Database Search Tips

Universal search tips for most databases:

Use AND  to combine terms representing the different concepts of your topicThis will only retrieve items that contain both terms and narrow your results: Columbia Plateau AND Aquifer.

Use OR to combine terms that describe the same concept or that are synonymous in nature. This will retrieve items that contain either term and expand your results: Hydrogeology OR Groundwater.

Limit your search to subject headings or descriptors to make the results more precise.

Add * to the root of a word to retrieve different spelling variations: stratigraph* gets stratigraphy or stratigraphic.

Use "" to search terms as an exact phrase: "Long Island".

Tips for searching GeoRef:

While viewing your results in GeoRef, use the Narrow results by . . . feature on your left.  

Limit results to Peer Reviewed publications; this will only retrieve peer reviewed journal articles.

If you limit Source Type to Scholarly Journals instead of limiting to Peer Reviewed, you will retrieve journal articles, field trip guidebooks, and USGS publications. 

Exclude the Document type Abstract Only to avoid retrieving items that only provide abstracts (choose More options . . ). 

The journal literature is the main forum by which research is published and the primary way that researchers share their work with the rest of the scientific community.

Find Journal Articles - Key Databases

In addition to the library's main search engine on the home page, the following more specialized databases are good places to search the geoscience literature.

Google Scholar can also be used to find cited references for scholarly literature. Simply click on the "Cited by" link for any given item in your results list.

Find Journal Articles - Multidisciplinary Databases


Geology Librarian

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Deborah Bauder
Penfield Library

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