Skip to main content

Critical Zone Science: Home

Each student should define a topic of interest, select five appropriate sources, produce an annotated bibliography and refine their research questions based on what they have read.


This list includes websites that may be useful if your topic relates to any of these website's specific content area.

Critical Zone: Selected eBooks

Databases (EBSCO platform)


Search Strategies

Identify your key concepts and related terms.

Example: I am interested in the relationship between agricultural production and heavy metals

Select appropriate search tools and/or sites.

Databases > See all databases > e.g. Science (Environmental) > Science (Environmental) databases

Construct a search.  Start with keyword searching. Could be simple or using AND/Or (Boolean Operators).  Join similar terms with OR. Join dissimilar terms with AND

agriculture AND ("heavy metals" OR selenium OR mercury OR cadmium OR lead)

Skim citation and abstract information to determine the usefulness of the source.  Viewing an introduction or conclusion can be helpful too. Sometimes a snippet is available on the results lists.  You may have to click on the article titles, or click on a preview to see the abstract.
Revise search as needed.  Too many or too few results?  Is this a suitable search tool?  Am I retrieving relevant results? irrigation AND "heavy metals"
Consider searching for certain terms in specific fields. e.g. Title field

mercury OR  cadmium (Title) AND irrigation (All Fields)

Use options to Limit or Refine e.g. by Date or Document type (original research articles, review articles ...) e.g. Science Direct > Advanced Search > Journals tab > has a Limit by Document Type section
Find a highly relevant article and look for "Related Articles". e.g. on full record in Science Direct, see "Related Articles" box at right
View bibliographies for references to other resources or organizations.  Search for the known item or known organization. e.g. I found a reference in an article called "Bioavailability of Heavy Metals in Soil" to an ebook called Alternatives for Groundwater Cleanup.
Search for variations of a word using a truncation symbol (*) at the end of the terms. e.g. metal* will search for metal, metals, metallic, metalorganic, etc.
Look for a phrase, using quotation marks " ". e.g. "agricultural irrigation", "critical zone"

Find a Known Item

Already have a citation for a book or article?  Try the following:

Search in Melvyl.

Search in Google Scholar, especially for article titles.

If a journal article, check to see if we have the journal for that year.  Use e-Journals tab in QuickSearch.

Sample Citation:  Ch(r)isti, Y. 2007. "Biodiesel from microalgae." Biotechnol Adv. 25:294-306.

Sample Citation (missing article title): Zhang, Y., Lynd, L.R. Biotechnol. & Bioeng. 88, 797 (2004).

How would we go about finding these?

Deputy University Librarian

Donald Barclay's picture
Donald Barclay
UC Merced Library

Room KL 275 E

5200 N. Lake Rd.

Merced, CA 95343


ORCID: 0000-0002-9170-4438

Chat with a Librarian 24/7


Access Resources

Look for pdfs or html icons to access full-text immediately. 

Click the UC-eLinks button to access full-text.  You may be taken directly to the article, or you may be prompted to click on another hyperlink. 

If the UC-eLinks does not offer an online option, use Request to order through Interlibrary Loan.  Note:  If the item is a book chapter, search in the Melvyl catalog first in case we have a print version.

If you Request an item (article, book etc.) your Library account is your UCMnetID.

Citing Sources


Research & Academics > Citing Sources > RefWorks

  • RefWorks offers numerous citation styles.

Visit News & Events  on the Library website for upcoming workshops.

Process for Exporting Citations to RefWorks:

  • Select items of interest.
  • Go to the "Marked List" / "Folder" etc.
  • Select Download.
  • Often there is an Export to RefWorks option.


See if a book etc. you are using is located in Melvyl.  Find it.  Click on the title.  Click on Cite/Export. Select a citation style and copy & paste.

Databases - Chart