Searching a library catalog is different than searching in databases that contain journal articles or conference papers. To get better results, it may be necessary to search under a broader keyword than your specific topic. When you enter a keyword in the catalog to look for books, your search is executed on basic pieces of information like the author, title, editor, publisher and subject headings. The book's title and its assigned subject headings assigned in catalog records are often much broader than your topic. Perhaps your topic is only covered in a chapter or grouping of chapters. So keep this in mind and adjust as necessary. You can always ask a librarian for help. Here are some links to help you out:
When beginning research on a topic, be sure to first review basic reference sources. These are titles such as subject-specific encyclopedias, subject-specific dictionaries, and a variety of handbooks that each pertain to a particular research topic.
Subject-specific encyclopedias will provide an overview of your selected topic. Many encyclopedia articles will have footnotes that will lead you to additional sources. Dictionaries are also helpful while performing research on a particular topic. Dictionaries will aid in deciphering the language of the field or providing an author with a standard definition of a term. Mathematics handbooks are also useful tools in mathematics research. Handbooks provide a way to locate formulae and data.
Below is a representative list of math specific encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks that are held by the Engineering & Science Library.
Mathematics. New York : Macmillan Reference USA, c2002.
ENGR&SCI REFERENCE QA40.5 .M38 2002
Encyclopaedia of Mathematics. Boston : Kluwer Academic Publishers, c1987.
ENGR&SCI REFERENCE QA5 .M3713 1988
Encyclopedia of optimization. Boston: Kluwer Academic, c2001.
ENGR&SCI REFERENCE QA402.5 .E53 2001
Dictionary of classical and theoretical mathematics. Boca Raton, Fla. : CRC Press, c2001.
ENG&SCI REFERENCE QA5 .D4984 2001
The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics. New York : Penguin Books, 2003.
Available online for the Carnegie Mellon community via Credo Reference!