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Library & open source resources for Physics research

Welcome to Physics Library Resources

Welcome to the Physics Subject Guide - key library resources that will help you find the information you need for projects and research in Physics.

This guide is designed to cover Physics overall. If you can't find what you need here contact Your Librarian (I'm in the left Navigation bar!), or try one the Library's other Guides.


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What Kind of Information Do You Need?

Before you start your research decide what kinds of information you need.


Need Information on a a particle?

NIST's Physical Reference Data is a great place to start. Data are divided into the sections: Elemental data index; Periodic table; Physical constants; Atomic spectroscopy data; Molecular spectroscopic data; Atomic and molecular data; X-ray and gamma-ray data; Radiation dosimetry data; Nuclear physics data; Condensed matter physics data; and Other NIST data.

If you can't find what you need there, Look in the Particle, Nuclear, and Physical Data Databases of this guide.


Need an overview of a topic?

Search Books, Videos and More (WorldCat Discovery) from the Library's Main Page. Search the word "Encylcopedia" or "Handbook" with the topic such as "physics"

For an up-to-date overviews of recent research, search for review articles in one of the chemistry databases. For info on the databases we have, go to the Find Physics Research Articles section this guide. For tips on finding review articles, see the Find Review Articles, Technical Reports and Conference Papers section


Need information on current research and experiments?

Search for for scholarly/peer reviewed articles in one of our databases. For:

  • A topic in Physics? Start with INSPEC
  • A topic that includes other disciplines? Search Web of Science for chemistry and all other sciences, PubMed for medicine and biomedical research, and ERIC for physics education

Pro Tips: Preparing to do Research

Get Organized

Before you start your research, spend some time preparing and getting organized:

Identify the parameters of the topic such as scope, depth, purpose:

  • What is the purpose of the research?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the perspective (e.g. experimental, applied, exploratory)?
  • What is the expected end product?
  • How much time and money can be allocated to this project?

Clearly Define your Topic: Make a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables of interest. Make sure to list synonyms and related terms. As you search and discover new terminology, added it to your list.

Take Good Notes as you Research. This will help you develop your literature review later, and will help you keep track of which sources relate to your research and how. You may want to make note of:

  • The main ideas of the source
  • Questions or comments about the argument’s or author’s credibility
  • Key points or quotes that you might include in your paper with page numbers to locate them
  • Whether or not the source will be useful in your research paper and how

It can be helpful to Keep a search log. Think of this like a research notebook, but one that tracks your search strategy and results. Report the date, database, search string and filters, relevance of results and any other notes that might be useful if you get ideas later or can't remember what you found where.

Track your sources. Using citation manger software like EndNote Web, Zotero and Mendeley can help, and your notes can go right into the software with the citation attached.

  • Books: author, title, publisher, place of publication, date of publication, call number and other location information, content notes
  • Print Journal Articles:  author, title of article, journal title, volume and issue number, inclusive page numbers of article, date of issue, location information
  • Electronic Full-Text Articles: same information as for periodicals plus URL or DOI if available, date you accessed the article, producer (publisher or aggregator), library where or through which the database was accessed
  • Web sites: URL, date, producer, title or name, and the date you accessed the web page

Are you Off Campus? Log into first

Many Library resources are paid for by the Library on your behalf, and come with strict licensing agreements. To use them, you will need to go through the Library's proxy server to authenticate you as a BSU affiliate. If you're using Google Scholar and have it set up to help you Find full text in the BSU Library's collection, you won't have access to the full text without authentication.

Log into before you start your research and single sign-on will take care of the authentication for you. By doing this you'll avoid the interruptions that come with authentication requests to put in your BSU user name and password to get to materials.

Set up Google Scholar, InterLibrary Loan and a Citation Manager

Before you start your research, take time to do the following if you haven't already done so:

  1. Set up Google Scholar to show Albertsons Library's collections. This makes it easier to find full text articles and reduces searching to find the books, documents, etc. available at BSU
  2. Set up your Interlibrary Loan account, so you can easily request articles and books that BSU's Library doesn't own 
  3. Set up a citation manager account for EndNote Online, Zotero, or Mendeley, so you can manage your citations and references

All of these options are free, and will reduce the interruptions you face you do your research. You'll find resources in the pages of this guide to help you accomplish these things.

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