Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Engineering Systems & Environment

Combined guide for former UVA departments: Civil & Environmental Engineering, Systems Engineering

Tools You Can Use

Every researcher has a toolbox of things he or she can use to help make his or her research more efficient and productive.  Here is a list of library (and other) tools you should include in your research toolbox!

Accounts.  You will need to set up and/or register for various library and University accounts while a student or faculty member at UVa.  Here is a list of most of them.  Do this as soon as you can and you'll be all set to begin using the many library and University resources available to you!

Home Directory.  One of your most important accounts is your Home Directory. This account allows you to safely save and access all of your documents on a UVa server and access them from any computer anywhere in the world.  Documents on the home directory are backed up every 2 hours and you can easily retrieve any items you accidentally delete.

UVa Box UVa Box is a cloud-based storage and collaboration service that gives eligible members of the University community the ability to access, store, and share up to 50 GB of non-sensitive/moderately sensitive University files securely—anywhere, anytime, on any device.

The Library Home Page.  This is your gateway to all the resources and services provided by the Library.  Start your research here!  Here is the University Library's home page.

Research Portal Page.  The Library makes available a complete series of subject guides for most departments and areas of study at the University of Virginia.  There are guides for both science/engineering and non-science subject areas.  All guides and more are available from the Research Portal.

Online Library Catalog.  The VIRGO Online Catalog contains both the catalog—with materials like books, print journals, DVDs, maps, and digitized materials— and selected online articles from our rich array of subscription journals.

RefWorks.  You need a way to store, organize and utilize all the bibliographic data you discover.  RefWorks enables you to easily and quickly create a personal database of such information, automatically create bibliographies and footnotes, work in groups, and access your information from anywhere on the Internet -- all for free, as long as you are a UVa student or faculty member!  Find out more here.  Think you may prefer Zotero, Mendeley or Endnote instead of RefWorks?  Here is information comparing these popular reference managers.  There are additional helpful tutorials, too, as well as a comprehensive guide to using RefWorks from the University of Cape Town library!

Find @ UVa.  Many of the Library's databases will contain Find@UVa buttons Find at UVa Button or links.  Clicking on these will cause the database software to search for online versions of the referenced article or item, making your search for needed online information quicker and easier.

Alert Services.  It's hard to keep up with all the new information in your field.  Setting up automatic alerts makes the job a lot easier!  You can set up alerts for specific database searches you would like automatically run every week, month, etc. or you can have the tables of contents of favorite journals sent to you every time a new issue appears.  See the JournalTOCs site for one such service. Or contact your subject librarian for assistance.

Research Tutorials.  Having trouble locating the information you need for a paper or project?  Stumped about which database is the best one to use to find what you need?  Don't know where to start or what's available?  Set up a one-on-one Research Tutorial with the librarian most knowledgeable in the area of your specialty.  For quick questions send E-mail to the library's Ask a Science Librarian address or call 434-924-3628.  You can also reach a librarian via chat, text or other means, too!

Library in Motion.  You can access the UVa Library's web site via your mobile device, when you're on the go and not near a traditional web browser.

Remote Access.  Most Library resources and databases can be accessed from off-Grounds.  The EXProxy service now makes this process simple and quick using your NetBadge login.  Or you can configure your laptop or other computer with UVA Anywhere software.  Full instructions for doing this are located here or you can call the ITS Help Desk for more information at 434-924-HELP.

We Can Get It for You.  Although the UVa Library owns millions of items, we don't have everything.  You can use Interlibrary Services to request that needed items be borrowed from other libraries worldwide.  And you can ask us to purchase items for our collections, too. We will make every effort to obtain needed items within the limits of budget constraints and appropriateness to our collections.  If you have questions about needed items, please contact your subject librarian to discuss your specific needs.

Specialized Software.  You no longer need to obtain special licenses to use certain specialized software or download copies to your personal computer.  You can now access The Hive and use it to obtain access to the software you need, when you need it, from almost anywhere.  This includes popular programs in many science, engineering and mathematical areas.

Library Group Study Rooms.  The Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library and other library locations around Grounds make available rooms where groups can study together, work on presentations or projects, or conduct other small group activities.  You can reserve a group study room online using the Library's BookIt! Room Reservation System, as well as check on room availability and manage your room reservations.

Social Media for Engineers.  Here is a blog post to information about social media resources that engineers may find useful.

Data Visualization and Management.  You can get help managing and using your data from the folks in the Research Data Services department of the Library.  In addition, you might want to check out the Sci2 Tool from Indiana University or IBM's Advanced Visualization service Many Eyes for discovering collaborations and displaying your data in visual form.

Shop and Studio Safety.  Follow this link to review information relating to safe practices when working in laboratories, using machinery, and on projects.