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FES 445/545: Ecological Restoration (Reed)

Library instruction page for term project.

Accessing Library Databases

You want to make your case with the best evidence.  The library purchases access to indexing databases which help you to identify articles on specific topics. Most databases are not freely available to the public and are only licensed to OSU Libraries for the OSU community of users.  They are independent of the holdings of any one library.  

To begin using these databases and locating articles in peer reviewed journals and other reliable resources, start on the OSU Libraries home page

    • Use the "FIND IT" tab and click on "Databases," then use the alphabet menu provided to locate the database you want to use, or use the "Refine by Subject" drop down menu to sort available databases by subject area.
    • If you are not on campus, you will encounter the "ez-proxy server" asking you to authenticate yourself as a qualified OSU user by entering your ONID username and password.

    Finding articles in the ecological restoration literature

    The Valley Library subscribes to several databases which index peer-reviewed scientific journal articles relevant to natural resource issues and topics.   The process of "peer-review" (sometimes called "refereeing") is discipline and journal specific.   It is intended to assure that the articles in that journal represent good scientific methodology and are regarded as a contribution to the literature of that field of study.  If in doubt about whether a journal contains peer reviewed articles, ask.

    Most databases noted in this guide will index a high percentage of "refereed" journals and therefore contain very high percentage of peer reviewed articles. They may also include first hand reporting of research findings or state-of-the-art reviews from other reporting sources such as federal agency reports, dissertations, conference proceedings, professional journals, etc.   All of these may prove useful resources for framing and addressing your research question.

    Databases for Restoration Ecology

    When considering a database, it is important to be aware of its content including:

    • Subject coverage
    • Types of publications indexed in the database e.g., research journals, scientific magazines, conference proceedings
    • Dates of coverage

    Try these databases to search for articles relevant to ecological restoration.   Once you have done a search in one or all of these databases you should have a list of articles which are potentially relevant to your selected site and the issues that need to be considered in its restoration.

    Tips on searching databases

    Keyword searching:

    • Most databases are very literal.
    • If you search for "logging" but an article only refers to the term "clearcuts" you will not get that article.
    • So, thinking about your topic and generating useful search terms is your first step

    Controlled Vocabulary

    • Some databases (e.g. CAB Abstracts, library catalogs) have a "controlled vocabulary" (a thesaurus).
    • If available, this is database feature is useful because it provides a consistent way to retrieve references to books and articles on a topic that may have many terms all referring to the same concept.

    Combine terms using the Boolean Operators AND/OR /NOT:

    • AND narrows your search (fewer results)
    • OR broadens your search (more results)
    • NOT removes a word that connotes the wrong context (unpredictable results)
    • If you have words that express different concepts use an AND
    • If you need a variety of words to get at the same concept, use an OR

    Truncation and Wildcards:

    • Most databases allow for a symbol (often a * )to be used at the end of a word stem so that you don't have to type all the variant endings of that word.
    • This is known as a truncation symbol.
    • The symbols used for truncation may be different from one database to another.
    • Use the database's help menu to see what truncation symbol to use.
      (Example: forest* will retrieve forest, forests, forestry, etc.)

    Useful websites for ecological restoration

    Listed below are websites that you may find useful in providing references for your paper and for acquiring background information.  Consider each as only one of many tools.

    For more information on maps resources use the library Maps research guide.

    For access to Forest Geodata use the Forest Service Geodata Clearinghouse

    For a link to people consider use the Society for Ecological Restoration International

    For a link to a digital document collection of interest at Northern Arizona University use the Ecological Restoration Institute Library

    For Natural Heritage data and information use the NatureServe website

    Oregon Municipal and County Planning Documents have been digitized by the University of Oregon's ScholarsBank  -- use "" around your search terms like "balch creek" or "forest park"

    For Natural Resources information on Oregon try the OregonExplorer

    When you are not sure which federal agency may have done current research on a topic Science.gov will be a good search service to try.  It serves as a "gateway to authoritative selected science information provided by U.S. Government agencies, including research and development results."