Alesia McManus

Research Support Services
Subject Specialist Librarian, Lead


In this Guide:

This database covers environmental science topics from disciplines such as atmospheric science, biology, biotechnology, ecology, engineering, and microbiology.   It also covers agricultural research including agricultural economics, animal and veterinary sciences, aquaculture and fisheries, farming and farming systems, food and human nutrition, forestry, and plant sciences.  It includes Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Digests and all the records from the National Agricultural Library’s AGRICOLA database. Has full text content and indexing of peer-reviewed and trade journals, magazines, books, news sources, government publications, reports, working papers, conference papers and proceedings.



Designed for those who need to know what’s happening to issues on Capitol Hill. From federal agency appropriations to comprehensive energy legislation, E&E Daily is the place insiders go to track their environmental and energy issues in Congress.

Coverage: January 2012 - present
Tags: Energy, Environmental Science, Government, News, Public Policy, Science

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. Also includes GeoRef In Process database and Earth Sciences Deep Indexing.

Coverage: 1785-present
Tags: Forensics, Geology, Geophysics, Paleontology, Science

The USGS Publications Warehouse contains: Full text and maps for over 40,000 USGS publications, citations for over 70,000 USGS publications, and USGS numbered series from as early as 1880. Biological series released by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Biological Survey prior to creation of the Biological Resources Division in USGS are included in this database. Non-USGS series publications authored by USGS employees are currently NOT included.

Coverage: 1880 - present
Tags: Geology, Geophysics, Hydrology, Science

More than 25 million records in all life science areas, including agriculture, biochemistry, biomedicine, biotechnology, ecology, environmental sciences, genetics, microbiology, plant biology, veterinary medicine & pharmacology, and zoology. Indexes over 6000 journals, serials, books and book chapters, conference proceedings and patents.

• Quick Reference Card: BIOSIS Previews, 2010
 Online BIOSIS information 
 Saving Your Search & Setting Alerts

Provides citations and abstracts to the international agricultural literature, including veterinary medicine, human and animal nutrition, forestry, rural development, as well as other related topics such as tourism and human ecology. Covers over 11,000 journals & conference proceedings and selected books in agriculture. Produced by CAB (Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux) International (CABI) with more than 10 million records.

HISTORICAL SCOPE: Archive abstracts added in August 2005 go back to 1910 with 1,860,000 additional records. CAB DATABASE PDFs: As of January 2009, hard-to-find literature may be available as CAB Database PDFs (so noted *below* the UC-eLinks button).  These CABI Full Text items give users automatic access to over 350,000 journal articles, conference papers and reports – 80% of which are not available electronically anywhere else. NOTE: the default UCD Search Type is set to Advanced Ovid Search.

Coverage: 1910-present
Tags: Agriculture, Animals, Ecology, Plants, Science
Related links: Database Guide[OvidSP]

Critical reporting on daily news and events pertaining to the climate and its effect on business, society and the environment.

See also the related resources linked from this site: EnergyWire; E&E Daily; Greenwire; E&E NewsPM; E&E TV; and Reports.

Coverage: January 2012 - present
Tags: Climate, Environmental Science, Government, Public Policy, Science

Compendex is the most comprehensive bibliographic database of engineering research literature, containing references to over 5000 engineering journals and conferences. About half the citations (from 2600 journals and conferences) include abstracts and indexing in the records.

EPA’s central repository of all EPA documents with over 7,000 titles available in paper or electronic form.



The one-stop source for those who need to stay on top of all of today’s major environmental and energy action. With an average of more than 25 stories a day, Greenwire covers the complete spectrum, from electricity industry restructuring to Clean Air Act litigation to public lands management.

Coverage: January 2012 - present
Tags: Energy, Environmental Science, Government, Public Policy, Science

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.

Indexes all types of materials in the area of public affairs and public policy – journal articles, books and book chapters, reports, government documents. Topics include agriculture, banking, demographics, education, environment, finance, government, health, law, legislation, political science, social sciences, and statistics.



Large interdisciplinary abstract and citiation database to academic journal literature, conference proceedings and books with broad coverage across the sciences and social sciences, includes citation tracking tools.

Coverage: full coverage from 1996-present, with selected coverage as far back as 1823
Tags: Art, Biology, Humanities, Multidisciplinary, Science, Social Science

Springer eBooks includes more than 60,000 titles in English (and selectively in German) from every scientific discipline and many social sciences. Coverage: 2005-2017. This online interface enables all books to be searchable at the full-text level. Scope (textbook areas are starred) ranges from Architecture and Design, *Behavioral Science, *Biomedical and Life Sciences, *Business and Economics, *Chemistry and Materials Science, *Computer Science, *Earth and Environmental Science, *Engineering, *Humanities & Social Sciences and Law, *Mathematics and Statistics, *Medicine, *Physics and Astronomy, to Professional and Applied Computing. NEW books are added monthly.


Coverage: 2005-2016
Tags: Multidisciplinary is a brand new platform for all academic, science, technology and medical e-Book content from Taylor & Francis and its imprints: CRC Press, Routledge, and Garland.

Web of Science combines traditional bibliographic searching of journal content across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences with broadly interdisciplinary “cited reference” search capabilities.

Quick Reference Guide: Web of Science Core Collection
Saving Your Search & Setting Alerts
Creating Citation Alerts for Current Awareness

Coverage: See above description (varies between 9 indexes)
Tags: Science

Comprehensive reference guide with complete definitions of terms in hydrogeology and other fields closely related to water practice.

Glossary of water-related terms from the California Department of Water Resources.

The Water Resources Collections & Archives (WRCA) acquires, preserves, and provides access to materials that document water-related issues throughout the United States and beyond, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting the state of California.  The physical archives are located at UC Riverside.

Water-related terms compiled from a number of sources by the US Geological Survey (USGS).

These are federal and international sources of information.  See California Water Resources for state and regional information.

Global database of river discharge data from the Global Runoff Data Center which is an International data center operating under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Describes the ground-water resources of regional areas that collectively cover the 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The National Water Model (NWM) is a hydrologic model that simulates observed and forecast streamflow for the continental United States.

Data for watersheds from the EPA searchable by geographic location.

Visualize water flow through major streams in the United States by tracing them upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty.

Data tables from The World’s Water series published by the Pacific Institute.

Water is one of seven science mission areas of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Water’s mission is to collect and disseminate reliable, impartial, and timely information that is needed to understand the Nation’s water resources.

From the EPA’s Office of Water. Includes informative articles, educational resources, grant information, and regulatory reports.

The Water Education Foundation’s online water encyclopedia contains vetted information about the places, people and topics key to water in the West.

Provides access to statewide and county land use survey data sets for the past 30 years.

The CDEC operates an extensive hydrologic data collection network including snow reporting gages and and precipitation and river stage sensors for flood forecasting.

DWR manages California’s water resources, systems, and infrastructure, including the State Water Project (SWP).

Informative blog on California water topics from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. 

The California Water Plan is the State government’s strategic plan for managing and developing water resources statewide.

California water data from the US Geological Survey.

This tour is a compilation of videos describing the physical, legal and water management issues in the California water landscape.  From the UC Davis Cooperative Extension Water Management website.

Tool from the Department of Water Resources that shows disadvantaged communities through out the state.

From the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center which focuses on three critical challenges to California water: water supplies, healthy and resilient ecosystems, and droughts and floods.

California water & drought related news from the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Data from monitoring stations throughout the state of California.

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

Finding existing GIS data is a common but often difficult task.  Sometimes the data you would like is simply not available, but other times it’s just difficult to find.  Here are some strategies for finding data.

Search Engines

Searching for data online is going to require a search engine.  Many search engines have advanced options that can help narrow down a search or restrict the results.  For example, Google has menus for Settings and Tools, as well as searches targeted to specific results like images.

Search Terms

Keep your search terms broad.  Also, try synonyms for terms you are interested in.  For example, if you were looking for a shapefile of beaches in California, you might search try separate searches for “beach shapefile” or “coast shapefile”.  Also, try synonyms for the data type. “GIS”, “map”, “geospatial”, and “shapefile” might find different but relevant results.

Think about how data might be developed or what kinds of layers would go into your analysis rather than terms that define your final product.  For example, you might be interested in identifying areas considered a “food desert” but you might need to look for layers for “census data” and “grocery store locations”.


Search results for geospatial data often fall into one of three categories.

  1. Good: blog posts explaining where to find data, why there is a lack of data, or what tools could be of use for your field.
  2. Better: Question board responses on sites like Stack Exchange. These can be a treasure trove of solutions, but also frustrating if your question was posted a while ago and has no answers.
  3. Best: Sites like repositories with links to download the data you are looking for. Don’t forget to check for metadata so you have some provenance for your data.


Data Repositories

Data repositories are places that store data.  Many public repositories are themed by subject or by the entity that produces the data.  For example, many California counties, the State of California, and the federal government have their own repositories for GIS data, including repositories for specific agencies.  Data Basin is an example of subject-specific repository that focuses on data for environmental stewardship.


Academic Publications

Researchers in your field may be using datasets that are useful for your research.  Read the methods section and citations list to look for sources of datasets and links to how to access the data.


Ask for help

On campus, talk to the Library’s GIS Data Curator or ask on the Geospatial email list.  If the data you need is from a particular place, such as a county or conservation organization, you may be able to contact the organization’s GIS, data, or IT staff to ask about the availability of data.  Additionally, posting in online forums (such as the aforementioned Stack Exchange), websites, or social media using keywords that describe the data you need (see the discussion above about synonyms) and hashtags to get a broader audience can be fruitful.

Drop-In Hours

The UC Davis Library’s Data Management Program provides Drop-In Hours with the GIS Data Curator on Wednesdays from 2:00-4:00 in the Map Room on the lower level of 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 GIS Data Curator, 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, and staff 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).

Software for purchase, including ESRI’s ArcMap suite of software, is available through the UC Davis Information & Educational Technology’s Software page.

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.

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.