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Information Resources and Services for:
PHY 120: General Physics I


This guide is a brief introduction to resources that may help with your research paper assignment. Feel free to stop by the reference desk or use the library's chat option if you have questions or would like additional suggestions.


Table of Contents:

Looking for Articles
  • Academic Search Premier
    A good database to use for articles of all types on many different subjects.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • Business Source Premier
    This database may be useful if you're looking for information about a particular product or industry.
    1965-present
  • Google Scholar
    This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. If you are using Google Scholar on campus, you will find articles available through the library's subscription databases linked, but those links don't appear off-campus. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through interlibrary loan.
  • ProQuest Newsstand
    Full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world.
    1986-present (most from 1995 on)
Looking for Books
  • MnPALS Plus
    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College.
  • WorldCat
    A good place to look if you want to see what books other libraries have. You can use the yellow "find it" button to request a book through interlibrary loan. You'll need to use the barcode number on your ID card and your last name to make an interlibrary loan request.
    1000 CE-present; updated daily
  • Google Books
    Google is in the midst of an ambitious project to digitize books from publishers and in libraries. Those that were published before 1923 are in full text; those still potentially under copyright can be searched, but not viewed in full. It offers an interesting way to locate very specific words, phrases, and citations, particularly in older books. Using the advanced search you can limit a search to books that are full text or published within a range of years.
  • Browsing for Books

    Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of physics. All of these books are shelved on the main floor, toward the back of the library in the center range.

    * Q Science

    * QB Astronomy

    * QC Physics

    o 170-197 Atomic Physics

    o 221-246 Accoustics

    o 251-338.5 Heat; Thermodynamics

    o 350-467 Optics

    o 501-766 Electricity and Magnetism

    o 770-798 Nuclear and Particle Physics

    o 801-809 Geophysics

    o 811-849 Geomagnetism

    o 974-999 Climatology

    * T Technology

Using the Reference Section

There are some specialized books in the reference section that may provide just the nugget of information that you need. These cannot be checked out. The first one is an online source.

  • Dictionary of Physics (Oxford)
    Oxford UP 2000 4th edition
    Defines thousands of terms and offers longer entries on important topics. Also provides brief biographical entries.
  • Encyclopedia of Physics
    New York: VCH 1990 2nd edition
    This one-volume handbook provides easy access to brief discussions of basic concepts in physics.
    • Location(s): Ref QC 5 .E545 1990
  • McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
    New York: McGraw-Hill 2007
    Covers topics in the sciences in detail, giving technical discussions fully illustrated with charts, diagrams, and photographs.
    • Location(s): Ref Q 121 .M3 2007, 20 vols.
Using the Web
  • How Stuff Works
    A website that covers all kinds of arcane knowledge, from how to power an iPod with an onion to how you can tell which bugs are edible.
  • How Things Work
    A website from the University of Virginia devoted to explaining the physics of everyday things.
  • Physics.org
    From the Institute of Physics, includes a database of recommended Websites ranked by level of sophistication as well as general information about physics, physicists, and the history of the field.
Citing Your Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

As you gather your sources, be sure to keep track of all the information you'll need to cite them in your paper. If you aren't clear on how to avoid plagiarism, check out this handy guide from Purdue University.

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