAC
  • At NASA's DAACs, some of the “themes” or “NASA projects” may provide background information for one or all of the components of the project (such as history or geographical distribution)
  • Find other DAACs by searching for   daac  [a few search words]

How are two ways to find out about the history of your technology.

Review Articles: 

  • In your Compendex searches, add the word "review" to the TITLE 


Patents For CURRENT patents, look at this guide's Patents page, for many screen shots and other information that will help you.

The easiest patent database to use is Derwent Innovations Index -- there's a lot of information about this database on the Patents page.
(For more patents help, contact Jim Gillispie at

  • Try some search words until you get results that look relevant. Be patient and don't forget to try singulars *and* plurals
  • The default is "latest date, so look at the last patent on the last page, which will be the earliest in that search
  • Choose "ORIGINAL" to see the real patent
  • This isn't perfect a perfect way of determining the earliest use of your technology, but it will give you a general idea, as well as descriptions and drawings of various designs of it