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CON 101: Construction and Culture : Famous Structures

This guide has helpful hints on where to find information for your Native American Architecture, Famous Structures, and Space/Underwater Colonies assignments.

Recommended Resources and Search Strategies for Famous Structures

Step 1: Finding the Basic Information About Your Structure

Before you can begin to research your structure you'll need to know the following things about it:

  • Full name (and if used, alternative names and spellings)
  • Type of Structure (bridge, tunnel, cathedral, castle, viaduct, office buidling, residence, etc.)
  • Location (country and region/state/city/town)
  • Architect (and/or designer or builder)
  • Dates (of construction and/or completion)

 

The quickest way to find this information is to do a web search and use at least two of the following sites/search methods:

  • Emporis.com
    Commercial real estate information. Contains information and images for high- and low-rise buildings, chimneys, churchs, halls, masts, monuments, open air structures, stadiums, templies and towers of mostly existing construction but does include some former structures. Search by building name, city, or country. 

  • Great Buildings
    GreatBuildings.com provides information about famous designers and structures of all kinds from around the world and throughout history.   Included are photographs, images, drawings, maps, timelines, 3D models, and textual summaries, although each entry varies with the amount and type of material available.  Copy the bibliography for books and journal articles so you can look them up in Step 2 below.

  • Structurae
    Structurae.net provides information on bridges, tunnels, dams, skyscrapers, stadiums, towers and similar structures since the pyramids of Egypt to today. Included are photographs, and info about people and technical issues.     Copy the bibliography for books and journal articles so you can look them up in Step 2 below.

  • Skyscraper Center
    Sponsored by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, this site contains information about buildings around the world taller than 14 floors or 165 feet (50 meters) in height (although that criteria is loosely applied).   Tall buildings demolished or under construction are also included.    Each entry includes images, name, location, dates of construction/completion, tall building ranks, structural material type, dimensions, companies involved and a link to at least one magazine/journal article about the building. 

     
  • Encyclopedia.com
    Searches over 100 encyclopedias, dictionaries and thesauri. 

  • Use your favorite web search engine (Google, etc.):
    • Look for authoritative sites such as those above that come from engineering organizations or societies devoted to the preservation of the structure.
    • Avoid sites by individuals such as tourist pictures, travelogues, etc.

  • Wikipedia
    Wikipedia.com provides varying amounts of information (as well as varying degrees of authority and accuracy) on just about everything, including many of the structures on this assignment.  Copy the list of other web sites and references (if any).


Step 2: Finding Authoritative Library Resources about your Structure

You should now have enough information about your structure so you can effectively research the construction aspect - you may even have found some construction information on the web (but your instructor may not accept web sites as "authoritative resources").   Here's some library resources that may contain construction information for your structure.     

  • Library One Search
    The Library One Search contains a lot, but not all, of the ASU Library resources.  If you don't find enough material via One Search, use the following resources (some of these may duplicate what you've already found within One Search)

  • Books:

    • The following reference works or encyclopedias may have an article, section or chapter about your structure:

      • Builders of the Ancient World.
        TA16 .B85 1986, located in the Noble Library, 1st floor, in the Science Reference collection.

      • Building the World : an Encyclopedia of the Great Engineering Projects in History. (2 vols.)
        T56 .I44 2006, located in the Noble Library, 1st floor, in the Science Reference collection.

      • Encyclopaedia Britannica
        Search by the name of your building, bridge, or structure.

      • Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats
        NA200 .L32 2001, located in the Design and the Arts Library, in the Architecture Reference collection.

      • Encyclopedia of Bridges and Tunnels.  
        TG9 .J64 2002, located in the Noble Library, 1st floor, in the Science Reference collection.

      • Gale Virtual Reference Library
        Search by the name of your structure.

      • Landmarks in American Civil Engineering.  
        TA23.S36 1987, located in the Noble Library, 1st floor, in the Science Reference collection.

      • Reference Guide to Famous Engineering Landmarks of the World: Bridges, Tunnels,  Dams, Roads, and Other Structures. 
        TA15 .B42 1998, located in the Noble Library, 1st floor, in the Science Reference collection.

      • Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World : the Great Monuments and How They Were Built.
        CC165 .S48x 1999, located in both the Design and the Arts Library and the Fletcher (West Campus) Library.

      • Seventy Wonders of the Modern World : 1500 Years of Extraordinary Feats of Engineering and Construction. 
        NA202 .S48 2002, located in the Design and the Arts Library, in the Architecture Reference collection.

    • Search the ASU Library Catalog for other possible encyclopedias:

    • Search the ASU Library Catalog for the books that were mentioned in the bibliographies of the websites you used above.  Searching by the book's title is usually the most efficient.

    • Search the ASU Library Catalog for books about your structure:

    • Search the ASU Library Catalog for books that may have an article, section or chapter about your structure:

    • Search by your structure's name(s) in Google Books to see if it is mentioned within the full text of a book.   Books published prior to 1924 will be viewable in full on Google; for books published after 1923, you'll only be able to see a limited preview or just a snippet.   

      For the limited preview or snippet books, check their titles in the ASU Library Catalog to see if the book is available.  If the book is not available at ASU, you may request that the ASU Library borrow it from another library - just fill out an "Interlibrary Loan" request at: https://illiad.lib.asu.edu/illiad/Logon.html  It will take about a week for the book to arrive, so get your request in well ahead of the assignment due date.

    • Browse the books in the Call Number area of TA15 - TA19 (Engineering History) on the 3rd floor of the Noble Library.  Engineering history books often discuss examples of bridges, buildings or other structures.  


  • Journal articles:

    • Use the Libraries' Journal Title Lookup or Citation Linker to find the journal articles listed in the bibliographies you copied from Step 1 above.

    • Use the following journal indexing/abstracting databases to find journal articles:

    • Use the following strategies when searching for journal articles:

      • Search for the specific structure (also search for variant names and spellings)

      • Search for the type of structure and location
        Example: Castles and Wales

      • Search for the architect, designer, or builder

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