General Search Information

As mentioned in the introduction, sometimes a general web search can lead you to a suitable source, and sometimes it can’t.

  • Many more journal articles are available openly online than they used to be, though the published engineering literature is only about 20% open access.
  • Patents are openly searchable, either through individual country patent and trademark office sites or through a free tool like Google Patents or the Lens.
  • Standards are locked down, and most are only available through purchase or subscription.
  • Web searches may turn up reliable data, as long as you feel confident you can evaluate the source to determine whether it is likely to be accurate and authoritative. If you are not sure, I recommend using the library resources so you can trust that you are basing your work on the best possible information.

Your search will be more efficient of you know the best way to locate the different types of information sources. The following section will highlight some of the places you can find the needed sources for your work.


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