ABET is the agency that accredits Ohio State's engineering program, ensuring that your education meets high quality standards. One of ABET's requirements is that each engineering degree include a "Lifelong Learning" component. MSE has chosen information literacy to fulfill this Lifelong Learning component of accreditation.
Why use library resources when there is a ton of great stuff freely available online?
Although using library resources can often save you time for advanced research, Google (or other search engine) searches are absolutely appropriate for many routine tasks. Here are a few tips for getting maximum value from a Google search.
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).
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!
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."