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Research Guides

Geology Research Guide



Curbside Book Request Service

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, books can only be accessed through the University of Toronto Libraries' Curbside Service. 

  • Locate a title you want in the library catalogue
  • Click on GET HELP
  • Follow the directions to make your request

NOTE: We cannot offer same-day delivery of the books, so plan ahead.

Search Tips

Use the Library website to find books

In the library homepage search box, type in the keywords relevant to your research topic. When searching for books, remember to use simple, broad keywords.

From the list of results, go to the Books section, and click on All Books to see the the library catalogue search results.

How to Understand Your Search

To search the catalog effectively, use specific terms when entering search query. To narrow your search, combine terms using "AND." Refine search as needed according to left hand side column by selecting material based on subject, library where it is located, geographical area, format etc. 

To access the material, either click on the link if it is an electronic resource, or note down the call number if it is a print resource and locate it in the appropriate library.

For ebooks, you can also click on the Online checkbox at the top of the page underneath Refine your search. 

If you want to see the most recent books at the top right, choose sort and then the down arrow next to publication date.

Requesting a Book

If a book is only available on another campus, it can be requested. Simply select the "Options" tab and click "Request."


Once this has been selected, a valid student library barcode must be entered followed by the PIN in order to place a hold on the item. Choose intercampus delivery, select St. George campus, and specify the library you prefer to pick the book up at.  Make sure to enter an email address that you use frequently as you will receive an email when the book arrives. 

Note: Make sure that you order the book AT LEAST 3 business days (preferably a week) before you need it.



Finding Primary Sources

Primary sources are:

  • first-hand accounts of events
  • materials created by participants or witnesses of the event/s under study
  • original records created at the time that events occurred
  • raw data
Examples include:
  • periodical articles reporting original research
  • letters
  • government documents
  • public records
  • newspaper clipping

Secondary sources are:

  • works that discuss a subject, but which are written after the time that the event/s occurred (by someone other than an eyewitness)
Examples include:
  • a review
  • critical analysis

To find primary sources @ U of T or online visit the "How to Find Primary Sources" Page for more information

Course Reserves

The vast majority of the course reserves for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology courses will be held at the Earth Sciences (Noranda) Library or at Gerstein Science Information Centre. If you are unsure if the required readings are held at the Earth Sciences Library, or if you are looking for course reserves for other courses this is where you can locate books that have been placed on short term loan.

Suggested Titles


Peer-reviewed Journals

Articles in peer-reviewed journals are reviewed by a group of the writer's peers (aka other academics in his/her field) before the articles are published. A scholarly journal is a journal that has been peer reviewed.

For print journals:

  • On the inside of the cover or on the first page or two, the peer review process will be outlined by the publisher, or go to the journal's website and look at the article submission guidelines to determine if the journal has a peer review process.

For an e-journal or any publication you are not sure about:

  • Use Ulrich's Periodical Review to determine if the journal is peer-reviewed or refereed. After you have typed in the name of the journal, if you see this symbol[refereed] you will know the journal has been peer reviewed.

In the example shown below, both the online and print versions of Earth Sciences History are peer-reviewed, while Earth Sciences is not.

Impact Factors / Journal Metrics

Journal Citation Reports lists the impact factors of journals from science and social science disciplines. It provides access to the following metrics:

  • Impact Factor: the frequency with which an "average article" in a journal has been cited in a given year; evaluative measure of a journal's relative importance.
  • Immediacy Index: how quickly articles in a journal are cited  (Immediacy Index tutorial)
  • Article Influence Score: average influence, per article, of the papers in a journal (more info)
  • Eigenfactor Score: measure of the journal's total importance to the scientific community (more info)
  • Journal Self Cites: contribution of journal self cites to its Impact Factor


Articles and Databases

Searching for Articles

To find articles, from the U of T library homepage, you can search using either the article search option or through subject specific databases.

Database serach through UTL

The advanced search option for articles allows you to use key words. By narrowing down your search results using the facets on the left hand side, you can find relevant articles. Also, if you know the specific details of the article you are looking for, such as volume, issue and/or title, this is where you can search for it.

Advanced Article Search

It is likely that you will receive an overwhelming amount of results, but by selecting the appropriate search filters, format and subject options, you can narrow down your results.

Choose an appropriate database that pertains to the subject you are researching by selecting "Subjects A-Z". For example, if we select "Ecology" from this list, we see all of the relevant databases that contain relevant articles, such as Ecology Abstracts or Environmental Science & Pollution Management.This will also lead you to other resources such as encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Searching databases alphabetically

Article Finder

Enter citation information into the Article Finder to determine if we have online access to the full text of a particular article. You can also use the Article Finder to create a permanent link to an article.

In order to get your hands on the full text of articles, you need to start with a complete citation of the article.  This consists of: 

  • Name(s) of the author(s)
  • Title of the article
  • Title of the journal
  • Volume and issue number
  • Date
  • Pages

Ellstrand, Norman C. and Mikeal L. Roose (1987), Patterns of Genotypic Diversity in Clonal Plant Species. American Journal of Botany, 74 (1): 123–131.

Note if you do not get any results, try entering just the journal title or abbreviation. 

Don't despair if you don't find it on Article Finder!  Try also looking for the journal on e-journals or even search google or google scholar as a final try.  You may be surprised by how much is available for free. If you do find a journal that is freely available but not on our journals list you can contact your librarian and request that the journal is added to our collections, or borrow the article from another University Library collection by using RACER.


Tip: Try Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches scholarly articles, Google Books and quasi-scholarly material, harnessing the power of a Google search. Helpful for citation searching: it allows you to link to works that cite the articles in your results list (click on Cited by).

Note: don't pay for any articles! Go back to the library to get the full-text of your sources.

What if you can't find it?

Request an Article via Interlibrary Loan (RACER)

If the library does not have the journal you need electronically or in print, you can request a specific article from another institution through our interlibrary loan service, RACER. Note that you should only request an article through RACER if it is not available electronically or in print through U of T.

There are two ways to request an article through RACER, but before you can request items, you must register for a RACER account.

1. Request the item from the Get it! UTL landing page

The Get it! UTL landing page gives a few steps to locate full text. If you have already tried to locate the item in the U of T catalog with no luck, you can follow the link to request it on RACER. This should auto-populate the request form with the article information. Double check to make sure the information is correct, and that the ISSN number is included. You can locate the ISSN number of a journal by searching for the title in Ulrich's Web.

2. Fill in a Blank Request Form

If you navigated away from the Get it! UTL landing page, you can still request the article by filling out a Blank Request Form on RACER.

  • Log into RACER
  • Select the "Blank Request Form" option from the menu on the left
  • Fill in the form with the complete citation, including:
    • Article title, author, and page numbers
    • Journal name, volume, issue, and year
    • Journal ISSN number


Government Resources

General Resources

Finding Statistics at the University of Toronto:

Conference Proceedings

Government Publications

Government Web Resources

Follow the links to access geology government agency websites at provincial, national and international levels. Most agency websites contain a 'publications' or 'research' section that links to grey literature produced by the agency. Government agencies are also a good source for geology statistics.

Note: There are additional geology websites for other provinces that can be found by doing a Google search with the name of the province and the term "Geology"

Additional Government Resources

University of Toronto Libraries hold an extensive collection of government materials, with particular strength in documents from Canada, Ontario, the United States, Great Britain and international governmental organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank.

To find government information search these guides:

Web Resources

Geology Web Resources

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Use Dictionaries and Encyclopedias To:

  • Get an overview of your topic or issue
  • Learn the definitions of terms and concepts
  • Identify keywords to use in searching for additional information
  • Dictionaries, general or subject encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. are sometimes called "Reference" books.

Print Dictionaries

Print Encyclopedias

Online Encyclopedias

Theses and Dissertations

Find UofT Online Theses

In Paper

How do I search for a paper copy of a University of Toronto thesis?

• For University of Toronto masters and doctoral theses in the sciences consult the library catalogue. Theses can be searched in the catalogue by author, title, or department.

• Note that: older theses are listed ONLY in the card catalogue at Gerstein; cards indicate location either at Gerstein or in campus departments.  Ask at the Gerstein Information Desk for assistance.


Where do I find a paper copy in Gerstein?

• All theses are shelved by author name on 3-Below at the end of the Z call number range.
• microfiche copies of U of T masters theses in the sciences are held in the Media Commons (4th Floor), Robarts Library

Producing Your Thesis at UofT

Top Database for Finding Theses: Proquest Theses & Dissertations Global

Other Places to Search for Theses

Citation Help

Citation Styles

MLA Style Guides

Citation Machines

Books from the Library

APA Style Guides

Citation Machines

Books from the Library

Chicago Style Guides

Citation Machines

Books from the Library

NLM Style Guides

Vancouver Style Guides

Citation Machines

Books from the Library

IEEE Style Guides

Use the Catalogue to Make Citations

You can get an instant formatted citation for most items in the U of T Library's catalogue.  

  1. Find the item in the catalogue.
  2. Click on the item title.
  3. Click on the Options button on the right to open the list of items.
  4. Click on Cite.
Screenshot of Cite function in library catalogue

Managing Citations

Citation management software can help you save time by gathering your citations in one spot and helping you format the information correctly in your paper. Gerstein Library has a good overview of citation management software.

U of T Libraries provides you with free access to the bibliographic software tool RefWorks as long as you're at U of T? Consult our RefWorks guide for more information.

Academic Integrity

The University of Toronto is committed to the values of independent inquiry and to the free and open exchange of ideas. Academic integrity underpins these values and is thus a core part of the University’s commitment to intellectual life. Extending beyond our immediate intellectual community of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Toronto, our intellectual community embraces all who have contributed to the sum of human knowledge.

Read more about Academic Integrity.

Research and Writing

Writing Help

Research Tips


Student Engagement and Academic Success

Useful Studying Tips

Here are some useful links and tips about studying, preparing for tests, and how to stay ahead of the game so to avoid late night cramming.

Note Taking Tips:

  • Try using the left side margins on your lined note paper. Use the margin to write main headings and important points on the left, including material you think you will be tested on.
  • Sometimes in class we write notes so fast that we later can't read our own handwriting.  Try after class to get to a computer and type up your notes. This will not only give you organized notes that you can use later for studying but it also encourages one to review the course work.  Research indicates that 80% of new material can be recalled if you review notes within the first 24 hours of presentation.
  • Try to review your lecture notes everyday.
  • Attend class!

Test Taking Techniques and Preparation:

  • Study in a quiet, well lit environment.
  • Give yourself 10 days in advance to study, so that you can give yourself manageable sections to study every day. 
  • For every hour of studying, give yourself a 15-20 minute break. 
  • Before the exam, make sure you have a full night's worth of sleep and eat something beforehand so to give your brain 'food for thought'.


 The Writing Centre also provides some valuable note taking tips.

Past Exams

Check out past exams and mid-terms when studying for your courses. Get an idea of what to expect on your upcoming tests, and use these tools to prepare yourself. Check out the Old Exams Repository as well as ASSU's mid-term bank.​

Exam Schedule

Find out where you are writing your exam here.

Library Workshops

Library workshops are free classes for students.

Learn how to manage your references with Refworks. Or learn effective search strategies for your research. 

Find out more here and click on a particular library to see what workshops they offer.

Biodiversity Heritage Library

About BHL

Biodiversity Heritage Library logo

"Inspiring discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge."

Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a massive digitization project which provides free online access to biodiversity literature and archives from prestigious institutions around the world. BHL was founded in 2005 and the BHL consortium strives to improve research methodology through partnerships with these institutions in order to make biodiversity literature openly available, thus building a global biodiversity community. Biology as a broader field relies on historic literature which too often is in no condition to be shipped across the world to researchers who require access to this wealth of knowledge, and BHL strongly believes that this literature should be accessible in order to strengthen the field. Thus, the BHL consortium members work to digitize as much material as possible so that the knowledge is available freely.

BHL has grown since 2009 to exist across the globe, expanding from the original 10 libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States. Now, BHL has 19 members and 19 affiliates. University of Toronto Libraries is the only Canadian member of BHL. 

BHL currently has 57 collections available which are categorized by themes curated to help users find what they need. In the field of Geology, BHL has collections such as:

You can navigate BHL's themed collections for more details.

This page was compiled by Isis Clara Luca.


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