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M E 466: Multidisciplinary Engineering Design

Guide to using library resources for students in ME 466.

Papers & Articles

Peer-reviewed papers are important sources of information for design projects, but even papers that have not been as strictly reviewed (such as conference papers and trade publications) can be useful. Compendex is the easiest place to find this type of information for all engineering disciplines.

Compendex is an index, so it doesn't contain the actual text of most of the articles it searches. Use the Get It @ ISU link to check the ISU Library collections for the article(s) you want. If we have what you want, you'll be connected automatically (you may be asked to choose from multiple sources). If we don't have it, you'll have the option to request it from Interlibrary Loan -- it'll even fill out the request form for you. It usually takes less than 24 hours to get a copy of whatever you need, and there's no charge, so don't be afraid to request potentially useful articles!

Compendex also links up with Scopus. Why is this feature useful? Scopus tracks citations among papers. So if you find a useful paper with Compendex, you can use the link with Scopus to discover newer papers that cite the one you just found. Finding one useful paper and analyzing its references list (the older papers it cites) and the list of newer papers that cite it can save a lot of time and searching.

Because Compendex is extremely comprehensive, you may not need to do much searching in other databases to find what you need. If you have trouble finding what you need using Compendex, contact your librarian or try one of these databases:

Google Scholar

If you've used Google Scholar for research before, you've probably noticed that you find citation information for lots of articles that you can't access. You may have even run into websites that ask you to pay $30, $40, or more to access a single article. That's because Google Scholar doesn't know you're affiliated with ISU unless you tell it that you are! To access some ISU Library subscriptions through Google Scholar, follow the instructions below:

  • Go to
    • You can perform these steps without a Google Account but signing in will save your changes so that they work across multiple devices.
  • Click the icon showing three horizontal bars on the top left of the webpage.
  • From this menu click Settings and then click Library links.
  • In the search box on the Library links page, enter iowa state
  • You’ll see three different options. Check the box for Iowa State University – ViewIt@ISU.
  • Click Save.

Then just use the ViewIt@ISU link on each item record to check against the ISU Library's collections, just like with Compendex. (If you're off campus you'll have to sign in with your Net ID and password.) If we have what you want, you'll be connected automatically. If we don't, you'll have the option to request it from Interlibrary Loan.

How to get materials through interlibrary loan

Through a database

If you've used a database (like Google Scholar, Compendex, or Scopus) to identify a useful paper, but Get It @ ISU can't find a source for the full text, try Interlibrary Loan (ILL)!

  • Below the "No full text available" message, choose Request from Interlibrary Loan
  • Log in with your Net ID and password
    • You may need to do some initial setup if you haven't used ILL before
  • In most cases, the form will be filled out for you already - just click submit!

Through ILLiad

ILLiad is the system the ISU Library uses for interlibrary loan requests.

  • Click Interlibrary Loan on the Library homepage
  • Log in with your Net ID and password
    • You may need to do some initial setup if you haven't used ILL before
  • Choose the type of request from the menu (book, book chapter, article, standard, etc.)
  • Fill out the form and submit

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take?

Articles, conference papers, and other digital materials usually take less than 24 hours, but can take as long as 72 hours. Physical items (such as entire books) will need to ship to the library and thus take longer.

How much does it cost?

ILL is free for ISU students and faculty. The exception would be if you need something shipped from overseas, in which case there is a nominal fee.

Erin Thomas's picture
Erin Thomas
150 Parks Library
Iowa State University
515 294-9886