MSE Senior Design and Lifelong Learning

Engineering Librarian

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

Academic Databases

Databases suitable for your MSE Capstone project and general MSE research.


Find: Data and basic information


Find: Journal articles, conference papers, books, and other info.


Most of the following databases are mostly or full indexed by Scopus or Web of Science, but allow for full-text searching.



Can't find what you need? See All Engineering Databases or go to Subject Guides to find content for non-negineering disciplines. 

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."

Technical and Reference eBooks

Knovel       SpringerLink

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

Looking for data generated by the US Government?

Funding agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and others, along with US National Labs generate a massive amount of reports, data, etc. Access these resources at this page that provides information on US Gov and miscellaneous public resources.

What is ABET and why is there a Lifelong Learning Assignment in MSE Senior Design?

  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.

Can't get access to an article?

Article Express

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

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

Google Tips

  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.

  • Use an Advanced Google search to: (
    • limit your results to sites ending in .org or .edu (eliminates .com sites).
    • find documents in a specific file type (pdf, Powerpoint presentation, Word doc, etc.).
    • find information that you can legally re-use (Usage rights).
    • limit your results by date or language.
  • Use Google image to identify an image

Easy starting point for MSE 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!

Do you own the copyright to anything you've written? What does Open Access really mean?

  Find the answers to many common copyright questions at this link.

  Find out more about Open Access.  Remember, just because something is published "Open Access" doesn't mean that it isn't copyrighted.

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."