Soil Science Information Resources

by Ruth Gustafson – May 20, 2022

This guide is to help you find information and resources related to soil science including:  soil types, soil formation, colloids of the soil, soil as water reservoir, soil aeration/drainage, soil temperature, soil organisms and organic matter, nitrogen cycle, soil minerals, soil acidity/alkalinity, soil trace elements, soil erosion, and soil engineering.

FOR UCD students, faculty, and staff:   Feel free to book an appointment with Ruth for assistance in using these resources or for any questions you may have.   Ruth is continuing with Zoom appointments.  (Exceptions will be made if in-person or phone is the only/best option for the requestor.)

Book an APPOINTMENT with Ruth

Off-Campus Access

  • To access licensed library resources from off-campus, please use the library VPN.

Ruth Gustafson

Student Services
Student Services and Researcher Services Librarian


In this Guide:

Searching in a library catalog requires looking for broader topics such as soil conservation or soil fertility rather than the more specific semi-arid agriculture soil conservation  or biochar and soil fertility.

  • 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.

UC Library Search: User Guide

  • Understanding Call Numbers

    Author: Library Instruction Services, Shields Library

    Library of Congress Classification is used for all of the UCD libraries except the health sciences libraries (which use NLM — National Library of Medicine — classification). Learn about how books are arranged in the UCD libraries with this guide.

    Date: 2004

UC Davis California Soil Resource Lab

Includes SoilWeb Apps.

Resources from the United States Department of Agriculture

Ag Data Commons

Repository covering a variety of agricultural topics, such as agronomy, genomics, hydrology, soils, agro-ecosystems, sustainability science, and economics. Data included in the Ag Data Commons is funded in whole or in part by USDA.

Natural Resources Conservation Service 

Soil Biology Primer

An introduction to the living component of soil and how it contributes to agricultural productivity and air and water quality. The online Primer includes chapters describing the soil food web and its relationship to soil health and chapters about soil bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and earthworms.

Official Soil Series Descriptions

These official soil series descriptions are descriptions of the taxa in the series category of the national system of classification.

Keys to Soil Taxonomy

Available in English and Spanish.

Soil Geography and Maps

Soil maps and GIS resources.

USDA NRCS Soil Surveys

Includes information on the history of soil surveys, how to use soil surveys, and links to online soil surveys

Web Soil Survey

Provides both tabular and spatial data and allows you to create a custom soil resource report for your specific area of interest.

California Soil Surveys

Published Soil Surveys for California counties. For historical soil surveys (not in the web soil survey) that say ‘archived pdf online’, information on viewing the maps can be found here.

Technical Resources  

National conservation practice standards, assessment data, maps, and analysis.

Resources from the Food and Agriculture Organization (United Nations)

Harmonized World Soil Database

A raster database that combines existing regional and national updates of soil information worldwide with the information contained within the 1:5 000 000 scale FAO-UNESCO Soil Map of the World (FAO, 1971-1981).  Display or query composition in terms of soil units, and soil parameters (organic Carbon, pH, water storage capacity, soil depth, cation exchange capacity of the soil and the clay fraction, total exchangeable nutrients, lime and gypsum contents, sodium exchange percentage, salinity, textural class and granulometry).

FAO Soils Portal: Legacy Soils Maps and Soil Databases

Includes links to regional and national soil maps and datasets.

World Soil Information

Soil class and property information from more than 100,000 soil profiles worldwide, compiled and harmonized by the International Soil Reference and Information Centre for over 50 years.  Online access to 8,000 maps and 15,000 reports and books, digitized from what may be the world’s largest library on soils.

Climate Data Online (National Climate Data Center, NOAA)

Provides downloadable data from weather stations worldwide, free to users from educational institutions by request.  Hourly data available include: temperature, precipitation, wind speed and wind direction.

Environmental Protection Agency Publications (National Service Center for Environmental Publications, US EPA)

A searchable database of digitized EPA publications.