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Resources for Environmental Studies

Red Leaf Green Earth Flowers

Environmental studies considers the earth's biosphere, including its soil, water, atmosphere, and life forms, as well as human effects on the environment. This guide points out some of the varied resources available for the multidisciplinary study of the environment. It is not complete: please don't hesitate to consult with a librarian if you aren't finding what you need.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
For more information and additional suggestions, see the Databases Guide for Environmental Studies.
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
    Citations and abstracts for agricultural publications from the 15th century to the present, including articles from over 600 periodicals, USDA and state experiment station and extension publications, and selected books. Subjects include animal and veterinary sciences, entomology, plant sciences, food and human nutrition, and earth and environmental sciences. Many records are linked to full-text documents online. A resource of the National Agricultural Library.
    1970-present, updated monthly
  • Biological Sciences
    Citations and abstracts to research in all areas of biological sciences, including biomedicine, biotechnology, zoology, and ecology. Coverage is from 1982 to the present. Biological Sciences indexes over 6,000 primary journals plus patents, conference proceedings, books and reports.
  • General Science Collection
    A collection of over 200 journals covering such topics as particle physics, advanced mathematics, and nanotechnology. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
  • GreenFILE
    A freely accessible research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond. Comprised of scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports.
  • Plant Science
    Indexes literature from 1994-present on pathology, symbiosis, biochemistry, and genetics.
    1994-present; updated monthly
  • Science Reference Center
    This database contains full text for nearly 640 science encyclopedias, reference books, and journals. Topics covered include: biology, chemistry, earth & space science, environmental science, health & medicine, history of science, life science, physics, science & society, science as inquiry, scientists, technology and wildlife. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
    The National Library of Medicine's index to scholarly literature in all areas of toxicology, including chemicals and pharmaceuticals, pesticides, environmental pollutants, and mutagens and teratogens. This version provides citations from the last five years plus the current year.
    1996-present; updated monthly
Reference Works
  • General
    • Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues
      Salem 2011 edition
      Includes articles on events, issues, individuals and organizations.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 10 .E523 2011
      4 vols.
    • Encyclopedia of Environmental Science
      Oryx 2000
      Covers major topics and emerging issues in the field, highlighting issues of particular contemporary significance.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 10 .M66 2000
    • Environmental Encyclopedia
      Gale/Cengage Learning 2011
      Concise coverage of environmental issues and scientific concepts. Includes organizations, people, places, economic and political issues, popular and scientific terminology. Includes illustrations and tables.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 10 .E38 2011
    • Encyclopedia of the Environment
      Houghton Mifflin 1994
      Includes concise articles on environmental problems, the impact of business and social institutions on the natural environment, governmental involvement, legislation, etc.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 10 .E53 1994
    • Beacham's Guide to Environmental Issues & Sources
      Beacham 1993
      Annotated subject bibliography to books, articles and reports dealing with environmental issues, arranged by topic.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 115 .B43 1993
      5 vols.
  • Biology and Conservation
    • Dictionary of Ecology
      Oxford UP 2006
      Covers thousands of terms in habitat management, molecular ecology, and conservation, as well as identifying important biologists in the field.
    • Ecosystems of the World
      A book series which covers major ecosystems such as tropical rainforests, presenting research articles on many aspects of each ecosystem covered. Each article is written by an expert in the field and most include diagrams, photos, and lengthy bibliographies. Though the volumes are shelved in different areas, they can all be searched by the series title.
      • Location(s): various locations
    • Encyclopedia of Biodiversity
      Academic 2001
      Provides in-depth, scholarly articles on topics ranging from agriculture, conservation, economic aspects of biodiversity, microbial biodiversity, public policy, and systematics.
      • Location(s): Ref QH 541.15 .B56 E53 2001
      5 vols.
    • Encyclopedia of the Biosphere
      Gale 2000
      Includes in-depth, scholarly articles on topics such as from agriculture, conservation, economic aspects of biodiversity, microbial biodiversity, public policy, and systematics.
      • Location(s): Ref QH 343.4 .B5613 2000
      5 vols.
    • Conservation and Environmentalism: An Encyclopedia
      Garland 1995
      This book contains 500 brief entries, with bibliographies, covering issues of ecology, pollution and sustainability.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 10 .C68 1995
    • Conservation Atlas of Tropical Forests (Americas, Africa, Asia & the Pacific
      Simon & Schuster
      Each volume covers general forest issues in the region followed by an analysis of these issues in individual countries.
      • Location(s): Various locations in reference; check catalog
    • Encyclopedia of Endangered Species
      Gale 1994
      Describes over 700 animals and plants currently threatened with extinction. Arranged taxonomically; an index provides common and scientific name access. For each species the status, description and biology, habitat and current distribution, and history and conservation measures are described. Includes indexes by geographic location and a list of wildlife and conservation organizations.
      • Location(s): Ref QH 75 .A1 E53
  • Energy
    • Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy
      Macmillan Reference USA 2001
      Covers major technologies associated with energy production and use as well as historical, political, ethical, and social aspects of the subject. Short, accessible articles.
      • Location(s): Ref TJ 163.28 .M33 2001
      2 vols.
    • Wiley Encyclopedia of Energy and the Environment
      Wiley 1997
      Includes lengthy, authored articles with extensive bibliographies on topics of energy production and use and their environmental effects. Also includes information on related legal and policy issues.
      • Location(s): Ref TJ 163.235 .W55 1997
      2 vols.
    • Encyclopedia of Energy Technology and the Environment
      Wiley 1995
      Provides lengthy articles on the technologies used to produce energy and their effects on the environment, with extensive tables, graphs and diagrams. Most article, written by experts in the field, are followed by extensive bibliographies.
      • Location(s): Ref TJ 163.235 .E53 1995
      4 vols.
  • History, Ethics, & Literature
    • Encyclopedia of World Environmental History
      Routledge 2004
      Covers topics, events, people, natural resources, and aspects of human interaction with the environment worldwide. Provides historical surveys of environmental issues such as deforestation and extinction. Also offers regional and national overviews as well as essays on subfields such as environmental philosophy.
      • Location(s): Ref GF 10 .E63 2004
    • American Nature Writers
      Scribner's 1996
      Offers lengthy biocritical sketches on writers from Edward Abbey to Ann Zwinger. The second volume also contains essays on topics such as African American nature writing, nature poetry, and the literature of mountaineering. Lengthy selective bibliographies are included.
      • Location(s): Ref PS 163 .A6 1996
      2 vols.
    • Great Events From History II: Ecology and the Environment Series
      Salem Press 1995
      Chronologically arranged articles on major events and developments for environmental issues and ecology, 1902-1994. Each event is summarized, analyzed, and cross-referenced to other events.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 150 .G72 1995
      5 vols.
    • Environmental Values, 1860-1972: A Guide to Information Sources
      Gale 1976
      Annotated bibliography of books, articles, reports and conferences related to environmental topics in America, specifically nature writing and environmental history.
      • Location(s): Ref GF 503 .O95 1976
  • Law
    • Environmental Justice: A Reference Handbook
      ABC-Clio 1996
      Examines the nature and growth of the environmental justice movement, including its history, philosophy, related biographies, legislation, organizations, and a bibliography for further reading.
      • Location(s): Ref JC 578 .N485 1996
    • Minnesota Environmental Law Handbook
      Government Institutes 1994
      Gives a topical overview of state and federal laws regulating the environment in Minnesota, and their application.
      • Location(s): Ref KFM 5754 .M56 1994
  • Trends & Statistics
    • Vital Signs: The Trends that are Shaping our Future
      A compilation of statistics and analysis of major trends in food production, energy, atmosphere, the economy, the military, and social factors such as population growth, epidemics, and refugees. Sponsored by the Worldwatch Institute.
      • Location(s): HC 10 .V53 (most recent volume in Reference)
    • State of the World: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society
      An annual report on the global condition of the environment, offering an excellent overview of environmental issues and controversies. Gustavus owns most volumes from 1984-present. Shelved in the General Collection.
      • Location(s): HC 59 .S82
    • Encyclopedia of Global Change: Environmental Change and Human Society
      Oxford 2002
      Offers articles on environmental changes and the effects of those changes on humans. Topics covered include earth and earth systems, human factors (disease, land use, industrialization) resources (water, land, mineral) and political responses to global change.
      • Location(s): Ref GE 149 .E47 2002
      2 vols.
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 environmental studies.
  • BJ Ethics
  • G Geography
    • 575 Polar regions
    • 905-910 Tropics
  • GB 651-2998 Hydrology
  • GC Oceanography
  • GE Environmental education
  • GF Human ecology
  • HC 79 Environmental economics
  • Q Science
  • QH Biology
    • 75-77 Nature conservation
    • 540-549 Ecology
  • QK Botany
  • QL Zoology
  • S Agriculture
  • SB Plant culture
  • SD Forestry
  • SF Animal culture
  • TD Environmental technology
    • 172-195 Pollution
    • 201-500 Water supply
    • 511-780 Sewage
    • 785-812 Solid wastes
    • 877.5-893 Special types of pollution (soil, air, noise)
    • 895-899 Industrial sanitation and wastes


See also Biology Journals.

Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.

  • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review
  • Environment
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environmental History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
  • Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
  • Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
  • National Parks
  • National Wildlife
  • Natural History
  • Natural Resources Journal
  • AirData
    Air pollution data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. AirData produces reports and maps of air pollution data based on criteria that you specify.
  • Enviornmental History Bibliography
    This database contains references to over 35,000 books, articles, and dissertations on a variety of environmental topics, including ecology, conservation, sustainability, and natural resources. Coverage extends from 1633 to the present. Maintained by the Forest History Society at Duke University.
  • Environmental Laws
    The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works maintains this full text web portal of Federal environmental and public works laws.
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    Search or browse to access news and reports on a variety of environmental issues. Technical publications, legal and regulatory information, and a database of enforcement and compliance actions taken by the EPA are available from this site. The MyEnvironment option allows you to view snapshot environmental data by geographic area.
  • World Resources Institute
    Offers many digital publications on environmental issues from a global perspective. Includes EarthTrends, a comprehensive online database that focuses on the environmental, social, and economic trends. Includes country profiles.
  • World Bank: Documents and Reports
    A searchable database of over 14,000 World Bank documents, many of which are full-text. Search by country or region, sector (agriculture, economic policy, environment, etc.), and date as well as by keywords. This database includes country economic and sector work documents, project documents, and research & working papers. Browsing is possible by country, document type, and sector. (Description from the Folger Library).
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