Civil engineering: Databases

Resources in civil engineering

A-Z library databases

See a complete list of databases arranged alphabetically and by subject.

Some approaches to searching and the databases that best enable these techniques

'Quick search techniques' to find one or two relevant articles to get you started on your research journey.

  • A quick search approach is to create a simple search strategy.  This is usually one key term used to represent each concept in your research topic.  Such 'quick search' strategies are

Comprehensive search techniques - when you need to search the literature more exhaustively.

A comprehensive search can be built step by step using the 'search history' function of the database.  Here you explore 'combinations of keywords' to represent multiple 'key concepts' of your research topic. 'Subject headings' are the 'official terms' the database uses to define the subject matter of the article.   Here a searcher can further refine the search by choosing relevant subject headings and thus, increase the focus or relevancy of the records retrieved.  Subject headings referred to as 'controlled vocabulary' are available in Compendex. Subject headings are also available in ATRI which is a smaller database containing some unique research from Australia on transport.

Another approach is to use Citation tracking also referred to as 'chaining', ie. articles that link often by related topic by referring to each other either as

  • as research sources for the 'original article' written. These are sources are contained in the reference list.  The journal article contains a reference list of various publication types, eg. books, journal articles, conference papers etc. These references are the information sources that the authors of the 'source article' used to research their article. This information can enable the reader of the article to follow up these sources used, and verify the information used.  These 'cited' items in the reference list will be published prior to the publication date of 'original citing article' or 'source article, ie. information sources going backwards in time.
  • or future research that cites the 'original article' as one of the more rece

Rather than exploring various 'combinations of keywords' that define each 'key concept' of your research topic, Citation tracking can be used to find other articles that either cite your original article - ie. articles published since your 



Specialised databases for Civil Engineering research groups

Here is a list of other databases.  The database content is smaller than Compendex or Scopus.  However, this database list will contain some unique content.




Retrospective indexes and abstracts

Description of full text format - advantages

The two main formats of full text are HTML and pdf.

  • HTML: loads quickly but there is often no page numbering.  May have hypertext links to the section headings of the article, or hypertext links to the reference list from the in text reference. May provide a reference list with seamless links to the full text of the article if available from that database provider that is hosting your article. 
  • pdf: includes the original page numbering which is useful when you cite the reference. Often displays links to the section headings of the article.

Library links

Related pages

Click the tabs above for:

Current affairs databases

  • Newsbank newspapers: search for newspaper articles in Australian and international newspapers
  • TVNews digitised and searchable video content of Australian television news, current affairs and selected documentaries from the free-to-air networks, including Sunday Arts

A guide to searching databases

  • Australian Transport Index Guide Me  A 10 minute online tutorial that outlines how to build and refine a search strategy using the Australian Transport Index as an example
  • A note about using the Search Strategy form below.  This is an online fillable form using Adobe software.  In order to fill out your own search strategy, you will need to save a copy first, maybe intially to your desktop.  If you find the fields that you fill in your strategy not enabled, please go to Edit -> Preferences and ensure the radio button next to PDF/A mode is clicked to Never.  It is envisaged that you can save a copy, and email a copy to your supervisor or librarian for discussion.

Key databases

Databases provide access to the contents of journal articles, conference papers, these, patents and other information sources. They form the basis of, or add greater depth to your research. Most of databases provide links to full text sources where the library holds a subscription. Content not available in full text online may be held in the library in hard copy.

Databases allow keyword searching of article titles, abstracts, and subject headings / descriptors.

Full-text journal collections

Full-text journal collections allow keyword searching of articles, abstracts, subject headings/descriptors, and the full-text of articles as well.

Collection About the collection

ACSE Library

(Key Civil Engineering content)

Comprehensive online database for locating journal articles of interest, and conference proceedings, across all disciplines of civil engineering. The ASCE library (American Society of Civil Engineering) includes ASCE conference proceedings beginning in 1998, and all ASCE journal and periodical volumes published since 1995.

ICE Virtual Library - Journals

(Key Civil Engineering content)

Full-text database of the publications of the Institution of Civil Engineers (British)

"Covering every major civil and structural engineering discipline, ICE journals are a comprehensive source of expertise for everyone in civil engineering."--Publisher description.  Note: there is also access to books, such as the esteemed Thomas Telford publications.  To access these, choose the Books tab:     on the horizontal menu bar.

IEEE Xplore A full-text database in the disciplines of electrical and electronics engineering provided by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and The Institution of Electrical Engineers
Informaworld The specialist publications of Taylor & Francis
ScienceDirect Scientific, technical and medical information online published by Elsevier. It includes peer-reviewed journals, book series, and reference works

Provides full-text access to journals published and distributed by the American Institute of Physics as well as Acoustical Society of America journals

SPIE Digital Library SPIE is the International Society for Optical Engineering. The Digital Library includes over 100 ebooks, six refereed journals and Conference Proceedings from 1990 to the present. More than 17,000 new research papers are added annually. Subject areas include optics, photonics, and imaging engineering


provides full-text access to Springer journals and book series. Subject coverage includes engineering, and mathematics

Wiley InterScience provides full-text to Wiley journals, e-books, and major reference work.Subject coverage includes engineering, medicine and science

Find journals

Search for journal titles in the library catalogue use the Advanced search option and select Journal. Enter the first words of the title in exact order.

Use the library databases to search the contents of journals quickly and efficiently.

Journals not held by Monash University

Register as a CAVAL borrower and visit other Victorian University and TAFE libraries. Postgraduate- and 4th year students can register to use Document Delivery to request the loan of books not held by Monash University Library.