San Juan College Library

Technical Writing Research Guide




A variety of resources are available to San Juan College students through the SJC Library, its online databases, and the internet.

Reference Librarians are available to help you locate and use various online and print resources. Just ask for help at the Reference Desk!

As you begin your research, you may want to get an overview of your topic by consulting a specialized encyclopedia, dictionary, handbook, or guide. A great selection of these can be found in the Reference area of the library (near the Reference Desk). As you read about your topic, make note of some of the terms used in the articles. These can be helpful to you later as your search the library catalog and online databases.


Sample Reference Works
from the SJC Library

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology Q121 .M3 2002
The Engineering Handbook TA 151 .E424 2004
Pipefitter's and Welder's Pocket Guide TH 6125 .M3997 2003
Construction Databook TH 151 .L48 1998
McGraw-Hill Electronics Dictionary TK 7804 .M354 1994
The Circuits and Filters Handbook TK 7867 .C4977 2003
Internet Technologies Handbook TK 5105.5 .M5492 2004
Guide to the 2005 National Electrical Code TK 260 .G85 2004
Renewable Energy TJ 163.2 .S66 2004
Power Generation Handbook TK 1001 .K52 2003
Water Pumps & Pumping Systems TJ 900 .R57 2002
McMillan Encyclopedia of Energy TJ 163.28 .M33 2001
The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile TL 9 .B43 2001
The Airplane: A history of its Technology TL 870.3 .A49 2002
Handbook of Food Science, Technology, & Engineering TP 370.4 .H38 2006
How Products are Made: An Illustrated Guide... TS 146 .H69 1994
Fire Protection Handbook TH 9150 .F47 1997
Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary R 1221 .D73 2003
The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine RC 41 .G35
Quick Reference Dictionary for Physical Therapy RM696.5 .Q53 2003
The Rehabilitation Specialist Handbook RM 735.3 .R68 2005
Periodontology (Color Atlas) RK 361 .P2813 2005

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The library is organized using the Library of Congress system. To get an idea of how resources are arranged in this system, click one of the subject areas below:

Q -- Science

R -- Medicine (nursing, physical therapy, dental)

S -- Agriculture (plant culture, animal science)

T -- Technology (aviation, automotive, cosmetology, engineering...)

Browsing a section of the library can give you a general idea of what is available on your topic, however a more precise search for resources in all areas of the library can be done using the online library catalog.

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Journal articles can often provide the most up-to-date information on a topic. To get an overview of the latest developments in a particular field, you may want to browse professional or scholarly journals that represent that field. The SJC Library subscribes to over 450 different journals and magazines. Current issues are on display in the library and older issues can be found in the Bound Periodicals area of the library.

Examples of some of the journals and magazines in the SJC Library:

Automotive Engineering International Infinite Energy
Civil Engineering Mechanical Engineering
IEEE Spectrum (electrical engineering) Nursing Clinics of North America
IFR Refresher (aviation) Physical Therapy
Industry Week Technology Review

Electronic versions of articles and other online resources are available through the SJC Library's online databases. Select a subject most closely related to your topic. A list of suggested databases will appear.

The SJC Library databases are available for SJC students 24/7 from any computer connected to the internet. For access from off campus, a message on your computer screen will ask you to log in with your SJC student username and password. (This is the same username and password you use to log on to computers in labs on campus.)


A small sampling of just a few
of the many Databases
available from the SJC Library

Automotive Repair Center
Business and Company Resource Center
Expanded Academic
Nursing Journals
Science Direct

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What if the SJC Library does not have the resources you need?

When a resource is not available in the SJC Library, you may request it through our InterLibrary Loan Program. Keep in mind that requests may take 10-14 business days or longer to process and receive. When a time factor is involved, it is crucial that requests be made as soon as possible. Reference Librarians are available in the library to assist you with ILL requests.


Anyone can create and post a website, so it is important to evaluate information obtained from the Internet. Do you trust the author or organization that created the site? What are their credentials? Is the information current?

Below is a directory of websites selected by the Reference Librarians at SJC Library which may be of help to students in Technical Writing classes.

Acronyms Conversions
Allied Health (Nursing, Dental, PT)

Oil & Gas

Aviation Renewable Energy
Automotive Standards and Codes

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There are a number of books in the library which are helpful for student involved in technical writing.

A "Subject Browse" search in the library catalog for either of the following phrases will lead you to a number of helpful titles:

technical writing
communication of technical information

Some Helpful Book Resources
Essential communication strategies for scientists, engineers, and technology professionals (eBook)
Guidelines for Developing Instructions (eBook)
Handbook of Technical Writing T11 .B78 2003 (Reference)
Tech Writer's Survival Guide T11 .V368 2001 (Reference)
Publications Manual of the American Psychological Assoc.
BF 76.7 .P83 2001 (Reference)


Some Helpful Web Resources
General Technical Writing Guidelines (Purdue Univ.)
12 Tips on How to Tech-talk to Non-techies
Writing a Technical Report
Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students
APA Citation Style -- info from Univ. of Ill. at Urbana
APA Citation Style -- info from Long Island Univ.

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Library Account Questions 505-566-3249
Research Questions 505-566-3256