Finding Information for Geology 150: Water Resources

Addendum:See bottom for USGS and EPA searching links!

Separate issues: the general problem of finding stuff about a broad topic, and the specific topic of finding stuff to cope with your first assignment. Consider the general first, and ask: how to find materials on 'water resources'?

It makes sense to start with what's closest, and that's the library. The library Web pages point to a LOT of resources, but we'll start with a search for 'water resources' in Annie.

Periodicals that specifically address 'water resources' certainly include Water Resources Research --we don't have online access at the moment, but you can at least SEARCH:

This search got 69 hits (as it happens, many are by researchers located in Virginia... USGS Reston, etc.)

Another shotgun approach that will help you develop a sense for large-scale problems and current research areas: a search for 'water resources' in title or abstract in the online version of Science (which you can reach via the Science Library's Periodicals pages) gets 1392 hits, obviously too many. But a few might be worth a look, and here's one to give you an idea of what's possible:

Global Water Resources: Vulnerability from Climate Change and Population Growth Charles J. Vörösmarty et al. (Volume 289, Number 5477, Issue of 14 Jul 2000, pp. 284-288) --this one offers 'Similar articles' links to ISI Web of Science and Science Online, and here are a few of the most toothsome

We do have a database that specializes in Environmental literatures: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (links on Biology and Environmental Studies pages of the Science Library's home page). Its greatest drawback is its comprehensive coverage --many of the journals it indexes aren't at W&L, so it's the sort of resource you'd want to consult for a major research paper, but probably not for shorter assignments.

Now consider the specific assignment: "Explanation of the science of a local or Virginia-regional water resource (quality/quantity) issue".

... really the problem here is one of terminology... what is it you're being asked to do? Thinking clearly about that will reduce wheel-spinning to a minimum. You need an issue, and then to think about and "explain" the "science of..." that issue.

Issues can come from lots of places, and Annie might be a good place to begin. An Annie search for "water and virginia" gets 302 hits --78 if I limit to Science Library. Some are not about water-in-Virginia (viz: those where the author's name happens to be Virginia...), but in the first dozen there are at least ten that are worth your attention, especially if you're at a loss for what's an "issue".

As for "the science of...": the questions here are what researchers do, how they set about investigating problems, what analyses they do... and there are several Reference books in the Science Library that may be helpful:

TITLE        Encyclopedia of environmental science / edited by David E. 
               Alexander and Rhodes W. Fairbridge.
IMPRINT      Dordrecht ; Boston : Kluwer Academic Publishers, c1999.
CALL NO.     SCI REF GE10 .E53 1999.

TITLE        Encyclopedia of environmental analysis and remediation / Robert
               A. Meyers, editor.
IMPRINT      New York : Wiley, c1998.
CALL NO.     SCI REF GE10 .E49 1998.

TITLE        Encyclopedia of hydrology and water resources / edited by 
               Reginald W. Herschy and Rhodes W. Fairbridge.
IMPRINT      Dordrecht ; Boston : Kluwer Academic, 1998.
CALL NO.     SCI REF GB655 .E53 1998.

AUTHOR       Van der Leeden, Frits. (he lives in Lexington...)
TITLE    Environmental Almanac of Virginia
IMPRINT   Lexington : Tennyson Press
CALL NO.  SCI REF GE160 .V8 E58 1998

TITLE        Standard handbook of environmental engineering / [edited by]  Robert A. Corbitt.
IMPRINT      New York : McGraw-Hill, c1990.
CALL NO.     SCI REF TD145 .S72 1990.

AUTHOR       Patnaik, Pradyot.
TITLE        Handbook of environmental analysis : chemical pollutants in air, water, soil, and solid wastes 
IMPRINT      Boca Raton : CRC/Lewis Publishers, c1997.
CALL NO.     SCI REF TD193 .P38 1997.

AUTHOR       Van der Leeden, Frits. (he lives in Lexington...)
TITLE        The water encyclopedia / Frits van der Leeden, Fred L. Troise, David Keith Todd.
IMPRINT      Chelsea, Mich. : Lewis Publishers, c1990.
CALL NO.     SCI REF TD351 .V36 1990.
These would at least be a start, but you might also want to look at the Methods sections in scientific publications like Water Resources Research.

Newspapers can be useful sources of general information and pointers to issues. Lexis-Nexis (accessible via Leyburn's 'Research Resources' link) has the full text of vast numbers of newspapers and some journals, and it's possible to specify a search by state or region within the US. Here's an example of a search for 'groundwater' in Virginia newspapers, which gives you some idea of what's on the public mind.

Another approach could be to hunt for Web resources, and indeed there's a LOT out there. Here are some links from the Web, more or less on Virginia water issues and information, and they could at least give you more ideas about outstanding issues and concerns. A search for "virginia water" at wouldn't be without profit...

And for a really good time, take a look at the EPA's Index of Watershed Indicators, and especially their Surf Your Watershed. Here's a link to their material on the Maury River.

ADDENDUM: finding EPA and USGS publications

At W&L: Turns out that you CAN use Annie's 'Modify' feature, putting the Department into the 'Publisher' field. This search for 'geological survey' gets 951 hits:

...and 'protection agency' also works, as does 'virginia department'. There isn't any way to search just W&L's Gov Docs holdings.

The EPA does have a Publications Search interface. This search got me more than 1000 hits:

There's also a zipcode search as an option, and this one got me a bunch:

The U.S. Geological Survey offers a single search interface for all of its publications ("Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey, a subset of the GeoRef database..."), and also has a page to search Registered On-Line Water-Resources Reports

And, for the most complete access to literature in Geology and related sciences, GeoRef is the tool of choice.