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Research Guides

Geology Research Guide



This guide is designed to connect geology researchers with subject-specific resources. Click on the links below to find information.

Quick Reference Resources
Primary and Secondary Sources
Search Tips
Online Resources
Citation Guides

This guide has been created by Brenna Farquharson.


Geology Databases

GEOBASE® is a multidisciplinary database containing research in various fields of earth sciences

GeoRef is a comprehensive geoscience database that contains over 2.9 million references to geoscience journal articles, books, maps, conference papers, reports and theses.

*Other recommended databases available through the catalogue search: Geology Subject A-Z

Geology Databases

Interdisciplinary Databases:

Scopus is a large abstract and index database of peer-reviewed sources with quality resources across the fields of science, technology, medicine and social sciences.

Web of Science is a database repository, housing numerous collections and providing access to scholarly resources across disciplines including: sciences, social sciences, arts, medicine and humanities.


Quick Reference Resources

Encyclopedias and dictionaries are excellent resources to consult when you are first beginning your research. These resources can help clarify terminology and provide a general background on your chosen topic.

Online Resources:

A Dictionary of Geology and Earth Sciences: Contains over 7,500 entries on geology and earth sciences with embedded web links.

Glossary of Geology: Includes over 39,000 entries and is searchable using keywords, words within terms and definitions.

Print Resources from the Earth Sciences Library:

Geology: Available in the Earth Sciences Library Reference section QE5 .G465 1999X

Encyclopedia of Geology: Available in the Earth Sciences Library Reference section QE5 .E5155 1999

Encyclopedia of Geomorphology: Volume 1 and 2 are available in the Earth Sciences Library Reference section GB400.3 .E53 2003

Glossary of Geology: Available in the Earth Sciences Library Reference section QE5 .A485 2005

*Other recommended quick reference resources are available through the catalogue search: Geology Subject A-Z.



Primary and Secondary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

First-hand accounts or original, raw data that is recorded in a document or record.

Examples include:

  • Published reports or scholarly articles containing original data research
  • Private accounts documented in letters, memos or recordings
  • Government documents
  • Public records
  • Art
  • Maps

For more information on primary sources, please see this research guide.

What are Secondary Sources?

Works that discuss a subject or research after the event has occurred. These sources typically include analysis, explanation or interpretation of past events or research.

Examples include:

  • Reviews
  • Critical analysis
  • Editorial comments



Search Tips

Use Article Finder if you already know the specific article you are searching for. Enter key information such as Journal, Volume, Issue or Year.

Note: If you receive limited results, try to remove data (i.e. Article Title, Issue) from some of the fields and search again.

Article Finder: Enter Journal, Volume and Issue (

For more search options, click on the "Advanced Search" function from the library homepage next to "Articles".

Enter keywords, author, or publication title to search across multiple databases. Use the facets on the left to narrow your results by adding filters such as "Scholarly journals" or "Full text online". You may also choose to specify a format such as: "Journal Article", "Government Document" or "Map".

Advanced Article Search options: Scholarly journals, Search by All Fields, Author, Publication Title, Add Row (

If you receive limited results, try to broaden your search by removing filters, changing your keywords or removing a search row.

Looking for Scholarly Journals?

Scholarly Journals include reports or reviews of original research, analysis or experimentation and are typically written by scholars, researchers or experts in their particular discipline.

When searching using the University of Toronto library catalogue for article searches, you may filter your resources by "Scholarly Journals" by checking off this box from the filter selections.

Use the filters to select "Scholarly Journals" in article searches

Looking for Peer-Reviewed Journals?

Check if the journal you are using is peer-reviewed by looking it up in the Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.

Enter the journal title in the search bar to locate your journal.

Enter the journal title in the search bar of the directory

Look for the "Refereed" symbol, which indicates that the journal is peer-reviewed. Refereed symbol on Ulrich'sThese journals are reviewed by experts in the relevant field to ensure that works meet the accepted standards of their discipline before they are published.



Online Resources

Geology Web Resources:

Geological Association of Canada includes important news from the field, links to upcoming events, employment opportunities and lists of recent publications. Students may also sign up for membership with this association for a nominal fee.

Geological Society of America includes latest research, online publications, the GeoScience Job Board, public policy issues, and membership opportunities.

American Geosciences Institute was founded in 1948 and provides online access to webinars, reports, surveys as well as student resources including professional development opportunities and career resources.

Government Websites:

Canadian Resources:

Natural Resources Canada is a valuable resource containing links to popular Canadian publications, data collections, atlas of Canada maps, tools and applications, as well as information on federal investments in geology programs.

Geology Ontario is a provincial government website containing records, surveys, and assessment files on geology in Ontario.

British Columbia Geological Survey houses the public geological and geoscientific information about mineral resources and mineral potential in the province.

Alberta Geological Survey provides geological information to help with the exploration, development and conservation of Alberta's resources.

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"

American Resources:

United States Geological Survey is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment.



Studying for an upcoming exam? Use the library's old exam repository to search or browse for exams related to specific courses.

Study Tips:

Here are some tips to help you study for upcoming tests or exams:

  • Start studying early
  • Review lecture notes frequently
  • Rewrite or type lecture or reading notes to help with memorization and comprehension
  • Make a study guide for yourself that integrates lecture and reading notes
  • Take short breaks from studying every hour to rest your eyes and move your body
  • Find a quiet, well lit place to study
  • Ask questions! Take advantage of time in class or office hours to ask your Professor or TA for clarification

Academic Success Resources:



Citation Guides

Citation Management Software can be used to help compile resources for your bibliography as you conduct your research.

Citation Machines will help you compile citations in various formats:

Cite Using the Catalogue:

Cite using tools in the library catalogue by searching for an item and clicking on "Options" and then the "Cite" function.

Cite it Right: Click on Options and then Cite to use the catalogue citation function (

Online Resources:

Print Resources:

There are numerous citation resources available in print through the University of Toronto library catalogue including the following suggested guides:

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.