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STS 2210: Technology in the Modern World  

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(Flow of Scientific Information, University of Waterloo, 2007)


What kinds of document do scientists and engineers use

  • Peer review: researchers validating each others work before publication
  • Kinds of documents:
    • patents: government granted license to an invention
    • standards: agreed upon methodology: ie 802.11
    • journals: research results presented in a periodical/magazine. Peer reviewed.
    • trade literature: discipline-specific magazines. Not Peer Reviewed.
    • popular press: regular newspapers, magazines, websites. Not peer reviewed.
    • conference proceedings: research results presented at a meeting. Often peer reviewed, but not always.
    • technical report: description of a solution to a specific problem. Not peer reviewed.
    • books
      • reference: encyclopedias, tables, data collections, properties
      • manuals: lab methods, programming languages, operating systems
      • monographs: general topics
    • technical specifications: how a system, device or component works, ie circuit diagrams, software package

Academic Integrity

  • York's SPARK modules have lots of information about writing, referencing and how to avoid mistakes in attribution. 




Citations & Chicago Style

Zotero is the main citation manager used in the humanities and social sciences.

Websites such as the Citation Machine can be also helpful in setting up references.


Some Resources on Chicago Style

Some samples:


Let's Get Started!

My topics: Artificial intelligence -- Good or evil

Let's generate some keywords!  An interesting Wikipedia page to check out is Existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence.

And don't forget this, found via googling news: What happens if robots take the jobs? The impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy

For databases, some searches to try include:

  • synomyns: AI, computational intelligence, machine learning, intelligent systems
  • ai dangers
  • artifcial intelligence and dangers
  • artifcial intelligence and society
  • artifcial intelligence and risks
  • artifcial intelligence and benefits
  • artifcial intelligence and Stephen Hawking
  • artifcial intelligence and income inequality
  • artifcial intelligence and jobs
  • driverless cars
  • driverless trucks
  • driverless trucks and jobs



  • York University Library Catalogue
    Contains YUL's book, ebook, and journal holdings.
  • Scholars Portal Books
    The platform includes material from Springer, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, and the Gibson CRKN and Public Policy collection. In addition, there are 200,000 books from the Internet Archives
  • Books 24x7
    Full-text electronic republication of hundreds of books and journals covering various topics including science and technology studies.
  • Google Books
    The full text of many books is searchable through Google Books. Look up a book here to see if it is worth borrowing or tracking down.

Interdisciplinary Indexes & Databases

  • Scholars Portal
    This resource consists of a single search screen that provides access to multiple databases for searching literature in a variety of disciplines. Choose a subject area or select specific databases to conduct a search.
    Used by millions for research, teaching, and learning. With more than a thousand academic journals and over 1 million images, letters, and other primary sources, JSTOR is one of the world's most trusted sources for academic content.
  • Applied Science and Technology Index
    Indexes primarily English language technology articles. Coverage includes trade and industry publications, journals published by professional and technical societies as well as buyer's guides, directories and conference proceedings. Has some good PHilosophy of Science articles. Coverage from 1983 to the present.
  • Research Library
    An interdisciplinary database covering a broad range of subjects including arts, business, children, education, general interest, health, humanities, international studies, law, military, multicultural studies, psychology, sciences, social sciences, and women's studies. Coverage: 1971 - present.
  • CBCA Complete  Icon
    This database, with 600 full text titles, is the most comprehensive Canadian reference collection available today. Accessible to readers and researchers at every level, CBCA Complete features a highly-respected, diversified mix of publications, including scholarly journals, trade publications, dissertations, books, newspapers and magazines.
  • Google Scholar
    A subset of regular Google, it allows users to search for articles from all disciplines. Content is heavily skewed towards scholarly and scientific information; however, humanities and social science content is present, as is non-scholarly material.
  • Social Science Abstracts
    Indexes journals from a wide variety of social science disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. These fields include psychology, sociology, urban studies, etc. Emphasis is on the United States with some international coverage. Coverage is from 1994 - present

Newspapers and Magazines

  • Canadian Major Dailies  Icon
    A searchable full-text database of major Canadian daily newspapers. Major titles include Calgary Herald (1988-), Edmonton Journal (1989-), Halifax Daily News (1990-), Montreal Gazette (1985-), National Post (1998-), Ottawa Citizen (1985-), Toronto Star (1985-), Vancouver Sun (1987-), The Globe and Mail (1977-)
  • Lexis Nexis Academic
    Contains full text news, legal sources, government information and business information.
  • Canadian Periodical Index  Icon
    Indexes Canadian and international academic journals, magazines, and newspapers. The full text of selected sections of The Globe and Mail is included. .All subjects are represented, with an emphasis on Canadian and international issues. Many articles are full text. Coverage is from 1988 - present.
  • ABI/Inform Global
    This resource incorporates management, industry and company-specific information of both a practical and theoretical nature. Subjects covered include: finance, public administration, marketing, management, economics,taxation, telecommunications, corporate strategies, competitive and product information. Useful for following the business/financial/corporate aspects of environmental topics. A database containing citations and abstracts for over 1000 business and management publications. More than 600 of these titles are available in full-text or full-image.

Science Indexes & Databases

  • Web of Science
    ndexes 8,500 research journals across the Social Sciences, Sciences and Arts & Humanities. Allows you to search for articles by subject, author, journal, and author address as well as for articles that cite a known author or work (citation searching). Coverage is from 1900 - present.
  • Scopus  
    Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. It has many articles that are relevant to science and technology studies. Additionally, it provides sophisticated tools to track, analyze and visualize information through citation mapping.
  • SciFinder
    Scifinder Scholar provides access to the full Chemical Abstracts database from 1907 to the present. The database includes citations to the literature in all branches of chemistry, as well as compound information including structure, chemical names, formulas, CAS Registry Numbers and reaction information for organic, organometallic and biocatalyzed reactions. Commercially available chemical information as well as the listing of regulated chemicals (Chemlist) is included.

Humanities Indexes & Databases

  • Historical Abstracts
    Covers world history, excluding North America, from 1450 to the present era. It indexes journals from around the world and also includes books and dissertations. Includes articles on the History and Philosophy of Science. Coverage is from 1954 - present.
  • Philosophers Index
    Good coverage of philosopy-related aspects of science and technology. Indexes articles, anthologies, book reviews, books and essays in anthologies. It is international in scope and not limited to any one period or culture. Coverage is from 1940 - present.
  • History of Science, Technology and Medicine
    Describes journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine and allied historical fields. The database integrates the Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Science, the Current Bibliography in the History of Technology (Technology and Culture), the Bibliografia Italiana di Storia della Scienza and the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Updated quarterly; covers 1975-present.
  • AnthropologyPlus
    Anthropology Plus provides worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies.
  • Abstracts in Anthropology
    Contains a section on medical anthropology. Also, it is a long-standing guide that provides indexing to research of interest to anthropologists in general.

Patent Search Engines

Patents are a license from a government to exploit an invention. When you file a patent and it is granted, you are the only one that can use that technology or method in that country. Anyone else that wants to use it must license it from you.

When you are looking to file a patent, the concept of "prior art" is very important. That means that you can't get a patent for something someone else has already invented, even if they didn't patent it.

  • Google Patents
    Google patents includes patents submitted either in the U.S. or European Patents Offices. You can search, read, and view patents using Art Finder.
  • Espacenet  
    Publication coverage: 1836 - Present.
    Espacenet is free to use and allows PDF downloads of patent documents. The database includes 60 million patent documents from over 70 countries.
  • Canadian Patents Database (CIPO)  
    Canadian patent records, 1869 to present; full-text documents, 1920 to present.
    CIPO allows you to access 93 years of patent descriptions and images and search, retrieve and study more than 2,140,000 patent documents.
  • U.S. Patent Database (UPSTO)  
    U.S. patents, 1790 to present; Published applications, 2001 to present.
    Search for download patents for free. Patents before 1976 can be retrieved by number, date and classification. A TIFF viewer is required to view/print patent documents.
  • Patent Scope (WIPO)  
    International patent applications: 1978 to present.
    Here you can search 30 million patent documents including 2.2 million published international patent applications (PCT).
  • Patent Lens
    AU, EP, US and WO patent documents: 1970s to present.
    Patent Lens is a free public resource of searchable patents worldwide.

Peer Review

  • Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journals
    York University Libraries' guide to identifying peer-reviewed journals.
  • Ulrich's Web
    Look up a journal in Ulrich's Web to find out if it is peer-reviewed. Note: Ulrich's calls peer-reviewed "refereed."

RACER Interlibrary Loan

Need a book or article that's not in our catalogue? Use RACER (our interlibrary loan system) to borrow it from another university library.

Related Subject Guides

For more help, visit a related subject guide.


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