GEL 1 Course Guide

by Jennifer Harbster – November 23, 2021

Welcome! This guide covers finding articles and other information resources for your GEL 1 assignments. Should you have questions or need suggestions on where to start your GEL 1 research you can email me, Jennifer “JJ” Harbster – my contact information is located on the right under my picture.

Jennifer "JJ" Harbster

Research Support Services
Subject Specialist Librarian


In this Guide:

This perspective view of the Santa Barbara region was generated using data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and an enhanced Landsat satellite image (2000 & 1984)

There are numerous databases to help you identify articles and books for your GEL 1 assignment. Depending upon your topic and purpose you might want to start with a general multidisciplinary database or dive into a specialized database that focuses on the earth science/ geology literature.

Multidisciplinary Databases

Library Search:  Library Search is a helpful starting point for cross-disciplinary searching. It searches the Library’s catalog plus over 200 databases.

Academic Search Complete: This multidisciplinary collection offers articles  for most academic topics. Includes both general interest and more specialized articles.

Web of Science: 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.

Specialized Databases or Libraries

The following databases will focus on the geology and earth sciences literature

Earth, Atmospheric and Aquatic Science Database: The database includes specialized references and resources studying the critical issues affecting Earth’s air, land, and water environments.

Georef: 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.

Geological Society of America(GSA): Search journals published by GSA

Earthquake Engineering Abstracts (EEA)Covers the seismic phenomena, geology, and civil infrastructure – Contents include selected technical reports,conference papers, monographs, and journal articles.

Lyell Collection: Access to journals and book series from the Geological Society of London [1811-]. Includes Special Publications, Engineering Geology, Geological Society Memoirs, and Petroleum Geology Conferences.

If you do not know where to start,  Ask Me for recommendations.

2006 Rockslide on Ferguson-Hwy 140 in California along the Merced River about 8 miles west of El Portal and the entrance of Yosemite National Park. Credit: Mark Reid, USGS (March 14, 2016)

Natural Hazard is an unexpected and/or uncontrollable natural event of unusual magnitude that might threaten people.(Natural Hazard in Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards edited by Peter T. Bobrowsky, 2013).

Natural Disasters is the outcome or effect of a natural hazard that harms humans.

Selection of Books  available at UCD Libraries

Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards. Edited by Peter Bobrowsky, 2013. Available as an ebook 

Hyndman, D. (2014). Natural hazards and disasters (4th ed.). Available at Shields Library, call number GB5014.H95

Montz, B., & Tobin, G. (2015). Evolving Approaches to Understanding Natural Hazards. Available as an ebook. 

Duarte, J., Schellart, W., & American Geophysical Union, issuing body. (2016). Plate Boundaries and Natural Hazards. Available as an ebook. 

Keller, E., & DeVecchio, D. (2014). Natural Hazards : Earth’s Processes as Hazards, Disasters, and Catastrophes. Available as an ebook.

On the Web: Research, Academia, Government

When Nature Strikes- The Science of Natural Hazards 

“The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences has partnered with NBC Learn (the educational arm of NBC News) and the Weather Channel to produce a 10-part video series that explores the science of natural disasters and research to avert their human and economic toll.”

Natural Hazards from Science Magazine 

“This page provides an overview of natural hazard research and current events in Science and elsewhere…” Also see Science Magazine’s Special Issue on Natural Hazards (353: 6296, July 15, 2016).

United States Geological Survey (USGS) Natural Hazards Website

This is homepage for the USGS natural hazards programs and activities. It will point you to USGS information and research related to coastal/marine geology, earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, and much more.


HAZLIB is a database of from the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. You can search Hazlib for literature focused on natural hazards and extreme events. Should you identify material using Hazlib you will need to check availability at UCD using Library Search.

Disaster Research Center: University of Delaware: Disaster Research Center (DRC) is the first social science research center in the world devoted to the study of disasters. You can search its publications  from the UDSpace

United National International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)

Search UNISDR Documents and Publications

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information: Natural Hazards Data, Images, and Education

San Andreas fault zone, Carrizo Plains, central California. Photo by R.E. Wallace, USGS

The following are a selection of books that discuss the science of earthquakes, historical earthquakes, and/or the impact of earthquakes on society.

Should you be searching for specific earthquakes by geographical area or fault you can browse the Library Catalog by subject. For example you can search Earthquakes California or San Andeas Fault.

Encyclopedia of the Pacific Rim’s Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes by Bethany D. Rinard Hinga (2015). Available as an ebook.

Earthquake storms: the Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault by John J. Dvorak, (2014). Available at Shields Library, call no. QE606.5.U6 D96

Earthquake and Tsunamis in the Past: a Guide to Techniques in Historical Seismology by  Emanuela Guidoboni and John E. Ebel (2009) . Available f at PSE Library QE539.2.P34 G85

Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, and Earthquakes by John P. Rafferty (2011). Available as an ebook

Earthquakes: Science and Society by David S. Brumbaugh (2010). Available at PSE QE534.3.B78

Earthquake by Andrew Robinson (2013). Available as an ebook

Encyclopedia of Earthquake and Volcanoes. Edited by Alexander Gates and David Ritchie (2007). Available PSE Reference QE521.R58 2007

Earthquake Hazard, Risk and Disasters. Edited by Max Wyss (2014). Available as an ebook

Historical Seismology Interdisciplinary Studies of Past and Recent Earthquakes (2008). Available as an ebook

Earthquake Time Bombs by Roebert Yeats (2015). Available at PSE QE538.8.Y43 2015

Waking the Giant How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes by Bill McGuire (2012). Available as an ebook or in print at PSE Library QC903.M396 2012

On the Web

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program 

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Zone 


San Francisco is Devastated. Front Page from Los Angeles Herald., April 20, 1906

Newspaper articles can be helpful for information to find local, regional, state, and nation news and current events related to geological such as human impact of natural disasters


Search and retrieve full text of the Sacramento Bee from 1985 through the previous day. Excludes advertisements and graphics.

Full-text of the Sacramento Bee newspaper from 1857-1979. In time, coverage will be complete to 1984 where the current online edition begins.

Current full-text content of the Los Angeles Times 1985-Present

The California Digital Newspaper Collection contains over 1,500,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers published from 1846-present, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California.

Search more than 100 California titles, or search a smaller set of Northern California papers under “Local Papers.” Among the California newspapers included are: Davis Enterprise (1997-), Fresno Bee (1986-current), Modesto Bee (1989-current), Orange County Register (1987- current), Sacramento Bee (1984-current), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-current), San Jose Mercury News (1985-current) and San Diego Union-Tribune (2000-current).

Other Mainstream U.S. Newspapers

Current full-text of the New York Times 1980-Present

Current full-text of the Los Angeles Times, New York Times (including the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times Book Review), and the Wall Street Journal. For historical backfiles, see ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

The library subscribes to numerous newspaper databases that cover various time ranges and regions of the world. You can find a complete list of the library’s newspaper databases via the  Newspaper and Current Events Subject Guide.

Geology Book Shelfie, Shields Library. Photo take 10/1/2017 by JJ Harbster

UC Library Search: UCD Library Catalog setting
Replacing UCD Library Catalog on July 27, 2021, the new UC Library Search includes all of the UC library collections.   This setting is specifically for the UC Davis libraries including (for the first time) the holdings of the Law Library. If you Sign in (on top right corner) using your UCD login and Kerberos passphrase, you are prompted with your loan period, can renew books online, and request items that have been checked out to another borrower, or are in storage.

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.


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

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.

When evaluating a source consider the following:

Consider these criteria to determine if your sources are reputable:

Author:  Who produced the information? What can you find about the author’s credentials and affiliations? Are they qualified to write about the topic?

Publication Type:  Where was the item published? Essays in scholarly books and articles in peer-reviewed journals are written by experts and have undergone rigorous scrutiny and editing prior to publication.

Accuracy:  Does the author cite references to support his/her thesis? Are the references also from scholarly and credible sources? Does the information seem to be objective, impartial and free from bias?

Timeframe: When was the source published? Is the information still relevant?

Peer Review, also known as Refereed. 

Peer-reviewed literature is scholarly/ academic research that is reviewed by one or more experts (i.e. peers) in addition to the editor before being accepted for publication.

Peer-Reviewed vs. Scholarly/ Academic

Not all scholarly literature is peer-reviewed. Scholarly literature is written by experts in the field and is typically published in academic journals. However, the editor reviews the article to decided publication- there is no peer review.

Trade and Professional Publications

Trade and professional literature resembles scholarly literature in that it is written by experts in the field (e.g. specialized journalists or technical writers). Its main purpose is to convey information to other members of the profession or trade.  Articles in trade and professional journals will be more like news stories, reports on research, events, and opinions. Also, they are often published by the professional/trade associations for the field.

Popular, News, or General Interest Publications

Popular literature tends to be written by journalists for magazines and newspapers. Newsweek and New York Times are considered popular literature.

How to Identify Peer-Reviewed Articles:

A selection of databases (many from the Proquest platform)  will  include a checkbox to limit to “Peer Reviewed” articles. For journals retrieved from other databases, use the online Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory to locate your journal and then look for the black symbol indicating the publication is “Refereed.”

  • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory
    Reports if a journal is peer reviewed or “refereed”. To the left of the journal title, look for a referee icon. Will also tell you journal circulation and publisher.

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.