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Lexicon of Sustainability  

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Getting Started

Image Source: University of Exeter

Begin by brainstorming keywords, as many as you can. As you get into your research, keep adding to your list of keywords are you find better terms that help you focus your search. A good place to start is encyclopedias - these are great for providing you background information to help to understand your subject. Look for books in the BLC that discuss your topic - Remember that you should use the Index! You probably won't find a whole book on your topic, but you may find a chapter or section which helps.

Demonstrate perserverance! If one search doesn't work, try another. Change your search terms. If you looked in books, try looking for magazine articles in a database. If you tried Advanced Google search, try BLC books. Keep digging!

And ask questions if you need help!!

Encyclopedias - Background Information

Encyclopedias are a good place to start to gather background information on your topic. While you are reading, be sure to be on the alert for other, or better, search words to help narrow or broaden your search.


Advanced Google Search

Advanced Google Search

  • Less is more
  • Word order matters
  • Use quotation marks around an exact phrase
  • Use a minus (-) to eliminate words that you don't want in your search.

Click here for more Google Search Tips


Subject Headings

Source: MazeNL77

The following are some Subject Headings which are appropriate for many of your topics. You could try using these to do a Subject Keyword search in the BLC catalog.

  • Environmentalism
  • Energy conservation
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Green living
  • Organic farming
  • Environmental sciences
  • Environmental protection - citizen participation

Books in BLC

These are just some of the books in the BLC that may be helpful. Use the catalog and/or browse to find even more. Remember that you'll need to look in the index and/or the table of contents to find out if your topic is covered in the book.

If you find a book that is really helpful, look in the catalog for its Subject Headings. You can use these to find similar books.

Cover Art
Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun - Michael Caduto
ISBN: 9781603429719
Publication Date: 2011-04-30
(solar power, wind power)
Kids ages 8--12 will love these 22 exciting activities and experiments focused on producing and playing with renewable energy. Projects range from the quick and simple -- like the Pie Plate Wind-Maker -- to the thrillingly large-scale, like Pedal Power, in which kids use a bicycle to power a 12-volt battery. Each activity teaches children about renewable energy and larger environmental issues. Education doesn't get more fun than this! Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun offers more than enough to get any kid charged up about renewable energy.

Cover Art
Do One Green Thing - Mindy Pennybacker; Meryl Streep (Foreword by); Meryl Streep
ISBN: 9780312559762
Publication Date: 2010-03-16
If you can only read and reference one green thing, make it this book; an easily comprehensible, clearly presented source for green living. Everything you need to know is right here at your fingertips. Unlike a lot of other overwhelming green guides on the market, this is green decision making in bite sized pieces.With chose it/lose it comparisons throughout, now it's simple to figure out it's worth switching to a green detergent, what kind of plastic your sports bottle is made of, or which fish is safest to eat. Rather than spending time trying to figure out how best to go green, use this book and devote that time to making the difference.

Cover Art
Earth Talk - E Magazine Staff
ISBN: 9780452290129
Publication Date: 2009-02-24
(organic farming, eating locally, food industry)
From the authors of the leading environmental handbook Green Living- the best of E's nationally syndicated Q&A column, EarthTalk In EarthTalk, the editors of E answer readers' questions on the environment and the best ways to live green. EarthTalk gathers together the best of these questions and answers in a quick and easy guide for the average Joe (or Jane). Searching by subject or looking up questions in the index, readers can learn everything from the difference between wild and farmed salmon to the pros and cons of nuclear power. EarthTalk provides the essential tools and tips to living in harmony with the planet.

Cover Art
Green Ideas - Anita Yasuda
ISBN: 9781616900946
Publication Date: 2010-07-15
Describes the different strategies people are using to reduce carbon footprints and protect the environment.

Searching Magazines and Newspapers

Image Source:

Start with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Database!!! It's a database that just searches through past issues of the local newspaper. You can use the same Search Ninja skills that you used for Google searching.

Sirs Discoverer and Researcher are databases. This means that you use them to search for magazines and newspapers, which as you know are excellent sources.

Discoverer is a little easier to use. Researcher lets you get a little fancier with your searches. For both, it is a good idea to start with Keyword/Natural Language searches.

Opposing Viewpoints - Looking at both sides of an issue

This database looks at the different sides of issues in our world. It provides viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites and full-text magazine and newspaper articles.

It may help with background infromation and/or give you ideas of other words or concepts to use in your search. After you search, choose Reference to find background information. You can also look at Viewpoints to get opinions on the topic. Scroll down and you will also find a Statistics section (don't forget to check the date on how recent the data is).


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