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CEMS 101: Honors College Research Experience (Spring 2022)

Getting started with Compendex & Inspec (Engineering Village)

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Getting started with Compendex & Inspec

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The primary resources for Engineering literature provided by the University of Vermont Libraries are the Compendex and Inspec databases.

Both databases are accessible through the Engineering Village website.

Compendex is one of the leading indexes for publications covering all fields of engineering, including civil, environmental, mechanical, electrical, and biomedical.

Inspec focuses on electrical and electronic engineering, physics, and computer science. Importantly, it contains records for everything published by IEEE.

Both contain extensive sets of records for research articles, review articles, and conference papers. They also contain smaller sets of records for some other types of technical publication.

To access Compendex or Inspec, follow a link provided by your instructor in Blackboard, or a link on the library website at library.uvm.edu. You can find a link through the Research Databases button and scrolling down to “C” for Compendex or “I” for Inspec.

Or you can use the Research Guides button to navigate to the Engineering research guide, which contains many useful resources, including links to Compendex and Inspec on the “Articles & Journals” page. All of these links will ensure you are authenticated as a UVM affiliate and provided with full access.

Clicking on a link to Compendex or Inspec will bring you to this Engineering Village homepage. Focus on the search options in the green bar and the database options in the grey bar.

You can also see options for creating an account and signing in, but you can access all of the content in Compendex and Inspec without an Engineering Village account. Signing in at this point is not required.

Let’s look at the database options in the grey bar. If you followed a link to Compendex, you have the option of adding Inspec to your search. And vice versa. In this demonstration, I am checking both databases and searching them simultaneously.

When you are getting started with your research, you will probably want to do a broad search on your topic.

Simple keyword searching can be useful as a starting point.

Begin by entering keywords, using quotation marks for a phrase if necessary.

A good tip is toggling the field selection menu to “Subject/Title/Abstract”. This increases the likelihood that the search results will be relevant to the search terms.

Add additional search terms as necessary.

After running the search, you should dial in your results by applying filters from the left-side options.

In particular, you may want to use "Document type", for example if you want to view only journal articles, which have a higher standard of peer review than conference articles.

You may want to select a date range, for example if you want to view only the most recent publications.

With your search results dialed in, you can begin reviewing titles and previews to find material that is relevant to your topic. Click on the title of any item to view the full details.

The details contain information about the publication and links for navigating to the full text. Look for this dark green “Full Text” button. If you don’t see one of these, click on the “Find It@UVM” button, which will give you other options for getting hold of the full text.

That is simple keyword searching. A better strategy involves using a keyword search to find Controlled Terms for your topic. Controlled Terms operate like tags and help you to tap into a body of related publications.

You will find Controlled Terms by going into the details of an item and scrolling down.

Regular controlled terms are classes assigned to a paper by Compendex or Inspec.

The "uncontrolled" terms are terms that the authors have assigned to their paper. These may be more specific or descriptive, but they will be unevenly applied across the database and they will miss a lot of relevant items.

So, going back to the regular controlled terms, you can click on a controlled term. This will run a new search, removing your previous search terms, and retrieve all items associated with the controlled term.

You will often do better by copying a controlled term and backclicking to your search, where you can paste it into your search, remembering to use the appropriate field selection, and continuing to build a better search.

For more information about Compendex, Inspec, or Engineering Village, ask a librarian at the UVM Libraries.

Getting started with MathSciNet

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Getting started with MathSciNet

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The primary literature resource provided by the University of Vermont Libraries for Mathematics is MathSciNet.

MathSciNet, a product of the American Mathematical Society, is one of the leading indexes for publications covering all fields of mathematics, including more than 3 million research articles, review articles, conference papers, theses, and books.

To access MathSciNet, follow a link provided by your instructor in Blackboard, or a link on the library website at library.uvm.edu. You can find a link through the Research Databases button and scrolling down to MathSciNet under “M”.

Or you can use the Research Guides button to navigate to the Mathematics research guide, which has a link to MathSciNet on its “Articles & Journals” page and many other useful resources. All of these links will ensure you are authenticated as a UVM affiliate and provided with full access.

MathSciNet has a fielded search interface. Some researchers only need the main “Publications” search, but there are also interfaces for looking up authors, journal titles, or citation data.

In the “Publications” interface, the dropdown menus provide options for searching 14 different fields. When you are getting started with your research, you will probably want to do a broad search on your topic.

Start by entering keywords, using quotation marks for a phrase if necessary, in the “Anywhere” field.

I am searching for literature on the design of electoral districts and my preliminary search for the keyword “gerrymandering” retrieves just 35 results. Probably my keywords are missing a lot of publications.

To run a more precise search, review the alphanumeric codes at the end of the citations that seem most relevant to your topic. These are MSC codes, or Mathematics Subject Classification codes. These can be 2-, 3-, or 5-digit codes, depending on their level in the MSC taxonomy.

Click on the MSC codes associated with relevant items – in my case, 91B32. This loads a breakdown and definition of the code and any broader or narrower codes. This helps you to confirm which codes are relevant to your topic and provides links to ALL publications associated with those codes – in the form of little script icons.

Identifying MSC codes in this way is a more effective method for searching MathSciNet than simple keywords, which will miss a lot of items.

Now that you have a good set of results, you have several options for reviewing them. You can change the sort order from “Newest”. For example, you might want to sort them by the number of citations, which will give an indication of which papers have had a significant impact.

You might want to refine your results by adding keywords or selecting a data range.

To see more information about an item, click on its unique “MR” number.

Items marked “Reviewed” will display a review by a MathSciNet contributor, typically another scholar in the same field.

To see the full text of the item, click on the “Find It@UVM” button. This will either route to the full text or present you with options for requesting it via the library.

For more information about MathSciNet, ask a librarian at the UVM Libraries.

Getting started with Current Index to Statistics

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Getting started with the Current Index to Statistics

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The primary resource for Statistics research literature provided by the University of Vermont Libraries is the Current Index to Statistics.

This resource contains records for scholarly literature covering statistics, probability and related fields. It contains citations for an extensive collection of journal articles and books. Most of the content is from 1975 to 2017. It was originally developed by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Statistical Association, though now it is hosted by the American Mathematical Society on its MathSciNet website.

To access the CIS, follow a link provided by your instructor in Blackboard, or a link on the library website at library.uvm.edu. You can find a link through the Research Databases button and scrolling down through the alphabetical-ordered list.

Or you can use the Research Guides button to navigate to the Statistics research guide. Here, you will find many useful resources, including a link to the CIS on the “Articles & Journals” page.

All of these links will ensure you are authenticated as a UVM affiliate and provided with full access.

The CIS homepage has a simple quick search interface. Enter keywords here, using quotation marks for a phrase or an asterisk to search for all variations on a word stem.

This quick search for pandemic or pandemics returned 45 results.

You may want to further adjust your search. You may want to change the sort order from relevance to newest.

If you want to make your search more precise, add more terms to the search field using the Boolean operator AND.

The “Refine Results” buttons has a function for adding what the CIS calls “Keywords”, but these are category labels and using these will probably make your search miss some useful items. In most cases, simply adding terms to the search field will work best.

Each item has a summary that will help you determine if it is relevant to your topic. If you want to view the full text, look for an orange “Article” link. This will route to the publisher’s website.

If you don’t see an “Article” link in the CIS record, or if there is a paywall on the publisher’s website, contact the library and we will help you get access to the full text.

The CIS is an excellent resource for focusing on statistics literature. But, as mentioned before, its content stops in 2017. For this reason, it is recommended that you begin your research with the CIS, then supplement your searches by using MathSciNet – which you can access via the banner logo – or Google Scholar to make sure you are not missing an important paper published more recently.

For more information about the CIS and literature resources for statistics, ask a librarian at the UVM Libraries.

Getting started with ACM Digital Library (Computer Sci)

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Getting started with ACM Digital Library

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The primary resource provided by the University of Vermont Libraries for Computer Science research literature is the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Digital Library.

ACM Digital Library provides access to conference proceedings, which are one of the key types of research communication in computer science; and also journal papers, magazine articles, newsletters, books, researcher profiles, and tutorials.

To access ACM Digital Library, follow a link provided by your instructor in Blackboard, or a link on the library website at library.uvm.edu. You can find a link through the Research Databases button and scrolling down.

Or you can use the Research Guides button to navigate to the Computer Science research guide. Here, you will find many useful resources, including a link to ACM Digital Library on the “Articles & Journals” page.

All of these links will ensure you are authenticated as a UVM affiliate and provided with full access.

Also, all of these links will route you to the Advanced Search interface.

Pay attention to the “Search items from” options. The Advanced Search will default to the ACM Full-Text Collection. This is a set of records for all ACM publications, each with options for viewing the full next, plus a small number of records non-ACM books that do not provide the full text.

You have the option of toggling to the ACM Guide to Computing Literature. This is a much larger index of ACM and non-ACM publications. Again, non-ACM publications will not provide the full text – but it is possible to request copies of these items via the UVM Libraries’ interlibrary loan service.

In this video, we will take a look at the ACM Full-Text Collection.

Get started with a broad search on your topic by entering keywords in the “Search Within” box. A good tip is toggling the field to “Abstract”. This increases the probability that your keywords will be central to the content of your search results.

Use character operators – as explained in the sidebar – and additional keywords to make your search as precise as possible.

ACM Digital Library contains publications dating back to 1936, so you may also need to limit your search to a more-recent date range.

When you run a search, the default display will sort the results by the database’s interpretation of relevance. You might want to re-sort them by the number of citations, which will give an indication of which papers have had a significant impact.

The left-side options give you additional options for adjusting your search.

Clicking on the title of an item will give you more information and feature options, but the most important elements are displayed in the list of results:

Look for a “Highlights” link to view an abstract; a blue ereader icon to view the full text in your browser; or a red PDF icon to download the full text to your computer or device.

For more information about ACM Digital Library, ask a librarian at the UVM Libraries.

Google Scholar for CEMS 101

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Google Scholar for CEMS 101

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Google Scholar is Google’s dedicated search engine for scholarly publications such as journal papers, books, and dissertations.

Google Scholar is vast, containing records for millions of items. A quick search for “reservoir fractures” turns up more than 700,000 results.

But it has few features for constructing precise searches. So it is easy to find sources with Google Scholar, but also easy to miss key publications.

For your thesis research, I recommend you start with a subject database, then supplement your research with additional searches in Google Scholar.

Another characteristic of Google Scholar is it is multidisciplinary, covering all fields of academic study. This makes it a good resource for finding literature on interdisciplinary topics.

It will help you if Google Scholar can recognize you as a UVM affiliate. If it does, many items will display a direct link to the full text or this “Find It@UVM” link, which will give you options for getting the full text.

You can identify yourself as a UVM affiliate in several ways. One is by being on the campus network.

Another is using a link on a UVM site, such as a link in Blackboard or a link on the library website. You can find a quick link on the library website at library.uvm.edu. Click on the “Research Databases button and scroll down to “G”.

Alternatively, you can click on the menu icon, choose Settings, select “Library links”, and entering “university of vermont”.

Now you’re ready to search. Google Scholar has some basic search functionalities:

You can adjust the date range

You can sort by date

You can tinker with search operators via the Advanced Search options.

Very helpfully, Google Scholar also has citation counts. These counts may give you an indication of a paper’s impact on their field. Also, the counts are linked. You can click on these to view the subsequent publications that cited the original paper.

Here is one last tip for CEMS 101. For those of you who may want to find technical reports, such as civil and environmental engineers, Google Scholar can help you. Add “filetype:pdf” and “site:gov” to your search, and your results will likely return many technical reports published on government websites.

For more information about Google Scholar, ask a librarian at the UVM Libraries.

Librarian

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Graham Sherriff
(he/him)
Contact:
graham.sherriff@uvm.edu or MS Teams chat

Liaison to:
College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, US Patent & Trademark Office