The similarly titled GeoRef and GEOBASE databases are among the best and most popular resources for their respective subject areas. But don’t be fooled by the names – there are a number of differences between the two, which cover much more than geology alone.
Here is a quick comparison between the two:
Established in 1966, GeoRef is produced by the American Geosciences Institute and is now one of the most comprehensive databases for the geosciences (or earth science, as it is sometimes known). Some specific topics covered include:
- Environmental and engineering geology
- Economic geology
- Marine geology and oceanography
This focus lends itself well to use by those studying geology, engineering, environmental sciences, archeology, and similar disciplines. Students can search a number of different formats, like journal articles, books, maps, conference papers, and reports in order to find information dating back to 1785.
There is a degree of overlap between the two databases, however GEOBASE covers a broader range of topics which may be useful to students studying geography, history, international development, ecology biology, and other disciplines. A brief list of the topics covered is as follows:
- Geology: Including Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Stratigraphy, Palaeontology, Geophysics, Environmental Geology, Economic Geology and Energy Sources
- Geomechanics: Including Rock and Soil Mechanics, Hydrogeology, Dams and tunnels, Earthquake Engineering, Site Investigation, Risk analysis, and Waste disposal
- Oceanography: Including Marine Geology, Marine Meteorology, Biological Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography, Pollution and Environment
- Physical Geography: Including Meteorology and climatology, GIS, Mapping, Hydrology, Soil science, Global Change, Environmental Pollution, and Geomorphology
- Human Geography and International Development: Including Environmental resources, Demography, Culture, Politics, Rural and Urban studies, National, Regional and Community Planning, Environmental Planning, Trade and Development, Agriculture, Industry, Transport, Tourism, Historical Geography
- Ecology: Including Terrestrial Ecology, Aquatic Ecology (Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater), Microbial Ecology, Conservation, Applied Ecology (including Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Pests/Diseases and Pollution), Evolution and Palaeoecology
In addition to journal articles, books, conference papers, and reports dating back to 1973, GEOBASE covers a significant amount of international and non-English language material as well. Other types of publications indexed in this database are magazine articles, product reviews, directories and all related materials.
Using the Databases
Using both databases is relatively simple, as both utilize the same interface. Just be sure to check the box corresponding to the appropriate database at the top of the page. Once a database (or both) is chosen, users can search by title, author, subject, abstract, or even country of origin.
Here are some additional tips for searching:
- Use truncation (*) to search for words that begin with the same letters.
- For example: searching comput* returns computer, computers, computerize, computerization
- Truncation can also be used to replace any number of characters internally.
- For example: sul*ate returns sulphate or sulfate
- Use wildcard (?) to replace a single character.
- For example: wom?n retrieves woman or women
- Terms are automatically stemmed, except in the author field, unless the “Autostemming off” feature is checked.
- For example: management returns manage, managed, manager, managers, managing, management