Engineers in the United States

Introduction to Engineers

Legal Materials

Good science and engineering reference books include the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms and Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers. A subscription to AccessScience lets you search both the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms and the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. More reference materials are available at science and engineering libraries, including the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL), which features the Premium Services research and document delivery department.

General questions about science and engineering are answered at HowStuffWorks. The WWW Virtual Library posts Web links to sites for Science and Engineering. To find other sites, use Google, Yahoo! or another good search engine.

Articles: Online sources for science and engineering articles include:

For Civil Engineering articles, you can also try The American Society of Civil Engineers’ web site.

In addition to searching full text databases, you may be able to find a broader range of articles by looking at an at index, such as the Science Citation Index, the Civil Engineering Abstracts database, or the Engineering Index Compendex (the latter two are available on ProQuest Dialog). Article indexes are often held in science libraries, larger public libraries, and may be available through your public library system’s web site. If you have a subscription or other access, many other science indexes are available through ProQuest Dialog, Web of Science and Scopus.

If you have a citation to a science or engineering article that is not readily available in print or online, you can order copies from a variety of document delivery services. I have received excellent service from the Linda Hall Library, Purdue’s Technical Information Service, NRC-CISTI (place orders with infotrieve), and the University of Minnesota’s InfoNOW (formerly ESTIS). Other sources: Wisconsin Tech Search,Reprints Desk, and Infotrieve.

Information on additional document delivery services is available from Jean Shipman’s list of Document Delivery Suppliers.

Alternatively, check Full Text Sources Online to see if the issue with the article you need is available from another online source. Or look for the issue individually on Google Scholar, Ingenta, Lexis, Westlaw, ProQuest Dialog, etc.

For more possibilities, see “Periodicals.”

Borrowing: Most common science and engineering books can be borrowed from the Linda Hall Library for Science, Engineering and Technology. You can check for materials through their online catalog. Their telephone number is 1-800-662-1545 (x701). If that doesn’t work, call any local libraries (e.g., hospital libraries) that might lend to you and/or search WorldCat for other sources.

Conference Papers: You can search for conference papers using general search engines. For a broader scope, search the British Library Inside Conferences database on ProQuest Dialog.

Government Reports: Free U.S. government reports can be located through Reports distributed by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) can be searched and ordered through the NTIS Web site, the NTIS National Technical Information Service database on ProQuest Dialog and other commercial vendors. The commercial vendors generally offer better searching, and some reports are instantly available in .PDF format.

Rankings: Rankings for scientific journals are complied in Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and Essential Science Indicators (ESI). Both are owned by Thomson Reuters. Bother are integrated to some extent with Thomson’s Web of Science.


See Also

Search Engines

Further Reading

Engineers: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Engineers. This part provides references, in relation to Engineers, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Engineers by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Engineers and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Engineers or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Engineers and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Engineers. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Engineers should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Engineers when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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