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M E 415: Mechanical Systems Design

Learn about tools for finding articles, books, standards, and prior art for the Mechanical Engineering capstone design class. This guide also includes tips and techniques engineering students need to know for conducting successful library research.

Tips & strategies for successful library research

The pages in this section contain tips, techniques, and strategies to help you make the most of your library research. Below you'll find my top tips for library research.

Make use of available resources

The ISU Library provides access to a wealth of high quality information resources. From the books in our stacks to the online databases we subscribe to, you have access to more information as a student at Iowa State than you may ever have again. Make the most of it!

Additionally, each subject area at ISU has its own liaison librarian. Liaison librarians are experts in using the information resources in a given field or discipline. If you need help navigating all of the resources at your disposal or developing your search strategy, don't hesitate to contact your librarian!

Plan ahead

It takes time to successfully complete a thorough search for information, so plan ahead! Set some time aside for searching the scholarly and trade literature, looking for patents and standards for similar products, and for reviewing the articles, patents, books, and other relevant resources you do find.

Additionally, the resources you need may not be immediately available at the ISU Library. We can borrow just about anything you need from another library, at no cost to you, but the interlibrary loan process takes time. Articles often arrive within hours or a couple of days, but physical items can take up to 7 business days.