Engineering Research: A Guide to Finding and Contributing to Your Field's Literature


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When most people think of a library, they think of books first. But books are probably not the primary resource you will use as you gather literature for your research. You may find yourself looking for journals and journal articles, conference papers and proceedings, research reports, technical reports, patents, standards, and more. University Libraries provides access to most of the literature you'll need, both through print collections housed in library buildings and through subscriptions to online resources. In this colloquium, you will be introduced to what the library has and how to go about finding what you need. I will cover both library databases such as IEEE Xplore and the publicly available Google Scholar. Some of your work will involve tracking down a paper or report from a citation, or finding everything written on a topic. But part of being a researcher is keeping current. With so much information available, it can be challenging to determine which journals and authors to follow regularly. There are many qualitative factors, but also a few quantitative measures you can use to evaluate journals and authors. In particular, I will review the Journal Citation Report's Impact Factors,'s Article Influence score, and Hirsch's h-index.At some point, you will need to share your research with others. Whether your output is a conference poster or paper, a Masters or PhD thesis, or a paper intended for publication, you will need to consider issues outside of the research itself. In particular, I will discuss how to avoid plagiarism (including self-plagiarism), honoring the copyrights of others, and protecting your own rights to the literature you produce.

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We’re seeing that more people are using Google Scholar to find articles, especially when they know what they’re looking for. But very few of the articles in Google Scholar are available as full text for free. To get the article, you still need to go through us. If you’re working on a computer on campus, you should automatically see this Find It @ U of M Twin Cities link. Click it, and you’re into our Find It menu again.

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If you’re off campus, you can set Google Scholar to give you that U of M link anyway. Use Scholar Preferences to search for and set the link for the U of M Twin Cities.

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Garfield E. “Citation indexes to science: a new dimension in documentation through association of ideas,” Science 122(3159):108-11 (1955).

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Bergstrom, C. (2007). Eigenfactor: Measuring the value and prestige of scholarly journals. College, 68(5). Retrieved September 16, 2009, from  

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Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(46), 16569-16572. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0507655102.  

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Image from

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Article from Chronicle of Higher Education, October 23, 2006,

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Engineering Research A Guide to Finding and Contributing to Your Field's Literature _____________________________ Janet Fransen Engineering Librarian University of Minnesota Libraries

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Scholarly Communication in Engineering Finding what you need Keeping current: Choosing what and who to follow Being an author

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Finding What You Need Library connects you to online and print resources Books Journals/articles Technical and research reports Standards

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Finding What You Need Lots of other places: Google Scholar Government Web sites Institutional repositories Institute/Departmental/Faculty Web sites If you find citation but not full text, come to us

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Looking for Books & Articles

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The Libraries Website (

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Books related to the topic

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Searching a Database

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Searching a Database

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Searching a Database

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Searching a Database

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Finding It

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Finding It

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Finding Full Text

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Finding Full Text

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But… It’s an IEEE conference proceeding, so we probably have access Go to IEEE Xplore and search there

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Finding Full Text

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What if we don’t have it?

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Google Scholar Most helpful if you have a citation Don’t have to go through Libraries ( “Forgiving” of incomplete/misspelled citations You often still need the Libraries for full text

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Google Scholar

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Google Scholar Tweak Shouldn’t need on campus

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Looking for more information? Engineering: Finding Better Information Faster 310 Walter Library 9/30/2009 2:30 – 3:30 Register at

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Keeping Current Journals and databases are making it easier to find out about new articles Email alerts RSS feeds So who or what should you “follow?”

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Journals and Authors: Who to follow? Most factors are qualitative, and specific to your research Who and what are your colleagues/advisors reading? Who are they citing in their own papers?

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Quantitative Measures Journals Journal Impact Factor from Journal Citation Reports Eigenfactor from Authors h-index from JE Hirsch

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Journal Impact Factor Measures number of time the average article in a journal has been cited Published in JCR Recalculated each year X = number of citations received in the current year to articles published in the two preceding years Y = number of articles published in the same two years Impact Factor = X/Y

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Journal Impact Factor

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Journal Impact Factor

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Journal Impact Factor

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Eigenfactor Freely available at Includes more than scholarly journals/articles (newspapers, theses, magazines) Five years of data instead of two

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Eigenfactor Iterative algorithm using JCR’s data Denominator is number of citations in journal rather than number of articles Easier to compare journals across disciplines Excludes self-citations

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Eigenfactor Eigenfactor Score measures value Article Influence Score measures prestige and is analogous to Impact Factor

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Looking for more information? Getting Published: How to Publish Your Science Research Article 310 Walter Library 10/19/2009 1:30 – 2:30 Register at

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Measuring Authors JCR and Eigenfactor measure journals, not authors h-Index is designed to measure an author’s productivity and influence Use Web of Science, or one of several tools that rely on Google Scholar data

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h-index in Web of Science

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h-index in Web of Science

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h-index in Web of Science

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h-index in Web of Science

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h-index Calculation

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Citation Counts in Google Scholar

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Being an Author Citing your sources Being a part of the community Honestly reflecting your work Tools to help Making your own work visible Open Access Copyright concerns

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Citing is Important You connect to and build on a body of knowledge Image from

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Citing is Important

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Avoiding Plagiarism Keep track of what you read Refworks is free through the Libraries Zotero is freely available Endnote isn’t free, but some research groups prefer it anyway

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Looking for more information? Refworks Basics 10/7/2009 2:30 – 3:30 Register at Endnote Basics 9/21/2009 1:30 – 2:30 Zotero Basics 10/13/2009 11:15 – 12:15 Intro to Citation Managers 10/6/2009 11:15 – 12:15

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Avoiding Plagiarism Cite work you’ve read when you use it Use quotes around quotations, in-text citations to previous work, and a bibliography at the end Refworks, Endnote, and Zotero all provide add-ins for Word to make this easy

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Looking for more information? Coming soon: A workshop on plagiarism designed for those writing engineering theses and dissertations If you’d like to read more about the topic, I can provide a list of citations

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Making Your Own Work Visible Your chances of having your work read and cited go up if search engines are indexing it Two ways to increase visibility Open Access journals Institutional repositories

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Open Access Others can copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and make and distribute derivative works Your work is deposited in at least one online repository

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Institutional Repositories University Digital Conservancy (UDC) Maintained by University Libraries

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UDC Promises Persistent link Digital preservation Scanned by Google (and other search engines) Google ranking algorithm currently gives preference to IR contents

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University Digital Conservancy Dissertations and theses The Graduate School will ask if you want your work included in the UDC You can specify an embargo period

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University Digital Conservancy Research reports Let me know if you want work included Long term: In the workflow of University of Minnesota centers and institutes

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University Digital Conservancy Published work Protect your copyright! You hold all copy rights to all work you do When you publish, you sign over some of those rights to the publisher You don’t have to sign over all of them

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UMN Authors’ Addendum

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Copyright Information & Education

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Looking for more information? Nancy Sims, Copyright Program Librarian @CopyrightLibn Getting Published: How to Publish Your Science Research Article 310 Walter Library 10/19/2009 1:30 – 2:30 Register at

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Individual Consulting Email, IM, DM, or call me Stop by the Walter reference desk 9 AM – 5 PM M-F 1 PM – 5 PM Saturday My “office hours” for Fall EE/CSci atrium (or maybe Student Center) Thursdays 3 - 4

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Contact Information Janet Fransen EMail: IM and Twitter:  umjanlib Phone: 612-624-7446 Web site:

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Questions/Comments? ?

Summary: Presentation for the Electrical & Computer Engineering Colloquium University of Minnesota September 17, 2009 Janet Fransen, Engineering Librarian

Tags: library engineering