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University of Texas Libraries
Celebrating the Life
Background Information (Reference Sources)
Reference sources can help you find and develop a research topic by providing background articles, facts, statistics, dates and other general information on most topics.

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library is database of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources to help find background information and define your topic.
Using Wikipedia for Academic Research - this is a very helpful 3 minute tutorial on using Wikipedia to locate background information.
Finding Articles
Library home page > Research Tools > Find Articles using Databases
Multidisciplinary Database:

  • Academic Search Complete: A comprehensive and scholarly database containing magazine, newspaper, and journal articles from across disciplines. 
Subject Specific Databases:

  • ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Online Research Library: full-text access to publications of the ASCE from 1995 to present.
  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Virtual Library: The ICE Proceedings covers a wide range of civil engineering topics including geotechnics, construction, infrastructure, and materials. ICE also publishes Géotechnique and Magazine of Concrete Research.

 No full-text? Click the  button to see if it is available in another database or in print in the library.
Find Books
Start here: www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Library Catalog

  • To find a book on your topic, start with a keyword search.

  • When you find a good title, follow the subject headings for more books on the topic.

  • When you find the book, browse other books in the same area for similar resources.
  • Take note of the location of the book, we have over 10 libraries.

  • The call number will help you locate the book on the shelf.
  • Take note of the current status: If there is a date listed instead of "AVAILABLE" that means the book is checked out to another person.  But you can request the book back by clicking on the  link.

Additional notes:
  • Most engineering textbooks are available for 2 hours checkout at the PMA Library in the RLM building.
  • You can request most items in the catalog to be sent to any library using the link (not reserve books).
  • You can request an article or book chapter in any library by clicking the  button.

Talk to a Librarian!
Larayne Dallas
Engineering Librarian
Tel: (512) 495-4503

Robyn Rosenberg

Engineering Librarian
Tel: (512) 495-4646

If you need help please contact an Engineering Librarian!

Additional Resources

Don't have a topic - browse the ASCE Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks Index:
APA Style Help

Citations & Avoiding Plagiarism