This page introduces features available in the Engineering Village Compendex database. Many of these strategies and options are available in other databases but may look different based on the producer of the resource. If you have questions about how to use any of the resources available on the engineering research guides, contact the librarian listed on the guide.
Note: On all of the Engineering Research Guides you will find the librarian's contact information and a mechanism for requesting an appointment (which can be in-person or virtual).
The "Auto Suggest" feature in Engineering Village Compendex suggests terms that retrieve the best results. In the example here, a search for "photovoltaic cells" is a useful term. The recommended term for "photovoltaic generators (solar)" is "solar cells." Clicking on the recommended term (Solar cells) will identify all the items where that phrase is included in the record.
To make the search even more relevant, search for the term as an "Ei controlled term" as shown below. Terms recommended by the system are generally available as Ei controlled terms. Records are only given Ei controlled terms if they are enough about that topic to warrant the term being applied. In this example, photovoltaic cells in all fields retrieves 75,070 items whereas searched as an Ei controlled term finds 39,356 records. Although the search finds fewer, the sources found will be more relevant.
Use the keywords you identified build your search by creating a separate "set" for each concept. The example below illustrates combining a variety of terms related to solar power and combining them together using "OR". This step finds all the items that use these terms. Then, do a new search using the terms identified for the other concept, for example parking structures.
After creating both sets (or as many as you need for the concepts in your topic), combine the sets together with "AND" to create a final set that contains sources that discuss both concepts. The numbered steps below illustrate how to combine sets in Compendex. Start with the "Search History," then check the boxes for the sets you want to combine. If you have conducted more than two searches, click on "Show all" at the bottom of the Search History box and select the sets to combine.
In this example, the combined search results contain 378 sources that discuss solar energy on parking structures.
Now, look at the results to see if the sources are useful.
Examine more closely some of the sources that seem the most relevant to your search by clicking on the title of the article. A few of the important areas to look at are highlighted in the example record below. The terms used in the search are highlighted in yellow.
Most databases include a variety of types of sources, sometimes for many years and possibly in languages other than English. Further refine your search by using the limiters on the left side of the screen.
Limiters can include:
Once you've chosen your limiters, click on the "Limit to" button to search again with your refinements.
As you look through your results, you'll need to identify whether the source is available to you through the library. Click on the SFX button as illustrated below to find out options for access.
In these examples, SFX shows that SDSU does not subscribe to this journal, so to read this article you would need to request it through interlibrary loan.
For the second item, SFX provides a direct link to the article. Simply click on the "Full Text Online" link and the article should open in your browser. When accessing resources from off-campus or to request an article through interlibrary loan, you will need to enter your SDSU user name and password (use the credentials you use to access MyState or your email).