Resources for Pre-Engineering Students

See the electronic device right in front of you? Thank an engineer. That’s who designed it. If you’re not using an electronic device, how the heck are you reading this?!

Engineers also designed your car, your refrigerator, and your classroom. The point is, there are many, many different fields where your training as an engineer is needed. Our goal at the Scott Community College Library is to provide you with the tools to not only successfully complete that training, but also to find your career path.

Since our pre-engineering students tend to go on to further education, we strongly suggest that you learn and use effective research and study habits now. Know what is available to you as a student so you can focus on learning and make the most of your time in school. Besides, your tuition pays for this stuff whether you use it or not.

Traditional Media

You can find all of our traditional media listed in our catalog, which we share with area libraries in Iowa (such as Davenport Public, Bettendorf Public, etc.). Below, we’ve listed some in-house materials. That is, media owned by our library. Don’t see what you’re looking for here or in the catalog? Ask about our Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service, which allows us to ship and share material with libraries all across the state.

You can check out our materials using any RiverShare library card. Don’t have a library card? No problem! We can make you one in less than ten minutes.

Print Books

We’ve stocked our shelves with a variety of engineering books, from road-building to rocketry.

A partial list of our in-house books is available for download as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet. This list does not include our many math and physics books. For those, check out this post on those specific subjects. You may also want to explore our titles on design, manufacturing, engines, etc.


While we don’t subscribe to any periodicals about engineering in general, we have materials that would be of interest to certain specific fields.

For example, MOTOR and Motor Trend are both magazines that we’d recommend to anyone going into mechanical engineering.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) publishes its Technology Review monthly. It’s awesome, so everyone should read it, but electrical engineers especially should check it out.

More periodicals are available in digital format. See the section under Electronic Resources (below) about digital magazines.


As with our periodicals, our DVD collection is useful for certain fields under the umbrella of engineering. Chemical, mechanical, and civil engineers will get the most out of our in-house collection. You can download a partial list of available titles as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet. See the catalog to search all available DVDs.

Want more A/V options? See the section under Electronic Resources (below) about Films On Demand. You can also suggest titles to be added to our collection. Stop in and let us know what you’d like to see made available!

Electronic Resources

Most of these resources are subscription only, meaning they are only accessible to current students. A few are available to members of RiverShare libraries (a consortium that includes the Scott Community College Library), meaning you may continue to use them as long as you have a public library card. To access electronic resources, first log in to EICConnect. Then, under the left-hand side Menu, click on Library and select Electronic Resources.

Coursework Help and Practice

You probably already know that engineers use a lot of math. What you might not realize is that, as an engineer, you will also need good communication skills. Why? Because you’re going to spend most of your career explaining complex concepts in layman terms.

For example, do you understand the relationship between buoyancy and a floating foundation? Most people do not [Editor’s Note: we had to look up “buoyancy” to make sure we were even using the right term], so you’re going to have to explain it to the 40-year-old kid who inherited his mom’s construction company and wants to build his next condo complex on top of a swamp.

Below are the online tools we recommend to help you dominate ALL your classes.

Learning Express Library learning_express_library

Practice your written communication skills with this great digital learning assistant. Composed of multiple “centers,” The College Center is your best bet, with subsections that focus on reading, writing, science, and math skills. These sections feature video and/or walk-through tutorials, practice sets, test prep, and eBooks. Keep track of your progress by creating an account (which takes about 30 seconds).

While you’re there, take a look at some of the additional centers designed to help you navigate different stages on your life’s path. These include the Career Center, Adult Learning Center, Computer Skills Center, etc.. Check out our post about Learning Express Library to learn more.

ProQuest Research Companion proquest

This is a digital course that breaks down the paper-writing process into easy-to-follow steps. It’s a left-brained person’s dream. This blog has already covered how to use ProQuest. Remember! Always ask your instructor what their citation requirements are. Your instructor’s directions take precedence over ProQuest’s — meaning that if ProQuest tells you to do one thing but your instructor has given you another direction, do what your instructor told you to do.

eBooks and Digital Magazines

Science scienceonline

A peer-reviewed magazine from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this digital magazine is one of six that the society publishes. These publications focus on recent innovations and advances in technology, robotics, and more. You can access them all through this particular magazine’s landing page.

EBSCO Mobile ebscoebooksma_logo

EBSCO is one of our favorite electronic resources, and its mobile app includes almost 200 books devoted to Engineering and Technology. eBooks are great because you can browse the catalog AND check out your selections without ever leaving your couch! You can search for books under “Subject” or use the search bar to find specific titles or authors. Learn more about EBSCO in the section about its databases (below) or go ahead and check out our post about how to use the databases.


Click “Search Options” to search by different categories.

Research Databases

Engineers should always operate using the most accurate, up-to-date information available. An ill-informed engineer risks losing more than a job. Depending on what field you go into, negligence on the job risks lives and could result in legal charges. The NASA engineers responsible for the Space Shuttle Colombia are likely still serving time.

How will you avoid the same fate? By becoming a research BOSS. Learn the difference between an academic resource and a popular resource. Know how to spot false or questionable information. Using our databases will help you practice these skills. Many of these databases are stocked with information you can’t find on Google, and some of them allow you to search exclusively for academic or peer-reviewed articles.

EBSCO ebsco-logo2

We’ve already mentioned EBSCO Mobile, where you can find eBooks nearly 200 eBooks under Engineering and Technology. The EBSCO research databases are chock full of peer-reviewed journals that you won’t find anywhere else. We’ve adjusted the settings so your search automatically returns full-text articles. If you can’t find the material you need, uncheck the box for Full Text. Some of the partial articles you find may be available through ILL (as the library staff about this if you are unfamiliar).

To learn more about how to use EBSCO, view our previous post on the topic.

Academic OneFile academiconefile

Engineering is not listed under the “Browse by Discipline” section, so you’re going to have to use the search bar. Luckily, you can search by subject or publication using the Basic Search. You can also use the Advanced Search to search by multiple keywords, publication dates, article types, etc.


When using the Basic Search, click the “>” arrow to look at articles with titles that use the word “Engineering,” OR click “Subject Guide Search,” which will take you to this screen:


Type a term into the top search bar and it will give you two things. First, it will suggest related search terms in a drop-down menu:


The other thing it will do is, after you’ve clicked “search,” it will return a number of recommended keywords and subject terms as well as publication names for you to browse.


Click through to find what you need, or use the search terms to inform an Advanced Search. Like with the EBSCO databases, searches in Academic OneFile default to results with full-text articles available. If you can’t find information on your topic, try unchecking the “Full Text” option. Articles that aren’t available in full text may be available through ILL.

To learn more about how to use Academic OneFile, check out this post.

Films On Demand filmsondemand

Throughout your education, you’ve performed experiments in math and science classes – experiments that anyone who has attended an American school in the past 75 years has had to walk through – designed to illustrate complex concepts. Ideas that seem endlessly complicated on paper are easily explained in about 15 seconds using a visual aid. That’s why the Scott Community College Library subscribes to Films On Demand – so you can see the concepts you’re currently learning in real-world scenarios.

Or maybe you’re just sick of reading and want to watch a video. That’s okay, too. With over 500 titles under the subject of engineering alone (you’ll find even more on physics, applied mathematics, etc.), prepare to become an expert on topics such as hydrokinetic turbines and photovoltaics. Perhaps once you’ve mastered these subjects, you can come visit us at the Belmont campus and explain to us what they are.

Videos range from feature-length to 2-minute clicks. View our post about this database to learn more.

Other Materials


Yes, we have calculators for check out – standard and graphing – but beware:

We have six graphing calculators. Six. Each of these calculators can be checked out for one 24-hour period, with no renewal, and there is a $1-per-day late fee. That means you can’t rely on us to supply you with a calculator all semester long. Also, we absolutely will not allow these calculators to leave the library without checking them out to you on an active RiverShare library card.

Why all the rules? Graphing calculators are expensive. That’s why we have these on hand in the first place. If you leave yours at home on the day you have a test, we’ve got you covered. You can’t take the calculator out of the library, however, unless you have a RiverShare card. Therefore, we strongly recommend checking that your library card is active and accurate if you take any class that requires a graphing calculator.

Have any questions? See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments, or like us and comment on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!


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