Finding an Article using GeoRef


GeoRef contains references to many geoscience journal articles, books, maps, conference papers, reports, and theses including references to all publications of the U.S. Geological Survey. This tutorial illustrates locating materials from GeoRef. If you are off-campus, use the proxy server by accessing GeoRef using the UA Libraries Catalog or Web site.

Looking Articles on a Topic

Example 1 - African Monsoons
A search using the terms, monsoon and Africa*, was performed. The * symbol is used to find variations in the keywords, such as Africa and African. If a search term is singular (i.e. monsoon), the plural and possessive version of a word are found as well (i.e. monsoons). To perform a more limited search, use a subject search instead of keyword; select publication type (articles, books); or select a date range. You might want to choose the Exclude Abstracts Only checkbox.

Selected Results

Subject terms can be found by viewing the subjects of an article of interest. The subjects for "Impact of monsoons, temperature, and CO (sub 2) on the rainfall and ecosystems of Mt. Kenya during the common era" are below.


    Africa; C-13/C-12; carbon; carbon cycle; carbon dioxide; Cenozoic; climate change; cores; D/H; deglaciation; drought; East Africa; ecosystems; equatorial region; geochemical cycle; Holocene; hydrogen; hydrology;isotope ratios; isotopes; Kenya; lacustrine environment; lake sediments; lake-level changes; leaves; Little Ice Age; monsoons; Mount Kenya; mountains; Neoglacial; organic compounds; paleoclimatology; Quaternary; rainfall; Sacred Lake; sediments; stable isotopes; temperature; upper Holocene; vegetation; waxes

Subject terms can be found by searching the thesaurus as well. The thesaurus provides the official terminology of the database (use Thesaurus from menu). If there is not a PDF Full Text link, select the LinkSource button to find the article. "Impact of monsoons, temperature, and CO (sub 2) on the rainfall and ecosystems of Mt. Kenya during the common era" is available at the Electronic Journal Center (EJC).

"Oceanic link between abrupt changes in the North Atlantic Ocean and the African monsoon" is available at the Nature Geoscience Web site.

NOTE: GeoRef sometimes provides a PDF of the material, but often it lists articles (maps, etc.) on a topic and indicates WHERE they can be found. The catalog shows if we have the journal (book, conference proceeding, etc.) that contains the article (map, etc.). Be sure that we have the volume/issue/year that contains the article.

Example 2 - Resistivity methods used in karst applications.
The subject Resistivity was chosen in performing an initial search on the topic. Other subjects might be relevant to your search, such as dipole-dipole methods. In addition to the subject Resistivity, the query searches for ANY of the following terms to appear: karst, caves, sinkholes, underground streams, or caverns. Quotation marks were used for two exact phrases requiring the phrase "underground stream" or "underground streams" to be in the record. Another option would be to use the near operator, "N" or the within operator "W." The Exclude Abstracts Only checkbox was selected.

Selected Results

We don't have a copy of "Reconnaissance evaluation of a potential future sinkhole using integrated simple surface geophysics and surface monitoring points" in our library or electronically. Use the Request through interlibrary loan link. They will retrieve it for you if it is possible.

NOTE: If this were a book, be sure we do not have a copy by searching the UA Libraries Catalog (then OhioLINK).

Using the Request through interlibrary loan link for "Investigation of coastal hydrogeology utilizing geophysical and geochemical tools along the Broward County coast, Florida" would result in a failed interlibrary loan request because this is a publication through USGS. Always check the information in the URL field to determine if there is full-text free online.

Using the Request through interlibrary loan link for "Mapping of karst bedrock to define groundwater pathways underlying an industrial facility using the electrical resistivity imaging method," could lead to a failed interlibrary loan request because we have a paper copy in our library. Search for the source publication title (not article title in case it is not a Table of Contents) in the UA Libraries catalog, a results list of several Geotechnical Special Publications appears.

Sometimes items in a series have a separate record for each year as in this example and other times they are all in one record in the catalog. Since each year has individual records, limit the years in the results list to decrease the number of results by selecting the Limit/Sort Search button.

We have the special publication that contains this paper.

Some Other Searching Tips

  • To narrow your topic, add more terms using AND, the near operator (i.e. sink N3 cavern), or the within operator (i.e. sink W3 cavern). The near operator example requires the terms to be within 3 words of each other in any order. For the within operator, they must be in the order specified.
  • To expand your topic, add more terms using OR between them or choose broader search terms.

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