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EEE 598: Multimedia/Qos

Best library and internet resources plus literature searching techniques for your assignment.

Background Information

Look at your concepts or PICO statement again - are you very familiar with all of your concepts?  Could you explain the concept to someone outside of the field?   If not, then you need to do two things before starting your literature review: 

  1. Fill in your knowledge gaps so you are able to effectively describe the topic in searches and be able recognize appropriate content in the search results.  

  2. Find reference sources that contain definitions and descriptions in that area, so you'll quickly be able to refer to them as you are doing your literature review. 

For background information, you need resources that summarize the important points of a subject; these resources can be encyclopedias, upper level textbooks and handbooks (sometimes called manuals).  For finding definitions, use dictionaries.

Two good sources for finding background information in engineering are:  

  • Knovel 
    Contains the full text of dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks for all areas of engineering.  Knovel has online tutorials available.

  • Synthesis  
    Chapter-length, or longer, essays on engineering topics, many specifically written as an introduction to the topic for non-engineers working with engineering research teams or for the engineering student. 

Another source to try::

  • Library One Search
    Once you have entered your topic, use the "Content Type" limiter in the left column to restrict the results list (one at a time) to those types of works that generally contain background information:
    • Reference
    • Book Chapters
    • Books/eBooks

Science and Engineering Information Resources

Where to look for science and engineering information depends on what type of information you are trying to find.   Listed below are the different types of publications in which science and engineering information usually appears.  Because journal articles and conference proceedings should be covered (note that the same resources are used to find both) the resources for finding these are listed first, followed by the remaining types in alpabetical order.  Whether you need to be concerned with finding the other types of material will depend on your topic.  

  • Books  
    Books cover a specific topic in depth or are used to provide an introduction to a broad area of interest; they are usually 200-500 pages.  The broad introductory book is useful when you need background information.   Books that are an in-depth treatment frequently have chapters written by different authors, essentially making them the equivalent of long journal articles; sometimes these book chapters are  treated as journal articles and indexed in many of the same databases as journal articles are.   
    To find books use:
  • Dissertations and theses
    Dissertations and theses are useful if you are trying to find information from an individual who may be new to a field and therefore not yet published in journal articles or presented at conferences.   Much of the material found in dissertations and theses will eventually turn up in journal articles IF the author goes on to academic research.  Dissertations and theses also may be important to those trying to establish the first public instance of a technology.

    To find disertations and theses use:
  • Patents
    Patents are a grant from an agency (usually governmental) providing the inventor with certain rights which vary from country to country.  The rights usually include the right to exclude others from manufacturing the invention.  Searching for patents is essential if are working on a new  technology, process, or object; you need to determine if someone else has already patented the technology.  Searching the patent literature could save time and money by identifying what has already been patented (your whole invention or just a part of it).  Patent searching requires special search strategies that involves patent classification systems. 

    For how to do a patent search see:
  • Standards
    Many processes and products are subject to standards (sometimes codes and regulations); you'll need to investigate this area if you are manufacturing and/or creating new technology.

    To find standards see:
  • Technical Reports
    Those who received U.S. government funds for research are required to provide a report on the research, however, not all of these reports are available to the general public.  If your project is in an area for which the U.S. government funds research, you should determine if reports are available.  These technical reports can be difficult to find - see me if you are having difficulties finding any reports you've identified.  Please note that reports that are generated from private sources are seldom available to the public. 

    To find publically available technical reports use:
  • U.S. government agency publications
    If a U.S. agency is involved in your area, look for their publications as well.

    To find U.S. Government Publications use:

Business, Law and Other Information Resources

In addition to science and engineering information, you may also need:

Hours and Locations