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Science: Technology

An overview of resources to get you started in studying or researching science topics.


"Since we have no choice but to be swept away along by this vast technological surge, we might as well learn to surf."

— Michael E. Soulé, American conservation biologist

Technological advances that have a major impact on our lives are being made at an astonishing rate.  Every day great strides are taken on some development that may effect an aspect of your life, whether it be how you get to work, how you cook your food, or the tools your doctor uses to keep you healthy.  The more you know about these advances and about technology in general, the better prepared you will be and the more you will appreciate the world around you. 

Search tips

1) Start with an overview for your topic.  For example, you can start with an encyclopedia such as Credo Reference or Gale Virtual Reference Library (see list of BPL resources below) to get a basic idea of what your topic is all about.

2) Once you have a general idea of what your topic is about, you can narrow your topic down by subcategory, such as "Engineering" or "Nanotechnology" under "Technology."

3) Search for more information on your topic, using journal article databases, government websites, organization websites, etc.  A good place to start is the Science in Context database which includes reference resources, experiments, statistics, magazine and academic journal articles, news articles, maps, multimedia,and external websites.

Different types of information that you can look for include:

  • Overview -- General description or outline of a topic
  • Statistics -- Collection of quantitative data
  • Evidence -- A visible sign of a phenomenon ; something which demonstrates that a phenomenon or theory exists or is true
  • Guides -- "How-to" instructions or an outline of how to do something
  • News Articles -- Article from a newspaper or other news source; good source of current and local information and can be considered a primary source
  • Blogs -- Website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences
  • Journal Articles -- Article from a magazine or academic journal
  • Multimedia -- Videos, photographs, or audio resources
  • Reports -- Official documents from the government or other institution that give information about a particular subject
  • Interviews -- Reporting of meetings at which information is obtained from a person

For more information on conducting research on a topic, see from Case Western Reserve University.


Online Technology Resources

These links provide access to government and other reports, statistics,  and current developments for high school and college students as well as anyone interested in engineering, technology and related fields.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
Links to index of standards documents, and membership and organizational information

National Science Foundation
Provides access to research, discoveries, and news in engineering and nanoscience.

Google -- Patent search
Offers full-text patent applications and diagrams.

Home improvement projects from the Do-It-Yourself Network
Find projects, how-to's, and experts' advice.

Household Products database
Provides information on health effects of over 4,000 consumer brands from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

How Everything Works
Resource for "explaining the physics of everyday life."

Consumer Products Inventory

Provides a look at nanotechnology-based consumer products introduced to the market. 

National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)
Provides information on nanotechnology and nanoscale.  Includes news as well as information for K-12 teachers and students.

Search for safety information on different products around your home, including baby products, appliances, and furniture.
Includes research and development, technical reports, journal citations, databases, federal websites, and fact sheets

Scientist's Curiosity Cabinet
Demonstrates devices that portray different principles of science and provides explanations.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Provides information about submitting patent or trademark applications, and searching for patents or trademarks. 


Resources at the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library provides access to indexes and full-text articles through the Electronic Resources page (  Many of these resources are available off-site to residents of Massachusetts.  Suggested databases are listed below:


The catalog for the Boston Public Library is available at

Suggested subject headings:

For assistance with searching and locating items held by the Boston Public Library and other libraries in the Metro Boston Library Network, see