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EPS 210: The Geology of North America through its National Parks: Articles

Helpful resources to support your projects.

What is an abstract database?

An abstract database does not necessarily contain the full text, but if we subscribe to something online, it will link out to where you need to go. Abstract databases index print resources in addition to online ones — especially those journals, books, and other documents that may not have been digitized.

Usually, abstract databases will include a Yale Links button to help you find an electronic copy from the library. You may also need to search the catalog for the item or use interlibrary loan if (a) an item hasn't been digitized or (b) it's not held in our collections.

If you have incomplete information about an older book from a citation, an abstract database is a great place to go to find the rest of the citation so you can search the library catalog or request the item through our interlibrary loan services. Librarians and interlibrary loan fulfillment staff use abstract databases all of the time to help you when citation information is incomplete.

Examples of abstract databases include GeoRef and several components of the ProQuest Natural Science Collection, which includes both full-text and abstract resources. Some of its abstract resources are the Meteorological and Geoastrophysical Abstracts, Toxicology Abstracts, Water Resources Abstracts, and Environmental Engineering Abstracts.

Core Databases

GeoRef is an excellent resource to use when looking for Earth and Planetary Sciences resources. This tab describes the basics of how to use it in your research. Please look above for the tab on the ProQuest Natural Science Collection if you want information about doing interdisciplinary geosciences searches, especially those focused on air, climate, and geobiology.

GeoRef is the most comprehensive abstract database in the field, and it grows by at least 80,000 references a year (you publish a lot!). It contains journals, books, maps, and reports. The database also includes masters' and doctoral dissertations from US and Canadian universities.

We subscribe to GeoRef on the GeoScienceWorld platform.

GeoScienceWorld is a complex resources that contains many pieces. It contains:

  • Ebooks and journals from many publishers in Earth Sciences, meaning that we receive full text through the GeoRef system for these things
  • GeoRef, an abstract database, that links out to full text or gives us enough information to locate a print item
  • OpenGeoSci, a free and public map-based toolset that allows users to search for cross sections, charts, tables, figures, and data from publications on the GeoScienceWorld platform

When you search for content on GeoScienceWorld, all of your searches will include GeoRef abstracts.

  • If you only want to search GeoRef records, use the Advanced Search and limit to "GeoRef Record" using the check boxes at the top of the page.
  • If you only want content accessible through GeoScienceWorld, choose the "Content I Have Access To" radio button.

GeoRef contains several very helpful search fields:

  • Title and abstract — This prevents the database from searching the articles' full text, which keeps your results neat, tidy, and relevant.
  • Coordinate bounds — If you are interested in a specific location, this will limit to papers mentioning locations within the bounding box you draw. As a word of caution, make sure that you click the search button at the bottom of the long string of journal titles, not the one after the additional GeoRef options. That one won't save any of your search's basic information.
  • Meeting information — Suffering from conference/symposium/meeting haze, but remember the topic you heard presented on? Use this to narrow down to specific meeting locations or dates.
  • Author + Author Affiliation — This helps you find works by a specific researcher.

Let's look at an example. I decided to search for research that contains the term paleomagnetism in the title and Africa in the abstract. The search gives me 218 GeoRef results.

The Advanced Search, with only GeoRef Record selected, that shows the example search I described above.

Note 1: If I had kept all of the other options checked, like journal article and so on, I would have found 238 results.

Note 2: If you're using Boolean searching, the "Add Group" function will set up a way for you to AND/OR/NOT two separate groupings of terms. This is most useful for heavy-duty searching.

My results for the paleomagnetism and Africa search.

The result set includes many GeoRef records.

GeoRef - where is the Yale Links button (bottom of the page)

As shown in the image above, the YaleLinks button is located at the bottom of the individual item record. You can use CTRL (Windows/Linux) or ⌘ (Mac) + ↓ to quickly go to the bottom of the page.

If the Yale Links button doesn't show, it means that there may not be an online version; sometimes, however, things that are online somewhere (digitized or otherwise) may not show the button. There is still a way to seamlessly get to where you need to go. First, click on the article title to get to the record page. Now, you have three options.

(1) Click on the DOI in the individual GeoRef record, if there is a DOI.

A portion of a record that contains the DOI.

(2) Use the DOI and the YUL citation lookup tool to find the information, which is available on the Journals A-Z page.

The search on the online journals page for DOI fulfillment.

(3) Because older articles (like this one from 1961) may not have DOIs, you can use the YUL citation lookup form to find these. Since we likely have these in print and not online, depending on how far back our online access goes, you can also search the catalog for the journal title and request a scan of the article.

The citation lookup page for electronic articles.

This should get you started with using GeoRef. Good luck!

ProQuest's Natural Science Collection combines several of the vendor's databases into one product with a single search box:

  • Agricultural & Environmental Science Collection
  • Meteorological and Geoastrophysical Abstracts
  • Biological Science Database
  • Earth, Atmospheric & Aquatic Science Database

Coverage runs from 1946-present, with robust, human-curated indexing. It will be particularly useful to researchers performing advanced searches, with time-saving search limits.

Its full-text resources range from scholarly journals, trade and industry journals, and technical reports to magazines, conference proceedings, and government publications. Notable items within the database are the Water Resources Abstracts, EIS: Digest of Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Engineering Abstracts, Pollution Abstracts, Meteorological and Geoastrophysical Abstracts, and Toxicology Abstracts.

Examples of useful search limits include:

  • Anywhere except full text – Useful for when you don't want the noise of retrieving everything in the full text of every paper, but are okay with having term(s) in the title, abstract, keyword, orother fields.
  • Abstract – This searches only the abstract.
  • Author affiliation – When you want to look at what specific institutions are doing, this is a useful limit to use.

Depending on what you're searching for, the advanced search will also allow you to search for conference names, report numbers, sponsors, publishers, and more. You can also search the collection individually from the main page.

The following screenshots will walk you through a quick search within the Natural Science Collection.

Starting from the main page, let's do a search for geochemistry deep marine sediments.

The main search screen for the Natural Science collection.

In the results set, we can limit to full text or peer-reviewed resources in the left-hand menu. In the main results set, a searcher can view the abstract/details or click the Yale Links button to find full text for items that are not in ProQuest.

The results set screen.

Items that are present in ProQuest will have links to the full text. Some may have an open access symbol at the far right. Items with a greater level of indexing will display mini thumbnails of images found within the paper.

More results.

On the results set screen, we can also use the left sidebar to select some sub-databases included in the Natural Science Collection. Let's select a few of them.

Narrowing down to selected databases.

When you apply a search results filter, the applied filters will show in the left sidebar. Click the X to remove any of the options from your selection.

Our filtered results set.

When we click on a record, some other types of information will appear. Here, we see clickable subjects, classifications, and identifier/keywords.

Clickable links on a specific item record in the database.

Clicking on a subject will take us back to the search. Below is everything that has the subject "deep sea sediments" applied. Please note that some other terms may be more useful for finding a thorough results set.

The deep sea sediments subject search.

The screenshot examples have shown you the basic search. The advanced search is located in the link bar below the name "Natural Science Collection." Once there, you can construct an advanced query.

Advanced search queries in the database.

Feel free to contact me with any specific questions about using the database.

Theses and Dissertations

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) provides a very comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses and is the official digital dissertations archive for the Library of Congress. The database provides full text for most dissertations after 1997, and older materials that have not been digitized are available for purchase as printed copies.

What if we don't have it?

First, visit our Get It @Yale page to familiarize yourself with our services.

If we do not have access to a resource, use our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. It comes at no cost to you, and it is great for journal articles, dissertations, and hard-to-find items.

We also have a service called Borrow Direct, which is useful for physical books and other items. During the pandemic, that service is on hold until we have 4 libraries in the consortium that are prepared to restart inter-institutional borrowing.

Google Scholar Troubleshooting Checklist

Search for the journal you want on this page: If the journal isn't there, we probably do not have it electronically. If the journal is there, look at the date information below its title. You can also use the Citation Linker to look up a specific article.

Do we have it in print? We don't have electronic back files for all of our journals. Search in QuickSearch Books+ for the journal title and be patient. If it's an international journal — which often means that the original language of the journal is German or Russian — there may be some interesting transliteration or translation idiosyncrasies in the library catalog. English-language names are often mapped to the original language's publication name.

We recommend enclosing any journal title in quotation marks (e.g., "Journal of Interesting Science") so the catalog searches for the phrase instead of each individual word. You can also search for the journal by its 8-digit ISSN. (But be careful, as some journals have multiple ISSNs for electronic, print, and some legacy versions.) If you spend more than 20 minutes on this, send your subject librarian an email. 

If you have tried all of the above and we do not seem to have it, use Interlibrary Loan or contact your subject specialist. 

If you tried everything, it says we have access, and you appear to not have access, several things could be going wrong. First, if you are off-campus, double check that you are on the VPN or that you are using the Yale proxy URL to access the resource.

You can easily tell if you are on the VPN by visiting this page. If you've lost a VPN connection, that page will tell you. If you are using the proxy URL, "" will be somewhere in the URL. You can also try to add to an https:// URL to enable the proxy server. An example of this in practice is

Most often, problems connecting to resources happen because a website has saved cookies in your browser. Clear your browser's cookies for the journal/aggregator's web site and try again. 

If none of the above works, contact your subject specialistYour subject specialist may loop in others, such as the e-resources troubleshooting team.