Geology & Geophysics

Useful databases of specific importance to the Geosciences:

Research Help



Geology & Geophysics Research and the Marriott Library

 Where to start?...

Marriott Library Home Page

            Library Catalog           


            Online Journals  Click on the Online Journals link in the Left Side bar of the Library's Home Page.



This resource is available to University of Utah users only

·         EndNote Web delivers tools to:

·         Search online resources

·         Collect and organize references

·         Format citations and footnotes or a bibliography


Useful databases of specific importance to the Geosciences:



Additional Library Resources

Glossary of Geology. QE 5 B38 2005  Level 1.

Other specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks for the geosciences can be found in the QE section, Level 1.



The Map Collection has about 250,000 sheets. We attempt to have medium-scale coverage (1:250,000 or 4 miles to the inch) of all land areas of the world. In addition, we collect national atlases, geologic maps, street maps of large or often-visited cities, and gazetteers. We receive virtually all maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey. These include the nearly 60,000 sheets of topographic maps which make up the most detailed published maps of the country. We have many maps from the Army Map Service and its successors (the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA))[this website is under construction as of 16 December 2009], and nautical charts from the Office of Coast Survey, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The library tries to obtain all published maps on Utah and nearby areas for either the Map Collection or Special Collections. The library owns some satellite imagery of Utah, but very few aerial photographs.

     Finding Maps

Search the online catalog to see what we own. An advanced keyword search is often the most effective since one seldom knows the exact name of a map or cartographer.

title keyword: salt lake city
subject keyword: maps
general keyword: 2002

If you don't find anything under the geographic name you have used, try a more inclusive name. Maps are often published as large sheets or sets, and the area you want may be covered on a map of a broader area, e.g. berkeley to alameda county to san francisco metropolitan area. Publishers feel that the market or audience for thematic maps is limited, therefore subject maps may not exist for many areas. National and state atlases are good sources of specialized subject maps.

Map publishing is complicated; we may have coverage of an area as part of a much larger set. Don't hesitate to ask the Map Librarian, Ken Rockwell  (801-581-8324) or the Level One Reference Desk (801-581-8394) for help.  Most maps can be checked out.



Web Links

Utah Geological Survey
Site emphasizes information useful to both citizens and local professional geologists: natural hazards, mineral industries, mapping, dinosaurs, rock collecting, etc.

U.S. Geological Survey
Exceptional collection of interactive services. Find maps, photos, place names, data sets, geologic unit names. Good background information and links for issues of public concern like natural hazards.

View USGS Maps and Aerial Photo Images Online
Links to major sites which have loaded aerial photographs and USGS topographic maps.

* * * *

How to Evaluate the Information Resources You Find? Use the criteria below to evaluate both print and web-based resources.


Initial Appraisal:

1.       Author—are there credentials readily available? Institutional affiliation (where he or she works), educational background, past writings, or experience?

2.       Date of publication – When was the source published? Find the date of the journal article, or book.  On Web pages, the date of the last revision is usually at the bottom of the home page, sometimes every page.  Is the information current or out-of-date?

3.       Title of journal – Is it scholarly or popular? This distinction is important because it indicates different levels of complexity in conveying ideas.  Scholarly journal articles often have an abstract, a descriptive summary of the article contents, before the main text of the article.  Scholarly articles always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. These bibliographies are generally lengthy and cite other scholarly writings. Popular publications or magazines rarely, if ever, cite sources. Information published in such journals is often second or third hand and the original source is sometimes obscure or not even mentioned.


Content Analysis

1.       Intended audience-- What type of audience is the author addressing?  Is the publication aimed at a specialized or a general audience? Is this source too elementary, too technical, too advanced, or just right for your needs?

2.       Objective reasoning-- Is the information covered fact, opinion, or propaganda?  Does the author use the scientific method and does she/he discuss the methodology used in their research? Are the conclusions supported by the evidence and observations?

3.       Coverage—is the information primary or secondary in nature?  Primary sources are based on the raw data and observations that report the results of their research?  Secondary sources are based on an analysis and compilation of primary sources.

4.       Writing style-- Is the publication organized logically? Are the main points clearly presented? Do you find the text easy to read, or is it stilted or choppy? Is the author's argument repetitive?

5.       URL domain -- Preferred domains include .edu, .gov, .org, or .net  Is the domain appropriate for the content?

a.       Government sites: look for .gov, .mil, .us, or other country code

b.       Educational sites: look for .edu

c.       Nonprofit organizations: look for .org

d.       If from a foreign country, look at the country code and read the page to be sure who published it.

e.       For more information on how to evaluate web pages, go to this link:


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