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Engineering: Home


This guide is a broad subject guide for Engineering. This guide is designed to be a central resource for graduate and undergraduate engineering students. From this guide, you should be able to navigate to the most important online resources that the library has available plus free online resources that are often used in engineering. If there's a resource you're looking for that's not here, you can find it on the library's website.


Please contact me at if there's a resource you believe belongs on this guide or that you want PVAMU to acquire. As a collection development librarian for the engineering and computer science departments, I can purchase resources that advance student learning. Also remember to request an IR course for a presentation on library resources for your course.


Mathematics Resources

Databases below are some of the most popular and widely revered in the field of engineering. If you're doing research for an engineering project and can't find the full-text you're looking for through the main library search on the library's front page, try refining your search by querying within these databases. Please also note that the library front page search doesn't have all our full-texts, just full-texts supplied by EBSCOHost. You can find more full-texts by searching within these databases.

PVAMU's Library Catalog is where you go to find physical resources. It is organized by the Library of Congress classification system. For engineering resources, the call number typically starts with T. It's useful to know this for both the online querying of our catalog and for in-person searching. As a collection development librarian, I often search by LC classification to find new resources to buy.

       If there's a resource that you're looking for that we don't have, make sure to send in an Interlibrary Loan request and we can obtain the resource from another academic library. To go file a request, go to the catalog from the PVAMU library website and then click Interlibrary Loan under the collection selector. Remember to apply a search strategy (look under Query Tips within Mathematics Resources) unless you know the resource that you're looking for.


Building a Search Strategy

       Building a search strategy starts with an understanding of Boolean logic in the context of querying. The most important aspect to understand is the difference between AND and OR statements. Joining two words or phrases with an AND statement will make it so that both segments must be in the resource that you're looking for. Joining two words or phrases with an OR statement will make it so that either segment can be present to pull a result from the query. For example, the statement "linear maps" AND "modeling" will need both of those statements present for the query to pull the result. An OR statement would be satisfied by either of those phrases.

       Now with an understanding of Boolean statements, we can talk about a search strategy. Searches are simple processes. By default, a simple keyword search will typically scan potential resource's metadata and full-text for a match. However, a search has no concept of the meaning of your words. This is why a combination of AND and OR statements is the best way to make the query more complex, thus retrieving more accurate results. I recommend opening a simple .txt file and typing in your initial key-word search. For an example, let's start with the search phrase "linear algebra mapping comparing the waveforms and energy spectrum of musical instruments playing the same note." 1) Separate this phrase into multiple smaller phrases and take out the unnecessary words for the search. Your end result should look something like "linear algebra" "linear mapping" "comparing" "waveforms" "energy spectrum" "musical instruments" "same note." 2) Now that we've separated our phrases, we can begin the part of the search strategy that will make this search a lot more robust, which is to find as much synonyms for each respective phrase as possible. 3) Finally, take your synonyms and pair them with each phrase respectively using OR statements. Then, match up your OR statements with ANDs. This will result in a query where the results will match up more to the meaning of your words than a simple scan of text and metadata. Here's what the end-result will look like in your text file (carriage returns unnecessary for logic but good for readability):

"linear algebra OR linear mapping OR linear map OR linear transformation OR linear function" AND
"comparing OR analyzing OR analysis OR differentiate OR examination OR study OR contrast or juxtaposition" AND
"waveforms OR sound wave OR acoustic wave OR sound propagation OR frequency OR wavelength OR resonance" AND
"energy spectrum OR energy spectra OR particle energies OR heterogeneous beam" AND
"musical instruments OR instrument OR instruments OR wind instruments OR brass instruments" AND
"same note OR identical note OR matching note OR identical note"

       Now you're done with the hard part. After you've pasted your text file into the fields and you've submitted your query, you should see more results than is reasonable to sift through entirely. I would recommend using the filters (typically located on the left side of the page as a column) to refine your search even more until you have at-most 100 results. These filters often include (but not always and aren't limited to): full-text availability, peer-reviewed, media type, subject and publication date. In my experience, this is the best way to get a high-density of relevant resources.

Locate Full-Text

       Locating full-text can sometimes be confusing because not every database has functions that allow you to filter through full-texts. However, no matter what database you're querying, you should use the PVAMU search to see if we have the book supplied by EBSCOHost. For example, let's use the ebook titled Linear Algebra: Concepts and Applications. If you can't access this link, please go to the Library Information tab located at the top of this subject guide and scroll down to the Off Campus Accession section. Let's say that we found this book in a database that we only partially own, so we need to make sure that the full-text is available for PVAMU students. From the PVAMU Library website, click on "Advanced Search" located under the search bar. If only that version of the book is acceptable, copy the ISBN (the unique key given to all online resources) and paste it into the advanced search. Then in the "Select a Field" option, select IB ISBN, then click search. After your search, you can go to the Refine Results column on the left of the page and then check the "Full Text" option. If your resource is in the Search Results, then we own the full-text. If the desired resource doesn't show up in your Search Results, I would recommend going back to the metadata page for the resource (that I linked earlier) and copying the last name(s) of the author(s) along with the title of the book and selecting the appropriate fields and repeat the steps down for the ISBN search. This will broaden the search so that different editions of the resource can appear in the search results. 

       Please keep in mind that the above strategy for locating full-texts only works if we have that full-text available through EBSCOHost. I recommend also using the IEEE Engineering and Compendex (or SCOPUS, both owned by Elsevier) databases to see if we have the full-text through other vendors. You can use the same strategy above, just for the respective databases.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

       The difference between primary and secondary sources typically deals with the level of analytics that separates the source from the initial raw data. Secondary sources are what most students use for research projects. These sources include:

  • journal articles
  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • political commentary
  • dissertations
  • news articles

Primary sources are sources that don't divulge any analysis. These sources include:

  • diaries
  • correspondence
  • original documents
  • autobiographies
  • interviews
  • legislation
  • government documents
  • statistical data
  • creative works

For example, creating a survey for an analysis that you're conducting would be a primary source, however the article you publish with this analysis is a secondary source.

Searching for patents is very similar to searching for other materials. Some older patents can only be found through patent numbers, issue dates, and/or current US patent classifications.

Databases and websites below are resources to find relatively obscure resource mediums that are important to the field of engineering.

Standard - A document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose.

Conference Proceeding - A  collection of academic papers published in the context of a technical conference or workshop.

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John B. Coleman Library
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