Using WIU Library Resources to Research Alternative Fuels
 
Who is interested in alternative fuel?
  1. Government
  2. Environmentalists
  3. Business
  4. Ordinary People
 
Let's look at business first because businesses are intensely interested in developing profitable alternative sources of energy.
 
Business Source Elite
 
Link Path: WIU Libraries to Select a Database to Business Source Elite
 
First, do a simple search using alternative fuels as below. We get 700+ results.
 
image of alternative fules simple search
 

Note, that on the left hand side of the page, there are a list of subject headings. The database searches your results and makes of list of the most frequently recurring subject headings. It's a good idea to look at this list in order to create more specific searches.

For example, the list below suggests biodiesel fuels, biomass energy, and alcohol as fuel as search terms. It also breaks up fuels by the type of engine. It also suggests that we might want to use automobile industry and trade if wanted to see how the entire industry is responding to alternative fuels. Note: I find copying and pasting the search terms to work better than clicking on the terms. Clicking on the terms adds them to your current search--and that may not be something you want to do.

 
list of suggested subject headings
 
Meanwhile, what about the 702 results? That's a lot of results. One quick way to manage this is by reranking the results using the relevance function. Relevance located on the right hand part of the page and appears as below. It defaults to date. It's a good idea to use the relevance function anytime you do a search--unless the date is important to you.
 
relevance function image
 
Below is a narrower search I constructed using automobile industry & trade and alternative fuels. It returned 51 results.
 
narrower search image
 
Below is another narrow search looking for information about spark ignition engines. It returns 40+ results. Again, I got this search term from the yellow area.
 
spark ignition engine search
 
Each time you run a search, the yellow area and its suggested searches will change--because these headings are being derived from the search results. Below are the suggestions from the search immediately above. Note that fuel cells is now included, another form alternative energy--though perhaps not technically a fuel. Note also that corn appears. In other words, the database is suggesting that we might want to research corn (ethanol) in light of alternate fuels.
 
yellow area
 
Using Academic Search Premier
 
Link Path: WIU Libraries to Select a Database to Academic Search Premier
 
Academic Search Premier is a general interest database containing articles from many disciplines.
 
Again start with a simple search. See below.
 
 
Rerank it by relevance. Skim the first twenty-five or so titles.
 
Next, look at the yellow area and see if there any interesting ideas for further searches.
 
yellow area with other suggested search topics
 
Create a new search using these terms. Rerank by relevance.
 
alternative fuel vehicles search
 
Using the Find It button.
 
Sometimes you don't get the full text of an article, but would still like to get a copy of the article. The Find It button helps with this. The article below does not come with full text--but it does come with the Find It button. Pressing this button initiates a search of our other databases (100+) for the article.
 
image of a citaion without full text
 
If Find It locates your article, it will provide you with a Go button or several Go buttons leading to your article. Most of the time the Go button will take you to the article or get you close to it. However, it is not unusual to get an error message. It's not a perfect technology--but a pretty good one. For example, the first Go button below goes nowhere. The second one takes you right to the article. The third one gets you close--to the point where you could do a title search and retrieve the article.
 
Go menu
 
 
America's Newspapers
 
Link path: WIU Libraries to Select a Database to America's Newspapers.
 
America's Newspapers is a database containing...newspaper articles from around the country. This is a good source of information because newspapers cover many different regions (and alternative fuel is viewed differently in different regions) and subject areas.
 
America's Newspapers is easy to use. It defaults to searching the entire country, but you can easily select particular states by clicking on them or a particular region.
 
The search below locates information about ethanol and land use--since planting more corn has serious implications for land use. Just like the above two databases, America's Newspapers has a relevance function, which it calls "Best Matches First." Be sure to set your search to that.
 
america's newspapers "land use and ethanol" search
 
 
Applied Science and Technology Abstracts
 
Link path: Link path: WIU Libraries to Select a Database to Applied Science and Technology Abstracts
 
The science that deals with fuels is an applied science so we use this database. Note the relevance indicator in the lower left hand corner of the search menu.
 
Image of an applied scientce and technology abstracts search on ethanol and engine.
 
 
Some of the articles will be full text, but many wont. To get to the Find It button, you need to click on an articles link.
 
image of an article without full text
 
Clicking on the link will take you to the record, where you will find the Find It button.
 
find it button
 
United States Government
 
Google has a command site:gov that allows you to restrict Google to the government web sites. It's a useful way to search for information. It also has a command intitle: that allows you require that certain words appear in the title of a web page. There is never any space after the colon :
 
Below is a search for government web sites with "alternative fuels" in the title. To see the results of this search, click here.
 
site:gov intitle:alternative intitle:fuels
 
By adding the word "links" to the search below (a trick, like many, I learned from the book Google Hacks), you will be taken to pages that contain links to other web pages about alternative fuels. To see the results from this search, click here.
 
links search
 
Finally, here is a link to the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels web page.
 
 
Questions? William Thompson