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This guide provides links to resources available at the Waidner-Spahr Library and on the World Wide Web in order to support research on sustainability at Dickinson College.

Some resources are restricted to people currently affiliated with Dickinson.

Because research on sustainability can cross over many academic disciplines (such as Biology, Environmental Studies, History, Business, Sociology, Psychology or Economics) students are strongly encouraged to consult with a librarian for help with specific topics.

For subject assistance contact: Nick Lonergan, 717-245-1838.


Search Tips

Different authors and organizations may use different terms to describe the same phenomena.

         "climate change" or "global warming"
         "environmental movement" or "green movement"

As such, it is a good idea to experiment with using several different words or phrases while you are searching. You can usually do this simply by putting "OR" between the relevant phrases: a search for "climate change" OR "global warming" will retrieve results that have either (or both) of these phrases.



Here are some examples of reference resources that we have in our collection:

To find more, you can either search our catalog or browse the reference stacks.

General collection

We have many books in our collection that may be useful for projects relating to sustainability.

Some useful Library of Congress Classification Subject headings include:

Sustainable agriculture    Sustainable development
Environmental engineering    Sustainable forestry
Ecotourism   Environmentalism   Green movement

You may also find it quite helpful to enter "Environmental aspects" as a subject term in our catalog and then enter the location or topic that you are interested in as a keyword.

Here are some examples of books that we have in our collection:


While many articles of interest may be published in journals that do not specifically focus on sustainability, here are some journals in our collection that do focus on this topic:

You can also search our Journal Locator to find out if we have access to a particular journal.


You may use these and other databases to identify articles related to your sustainability topic.


Covers the worldwide literature of agriculture, including journal articles, monographs, government documents, technical reports and proceedings. Coverage Range: 1970 to present

Biological & Agricultural Index

Articles and other scholarly material published in the leading publications in agriculture, biology, forestry, and ecology. Includes a wide range of popular and professional journals about biology and agriculture.

CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online)

The source for theory and research in international affairs including economic information, and map and country data. Coverage Range: 1996 to present

Energy Citations Database

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to improve access to scientific and technical information. Coverage Range: 1943 to present

Environment Complete

Covers agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, renewable energy sources, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, social impacts, urban planning, and more. Coverage Range: 1975 to present

Green Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides access to over 30,000 technical reports and over 2,000 patents from R&D projects that pertain to renewable energy resources and energy conservation.


GreenFile indexes scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports. This resource offers a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the environment.

National Geographic Magazine Archive

Recognized for some of the highest-quality photojournalism and cartography in the world, this award-winning, iconic magazine is famous for providing unparalleled, in-depth coverage of cultures, nature, science, technology and the environment.

PAIS International

Provides selective subjects and bibliographic access to periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries.


An excellent database for locating research on people's behavior and attitudes in regards to sustainability. Some useful subject terms include: Environmental Attitudes, Sustainable development, Conservation (Ecological Behavior), Global warming.


Databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

Government Resources

  • Environmental Health - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) home for topics on environmental health.
  • National Organic Program - The USDA's site for information on the national organic standards and certification program.


Agriculture and Organics


  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Affiliated with the U.S. Department of energy, the NREL conducts research and development on renewable energy and energy efficiency. This site features news and reports related to diverse renewable energies.

Public Health

  • Public Health & Environment - The World Health Organization (WHO) site for information on environmental factors impacting public health worldwide.

Sustainability in Higher Ed

Sustainability at Dickinson

Sustainable Development

  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform - A part of the UN Department of Economic and Social Development, DSD works to integrate social, environmental, and economic conditions of development on an international level. Resources include a database of sustainable development case studies, as well as sustainable consumption and production initiatives.

Urban Planning and Transportation

  • Center for Sustainable Urban Development - A program of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, CSUD aims to "engage in and foster education and research for the advancement of physically and socially sustainable cities."
  • Institute for Transportation and Development Policy - An organization dedicated to promoting "environmentally sustainable and socially equitable transportation worldwide." This site includes numerous reports and white papers, as well as full text of Sustainable Transport magazine.


  • U.S. Green Building Council - An organization dedicated to green building and design, and the creators of the LEED system for rating green buildings.


Environmental Studies Films - This link provides a list of the library's documentary films on environmental topics.

Visit the films page for items on additional topics.

Sample films include:

Internet Resources


From the Story of Stuff Project. The Story of Stuff discusses the "underside" of our production and consumption system.

From the Story of Stuff Project. The Story of Change suggests ways citizens can contribute to building a sustainable world by changing their consumption patterns.

William McDonough: Cradle to cradle design [TED Talk]. In this talk the architect and designer William McDonough discusses environmentally friendly building and city construction and the "Cradle to Cradle" design philosophy focused on recycling and biodegradability.