Earth and Planetary Sciences (formerly Geology)

by Research Assistance – July 1, 2019

Welcome to the library research guide for the fields related to earth and planetary sciences! UC Davis Library provides a wealth of  subscription and licensed resources that can help students, faculty, and researchers identify articles, proceedings,reports, and books in a print or electronic format. The following guide will point you to a selection of specialized resources to help get you started with your research.

In this Guide:

There are numerous databases to help support your research in earth and planetary sciences. Depending upon your topic and purpose you might want to start with GeoRef (one of largest geosciences databases) or a multidisciplinary database such as Web of Science. There are also more specialized database such as Earthquake Engineering Abstracts if your focus is on seismic studies. If you do not know where to start,  Ask a librarian for recommendations.

Covers worldwide technical literature on geology, paleontology, and geophysics. Covers the geology of North America from 1785 to present and geology outside of North America from 1933 to present.
Use Web of Science to find scholarly articles in all disciplines, including geology and geophysics . This database can also be used to identify articles that cite an author or article that you specify. Coverage: 1900 – present.

Indexes journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, and book series in the sciences and more.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists publications and related collections. Includes full-text and abstracts.
Search journals published by GSA
Covers topics in meteorology, climatology, air pollution, astrophysics, atmospheric chemistry & physics, physical oceanography, hydrology, glaciology, and weather forecasting, from 1950s to present.
Worldwide technical literature on the marine and brackish water environments. Oceanic Abstracts can be used to find information on physical and chemical oceanography, geology, geophysics, and geochemistry.

Covers the seismic phenomena, geology, and civil infrastructure – Contents include selected technical reports,conference papers, monographs, and journal articles.

QUAKELINE® is a bibliographic database that covers earthquakes, earthquake engineering, natural hazard and disaster mitigation, and related topics.

Covers the world literature pertaining to technological and engineering aspects of air and water quality, environmental safety, and energy production.

 Beginning with research funded in 2016, all NASA-funded authors and co-authors (both civil servant and non-civil servant) will be required to deposit copies of their peer-reviewed scientific publications and associated data into NASA’s publication repository called NASA PubSpace.

Contains references to Antarctic and Cold Regions scientific publications dating from the early 1900’s. Please note: The Bibliography was last updated September 30, 2011.

Technical Reports:

NTRL (National Technical Reports Library) is from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). NTRL indexes government-sponsored research, development and technical reports and provides full-text access to reports that have been digitized.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center Library hosts an online digital repository of ERDC reports, publications, and more. Search Digital Reports and Publications .

NTRS provides access to planetary science-related citations, full-text online documents, and images and videos. The types of information include: conference papers, journal articles, meeting papers, patents, research reports, images, movies, and technical videos – scientific and technical information (STI) created or funded by NASA.

DTIC helps the Department of Defense (DoD) community access pertinent scientific and technical information to meet mission needs more effectively.

A collaborative project to digitize, archive, and provide persistent and unrestricted access to federal technical reports issued prior to 1975.

Government Publications:

SciTech Connect consolidates the contents of OSTI’s Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database. Provides free public access to over 230,000 full-text documents and bibliographic citations of Department of Energy (DOE) research report literature.  Documents are primarily from 1991-present and were produced by DOE, the DOE contractor community, and/or DOE grantees.

The materials in this repository include information by and about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Most materials were published by USACE, but some collections contain materials by other government agencies written about USACE.

The database provides access to the publications of the USGS and includes references to U.S. Geological Survey reports and maps published from 1880 to date.

Search the Environmental Protection Agency Web site or search the EPA National Catalog for EPA technical publications and reports. searches over 60 databases and over 2200 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results.

Library Catalog  (formerly Harvest Catalog)

The Library Catalog tells you what the UC Davis library owns, what the call number is, where it is located, and whether or not it is checked out.  If there is an electronic version that we subscribe to, the link will be in the catalog.
Use the catalog to locate books, journals, government documents, dissertations, maps, music scores & recordings, movies, and any other materials the library owns.

MELVYL UC  Library Catalog                  Melvyl Help

The MELVYL catalog tells you what all UC campus libraries own, and also searches other institutions.  As with the UCD Library Catalog, MELVYL gives records for books, journals, government documents, dissertations, maps, music scores & recordings, movies, and other materials.
MELVYL does index some articles but is not a good option for searching for articles in the sciences.

The REQUEST button:   allows you to request items from other institutions (UC and non-UC).

GOOGLE Books                                Google Books Help

Library catalogs only search catalog entries (author, title, subject indexing, etc) not the full text of the book
Google Books searches full-text of books (only titles that Google has scanned), but you cannot access most of them (because they are still under copyright)

But you can use Google Books to identify titles you might be interested in.
–Use Google Books to search for phrases or topics you are intereted in (works well for technical terms).
–Then search for the title of the book(s) in the UCD Library Catalog or Melvyl

WorldCat Catalog

OCLC catalog: millions of records for books, journal titles and materials in other formats from approximately 12,000 libraries worldwide.  Coverage: 1000 A.D. to the present.

These are great sources for introductions to a topic, background on a topic, definitions, histories, chronologies, and data.

Fact Sheets/ Handbooks:

Available in Print at PSE Library, call no. QE52 .G46 2006

Previous edition published as: AGI data sheets

Available in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, call no: QE431.6.P5 P73 1989 Reference

Available online and in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, call no. QC808.8 .G56 1995

Available in Print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no. QE372.2 .K54 2002 Reference (2008 23rd edition is on order)

Available online and in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, call no. QE366.8 .M55 1995 Reference

Available online and in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call Number: QE433.8 .R63 1995 Reference

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries:

Available in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no. QE5 .D54 2008 Reference

Available online

Available online and earlier edition (2004) available in print at PSE Library Call no QE515 .T69 2004

Available online and in print at PSE Library Reference Collection,  Call no GB450.4 .E533 2005 Reference

Available in Print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no QE5 .E514 1992

Available in Print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no  QE5 .E515 1988 Reference

Available online

Available online and in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no. QC884 .E53 2009 Reference

Available online and older edition is available in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, call no. QE501 .E58 1989

Available in Print at PSE Library Reference Collection, call no.  QE601 .E53 1987 Reference

Available in Print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no QE5 .F33 Reference

Available in print at PSE Library Reference Collection, Call no Z695.1.G43 M84 1995 Reference

Geologic maps can be found in a variety of places at the UCD Library and on the web. They can be found cataloged as individual maps; as supplemental material in books and reports, and journals; and as uncataloged reports. Here are some ways to to locate them.

The Map Collection is located on the lower level of Shields Library and is open Monday through Friday 1 PM to 5 PM except for University Holidays.

The UCD Map Collection is an extensive research-level collection of maps, both print and electronic, and a supporting collection of guides, gazetteers and atlases. The collection emphasizes the Central California Valley area and maps of local importance. The collection also contains many topographic maps and maps of agriculture and agricultural-related subjects from areas with similar climate and growing types to those of the Central Valley. Digital geospatial data are collected with an emphasis on the Central Valley, California and areas related to current and anticipated University research and instruction needs, with an emphasis on data that may be made freely available to the University community.

The NGMDB makes widely available a national archive of standardized maps. The collection is comprised of >90,000 maps from >600 publishers.

There are 4 main avenues: the catalog, the lexicon, the map interface and the historical topographic map collection. The lexicon has stratigraphic information – geologic names, charts, time scales, and guidelines.

Drop-In Hours

The UC Davis Library’s Geospatial Data Specialist provides Drop-In Hours on Mondays from 1:30-3:00 in the DataLab Classroom – room 360 in Shields Library. This time is set aside for any and all questions about spatial data, from simple to complex. Library patrons are always welcome to make an appointment for another time with the Geospatial Data Specialist, Michele Tobias, to discuss spatial data.

Email Lists

UC Davis affiliates can sign up for email lists through the UC Davis Information & Educational Technology’s Sympa list serve manager.  The “Geospatial” email list is a widely-used list for UC Davis faculty, students, staff, and local community members who work with any type of geospatial data.  The list can be used for announcements or questions.

Geospatial Software

The geospatial industry has a number of established, well-respected, and long running free and open source projects that may suit the needs of researchers and students.  The Open Source Geospatial Foundation oversees many of these projects, including QGIS (which runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows).

Esri’s ArcGIS suite of software is available to any UC Davis affiliate. Information on product availability, and licensing guides can be found at

GIS Workstation

The lower level of Shields Library has one GIS workstation that UC Davis students, faculty, researchers, and other staff may to use for a maximum of two hours per day. The workstation room is located near, but outside the Map Room and is open the same hours as the Library. The workstation has the full suite of ArcGIS 10 software (available to campus affiliates) and QGIS 3 (available to anyone).

An 11″ x 17″ color scanner is available for maps and aerial photography.

Workstation use must comply with UC Davis Computer Use Policies and the Library Computer Use Policy as well as the following guidelines:

  • GIS software and data licensed by the library may not be used for commercial purposes.
  • Software and spatial data may be licensed and subject to restrictions on who can use it and how it can be used. We provide GIS users with public domain data and any other data and software that we can under the terms of the licenses.
  • It is advisable to save your data and project files to portable media.

Individual UCD  dissertations and masters theses are cataloged in the Library of Catalog — search for “Dissertations Academic University of California Davis geology”

This page describes how to locate and access UCD titles.

The Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) database is the authoritative source for finding doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. It also provides access to the full-text of all dissertations from University of California campuses since the late 1990s- See
Current Research @ University of California, Davis
Searches all University of California, Davis dissertations published in the Dissertation Abstracts database.

Dissertations & theses from 31 USA colleges & universities, including Ohio State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and North Carolina State University. This is a small subset of published dissertations & theses, but does include some that are not indexed elsewhere. Use in conjunction with other databases such as Dissertations & Theses and PQDT Open. aims to be the best possible resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world.

PQDT Open provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge.

You can Ask a librarian for help if you experience any problems accessing a dissertation or thesis in print or online.

Tools for Managing Citations

Learn how to use and cite information in your papers and projects.

The campus has a licensed subscription to Endnote, which is a bibliographic manager program that is available as software and as a web-based version. Many people use Endnote because of its compatibility with Microsoft Word. The libraries offer help and classes on Endnote.

There are also a wide range of other citation management programs, including web-based platforms. Two popular and useful ones are:

Will you be starting a project from scratch that will require your attention for months, even years OR are you continuing a project started by somebody else?

The Data Management Program is here to help make both of these situations less painful. We can help you with

  • Organization: keep track of your files so that you know what is in them
  • Consistent data entry: design data collection forms in such a way that everybody doing the same experiment records the results the same way every time
  • Database structure: move from unwieldy spreadsheets to databases
  • GIS and maps: consult with our GIS expert on all stages of a project that includes geospatial data, from planning to creating interactive maps.
  • Finding data: not all data sharing portals are obvious, and we can help with that.
  • Cleaning data: stop doing repetitive copy/paste; check out some of our workshops to find a better way
  • Getting credit for data: get your dataset noticed and cited by placing it in the right data repository
  • Note: many funding agencies require that you provide open access to your data!

For more information, visit our website or contact us at