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ME 386W- Engineering Design: The Methods

A guide for the Mechanical Engineering junior level writing course

About Books

Books have lots and lots of pages, so when you need to be informed of something and you need it explained in-depth, that's when you reach for a nonfiction book.

The titles of scientific nonfiction books indicate that they span a broad topic and cover it comprehensively. If you read them, you'd have a thorough overview of these topics. However, people don't always read nonfiction books from cover-to-cover like they do with fiction books. With nonfiction books, you might dip in and find the information you need, using the table of contents at the beginning of the book or the index at the end of the book.

Since the purpose of a nonfiction book is to comprehensively explain a topic over many pages, books take longer to write than other types of sources. Anything that takes longer to write may contain information that becomes outdated before it is even published.

So, books are usually considered less current than many other types of information sources.

Searching for Books

  1. To search for print or ebooks, start on the library's homepage:
  2. Enter your search into the Quick Search
  3. Using the limiters on the left-hand side, select Books under Material Type. You may need to select Show More to find the books option
  4. For print books, select Available in the library under Availability. NOTE: This will limit your search results to books available in the library right now. Books that are checked out will not appear.
    1. Locate the Call Number under the record. That's what you need to find the book in the library!
  5. For ebooks, select Full Text Online under Availability. 
    1. Select the Full Text link in order to read the book in your browser. You may be able to download chapters, but you will not be able to download the entire book to your device.

Quick Search limiters

Book record


About Handbooks

Handbooks are a type of "ready reference" source. That means they're books you can consult quickly to locate information, like a dictionary, encyclopedia, or thesaurus. Handbooks in engineering typically include definitions, background fundamentals, proofs, formulas, examples, and processes

These may be more up-to-date than other nonfiction books, but you still want to make sure to have the most recent version of a handbook in case information has changed or new information has been discovered.