One of the first things students ask about when trying to pull background information on a new topic is, “Where should I look?” Back in the dark ages before the internet existed, the answer to that question was quite simple. Just check the library.
Now, we have so many more places to look.
While a classic Google search might be the first avenue that comes to mind, here on campus we have access to many wonderful databases that we should all remember to use a little more often. Here’s a snapshot of other alternatives to consider when conducting a background review on transportation issues.
UT Libraries Search Bar
First and foremost, I have to mention the UT Libraries search bar. This nifty little tool basically works just like the Google Search bar, but with additional perks. Yes, you read that right. Perks. And if you have an active EID, you’re in luck.
Have you ever tried to do a background search just using Google and had your hopes and dreams crushed after clicking on the article and learning that you have to pay money to read it? With an active EID, that really won’t ever happen with the UT libraries search engine. Well, at least if you’re on the UT network, you won’t run into that issue.
What if you’re not on campus? Make sure you go to https://catalog.lib.utexas.edu/patroninfo/ and log in before you do any searches. That way the catalog knows you are UT-affiliated and that you’re on the good list.
Now go type in a few keywords, search for a specific journal, and see what magic pops up that you can actually fully read. You’re welcome.
Find it here: https://www.lib.utexas.edu/
CTR Library Catalog
Want to find some Texas-specific transportation research documentation? A good place to look is the CTR Library otherwise known as the TxDOT Research library. This catalog contains all sorts of nifty final project reports from as early as 1955. There’s a whole range of subjects that are covered in this catalog, from bicycle and pedestrian issues to autonomous vehicles. You can even sign-up for email updates when new TxDOT reports are published.
TRID is essentially a mega-database combining records from other transportation research databases. It’ll pull papers from multiple journals and active projects under something we call ‘University Transportation Centers’ or UTCs. UTCs are groups of universities that have been granted money by the U.S. Dept of Transportation to work on a wide variety of research projects.
Personally, I suggest that you access the TRID database via UT Libraries database search (remember, log in first!) so that you don’t run into the issue of not being able to actually read the full paper or report you’re trying to access. The database search is here: https://guides.lib.utexas.edu/az.php. If you go through that, you can just type in TRID.
Find it here: https://trid.trb.org/
Questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.