Bachelor of Engineering (first year): Overview

Library resources for students studying first year engineering

About this guide

This guide provides an introduction to Library resources for 1st Year Engineering students.

  • Getting started
    Resources to get you started.
  • Books & eBooks
    Search strategies and information to assist you find relevant books & eBooks from the VU Library.
  • Databases & journals
    Information on what journal articles are and strategies on how to find them.
  • Websites
    Strategies to assess the internet content you might use for your assignments.


On this page

This page provides information on getting started on your assignment and keyword searching strategies.

Steps to a successful assignment

  1. Collect all the relevant information about the assignment
  • the handout on the assignment and the steps you should take for its completion
  • the types of resources required for your reference list, e.g. books, handbooks, journal articles, etc.
  • note down the assignment's due date and start early collecting and preparing information for the assignment
  1. Analyse and prepare
  • identify and locate the required reading, if supplied. If the reading list is not provided, the learning material will be provided by lecturers and tutors in the learning space.
  • identify keywords & search the Library for additional resources e.g. books and journal articles to support your ideas in drafting the assignment (see below the information on keywords and search strategies)
  1. Read for Information
  • read the required reading and make notes
  • read the additional information sources for information not supplied in the required reading
  • prepare each reference as you go through the reading material ensuring it is written in the suggested referencing style (Harvard or IEEE). Refer to Harvard or IEEE referencing guides for further assistance
  1. Start writing
  • collect notes from your readings and start writing your assignment
  • prepare the Reference List (list of materials that you have used or referred to) by collating all the references for each of your reading

          Refer to the Academic Resources & Referencing page to read about acknowledging the sources of the ideas you use in your writing.

Finding information

Do you know what you are looking for? 
Think about what types of information you would require in order to tackle your assignment(s), e.g. textbooks, handbooks or manuals, journal articles, government publications, and other resources. Note down any significant words (keywords) that describe your topic, as you will be searching for resources using these keywords.

Course or unit coordinators generally provide a list of references (reading material) linked to a unit that is a good starting point for getting familiar with the topic. If the reading list is not provided, the learning material will be provided by lecturers and tutors in the learning space. You can start with a textbook, encyclopedia or a subject dictionary to gain a basic understanding of the topic.

Know where to look for information sources
Use the Library Search, the library’s discovery platform to find library resources. The Library Search enables you to search across the range of library’s online and print resources in one search. View the results of your search in the retrieved list of records. Each record gives brief bibliographic details of the item and either a link that provides the full access to the item, or the information about the item’s location including how many copies are available.

Library catalogue
The classic library catalogue is still available and convenient as it allows for field searching (e.g. unit code) that the Library Search does not allow for. It is also the fastest tool for looking up the exact title or the author you are looking for.

For more information on using e-books, books, and journal articles view the Books & eBooks, or Databases & journals tabs.

Browse the shelves
The VU Library has an e-preferred collection management policy, however, a number of useful print material is available on the library shelves. A book is shelved according to its call number. Call numbers group similar subjects together on the library shelves in VU campus libraries.

Welcome Video

Welcome to VU Library from Victoria University Library on Vimeo.

Search the library

The image below is the main library homepage. Search terms can be entered in the search box and limited by books& ebooks or journal articles.

Main page of the library website. Arrow points at the Books & ebooks radio button, which can be chosen as a limiter to display only books and ebooks in the results page.

Engineering in the news

The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public. Here are the latest 'Science & Technology' articles.

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ABC Engineering news

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Transcript of 'What is Engineering?' video

Let's take a moment to think about your morning. The alarm on your phone goes off at 7:03. You drag yourself to the shower and blast yourself with perfectly warm water in an attempt to wake up. You smear your toothbrush with too much toothpaste and scrub yourself into a foamy mess of minty freshness. You're running late, so you skate downtown weaving through the commuters, dart across the road barely making the lights and jump on the train just before the doors beep shut. There's a couple of stops to go so you pull out your phone and play a few games of Angry Birds. Alarms, trains, traffic lights, video games, toothpaste.

All these things were made possible by engineers. But what prompts an engineer to improve our world? Well, they solve problems. Problems are an engineer's inspiration and maths and science are the creative tools they use to solve them. Problems like making your alarm go off at the right time, or making sure your toothpaste is just the right balance of chemicals to give you that perfect smile. Or even making a game so addictive it's almost impossible to put down if that really is a problem. Now let's head over to the airport and jump on an aeroplane. Ahh aeroplanes, they're so easy to take for granted. But don't forget, you can fly! Before aeroplanes, flying was quite a bit more challenging. Every bit of your plane has been touched by engineers. A mechanical engineer designed the engine, a mechatronics engineer devised the controls, the fuel? Extracted by mining engineers and refined by chemical engineers. The navigation systems? Electrical and software engineers created those. Now we've landed in Dubai, home of the Burj Khalifa. It's the world's tallest building at 829.8 meters high. It's also in one of the world's hottest environments, reaching up to 50 degrees in summer.

One of the difficulties of building the Burj was trying to figure out how to set forty-five thousand cubic meters of reinforced concrete in such extreme weather. The solution? A clever method of pumping iced liquid concrete into the 55,000 tonnes steel frame during the night. The result? A building that's vertically over 800 meters high, rather than horizontally all over the ground. Now let's jump into our time machine and go back to Saturday, Saturday, March 1932. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is about to open. The bridge is a marvel of civil engineering and a pretty cool place to set off some fireworks. Since 1815 people had been talking about building a bridge to connect the two sides of the Harbour. The problem was that the harbour was so incredibly wide, how could a bridge span such width and support its own weight? The solution? The Romans! Well, actually it was an idea they came up with. The arched bridge works by transferring the weight into horizontal forces and bracing them at the ends of the arch.

But what about the future? What problems will engineers solve next? Will we finally have affordable solar power? Or robots that can perform life-saving surgery, or a building that's so tall your view is of outer space. Or how about finally engineering a working hoverboard? Seriously, we've waited long enough.

So what is engineering? It's solving problems. It's taking crazy, out-there ideas and seeing if they're actually possible.
And when they are, the idea is shared with the world to make all our lives better. So, what problems do you want to solve?

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Transcript for 'Evaluating Sources' video

If you want to succeed in your assignments for research you should only use quality information whether it's found in books, journal articles, or websites. Use the following criteria, also known as the crap test, to critically evaluate any source of information.

Currency - when was the information published, updated, and/or, revised? Is the information out-of-date for the topic? 

Relevance or intended audience - how much information is presented? Provided is a superficial treatment, or a detailed analysis? Is the information related and relevant to your topic? Is the readership level appropriate: right, too simple nor too sophisticated? 

Authority - not all books or journal articles in an academic library are scholarly. Who are the authors and/or editors and what are their credentials for journals? Are articles peer-reviewed, that is, do they have the approval from other experts in the field. For books, are they published by scholarly presses, popular presses, or self-published? 

Accuracy, and verifiability - does the source match your understanding of the topic? Can you verify the claims and other sources? Never rely on just one source. Is there a bibliography or a list of works cited? What types of sources, and how many relevant sources are cited? This is an indication of the depth of the author's knowledge.

Purpose and objectivity - is the purpose stated? Is the subject approached from the objective standpoint? If not, what is the author's bias and how might it influence the information presented? Be wary, there may be more than one perspective on any given issue.

Using these criteria of currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose to critically evaluate sources of information will help ensure you are only using quality sources of information. If you need more help with the evaluating sources visit one of our research help desks.

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