MAE Capstone

Engineering Librarian

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Patricia Verdines
18th Avenue Library - 490E
(614) 292-5557

Academic Databases

In addition to Academic Search Complete, these databases are highly recommended for your MAE Capstone project.

Technical and Reference eBooks

Knovel       SpringerLink

Knovel and SpringerLink provide full-text searching through thousands of engineering eBooks.

Engineering Standards

What is a standard? If you haven't used a professional standard yet, you probably will while completing this project.  OSU standard access. Can't find the standard you need? Send me an email.


If you've never read a patent, they are usually an easy read and they can contain a wealth of information.  Google Patents is a great place to learn how others have built or created the latest, greatest (or older and better) "widget."

Why use library resources?

Why use library resources when there is a ton of great stuff freely available online?

  • There are many instances where Google and other free search engines are totally appropriate.  But there is a reason the University Libraries spend over $15 million dollars a year for information content.  We wouldn't be doing that if everything you need is freely available online.
  • Using library databases and subscriptions allows you to:
    • quickly and easily refine your search.
    • filter out all the junk.
    • be certain you aren't using illegally posted material.
  • Did you know that over 50% of the articles you'll find using Google Scholar are from either predatory or junk journals and are essentially of no value?  More on using Google Scholar

Easy starting point for MAE Senior Design

A quick and easy way to get started on your project (using quality information resources) is to perform a search in Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) and narrow your search down to magazine and newspaper articles about your subject.  Later, you can move on to more complex academic articles, if necessary.

1.  Start with magazine and newspaper articles.

     a.  Use the Advanced Search option to search for your topic in Academic Search Complete (EBSCO).

     b.  Limit your results (left column, Material Type) to magazines and newspapers.

     c.  Limit those results (left column, Publication) to titles you know (Discover Magazine, New York Times, etc.).

2.  Read about your subject in the above magazines and newspapers and then, if necessary, extend your search to academic journal articles (still using Academic Search Complete or one of the Academic Databases listed in the left column of this page).

Don't forget to create a bibliography to cite your sources!

Can't get access to an article?

Article Express

   (through ILLiad) Request free electronic delivery of journal articles not available through OSU Libraries' subscriptions.

How fresh do you want your information?

Freshest: Magazine/newspaper articles, conference proceedings, pre-print servers.  Magazine and newspaper articles can arise from an academic article (less fresh) or from a conference proceeding or pre-print server.  Conference proceedings are typically abstracts used to summarize a conference presentation (often only months old, but not heavily vetted).  Pre-print servers contain content that is fresh from the lab, but has not undergone peer review.

A bit aged:  Academic articles contain content that has often been previously presented at a conference and has, furthermore, undergone a peer review process.  Therefore, the information is at best six months old and often one or two years old.

Aged and almost set in stone:  Books typically contain information that has been heavily vetted, which can be a good thing, but it also means that the information is typically at least a decade old!

What's the difference between a "Peer Reviewed Article" and a "Review Article?"

Quality academic articles are "Peer Reviewed," meaning that, in addition to an editor, other scientists have read the article and provided feedback before the article is published.  "Review Articles" are articles wherein someone has read multiple articles on a given topic and provides a review and summary of all the articles.  Review Articles are great resources when you are trying to learn about a given subject, because someone else has already done the hard work for you.  When you search for academic articles, try using a refiner (left column of the search database) that limits your results to "Review Articles."