COVID-19 Update: Although the Gould Library building remains closed, the library staff continue our commitment to support the teaching and research needs of the Carleton community. Information on remote access to library resources and services will be updated regularly on the Remote Resources and Guidance for Library Users page and this FAQ. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional assistance.
Just like field research, library research is not a linear process. It is a matter of trying, evaluating and learning from the results, refining your strategy, trying again, and exploring possibilities. It can be fun and exciting to find new information, explore new directions, and think about what all of that might mean for your topic. You will probably not find the "perfect" information source about your topic. Rather, you'll need to work to bring sources together to fully explore a topic.
Approaching literature from a geologic perspective
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you approach the geologic literature. The answers can help you to narrow down the types of sources you look for and the places you search.
Do you need to geographically-specific information, or is the locale not important? For example: water quality data is location-specific, but articles about minerals containing europium need not be.
What are the names of your geographic area? This could be the geologic unit, city, county, state, watershed, or any other number of names. Search GeoNames Information Server to find a feature or location. You'll also find the latitude and longitude of the feature, and the USGS Topographic map it's located on.
Are there specific coordinates that define the area? Some of the searches can be done by latitude and longitude.
Pay attention to any codes for specific locations. This can include hydrology units, geologic units, water sheds, or even wells - basically any geographically-specific unit.
2. Resource or material:
Are you looking for information on a specific resource or material, be it a specific type of rock, or mineral or even energy resource?
Are there other words or terms for that resource?
Do you need information on a specific process or cycle?
Does your information need to be time-specific? Are you looking for information from a particular geologic time period?
What names has that time period had? Remember that the names of time periods can occasionally change or have different names depending on the location.