Concordia University

Capstone & design classes - Resources

Journal articles

Scholarly articles can be a good place to look for new or current technologies and related designs. They may also contain property information, performance properties, and mathematical equations.


  • Compendex / Inspec
    Compendex, with references to more than 5,000 engineering journals and conferences, is the definitive source for all types engineering information going back to 1884. INSPEC goes back to 1896 and covers physics, electrical engineering, electronics and computing, as well as manufacturing, production and mechanical engineering. 

  • IEEE Xplore
    Full-text of articles published in the journals, transactions, and conference proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and of the British-based Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) from 1988 onwards. Current IEEE standards are also available. Covers circuits, communication systems, computer engineering, information theory, robotics, power engineering, signal processing, telecommunications, and more. 

  • ACM digital library
    Abstracts and full-text of articles published in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) journals, magazines, conference proceedings and newsletters, covering computer science, information technology, software engineering, networking, wireless communications, and other computing-related subjects

  • More Engineering and Computer Science Databases

Google Scholar:


Background information

To help understand how certain components, parts, systems or technologies function, background information might be required.


  • CLUES: Concordia Libraries' catalogue
  • WorldCat: worldwide catalogue of over 10,000 institutions
  • Google Books: full text search of books scanned from dozens of universities in the US and Europe. Full text not available, but some books do provide extensive previews

Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Dictionaries:

How stuff works:


Trade Journal Articles:



Costing information could be important when choosing components, outlining a budget, or understanding current prices for services or parts. Here are a few sources of costing information:

Product literature: (i.e. supplier catalogues)

  • Product literature, such as supplier or manufacturer catalogues, can provide costs for components, parts or entire systems.

Construction cost data (Canada & US):

  • Hanscomb's Yardsticks for Costing (in print in the Webster library) that contains cost data for the Canadian construction industry. Details constructions costs for eight major regions in Canada and includes market unit costs, composite unit rates, and gross building costs


Labour Costs:


Newspaper, Magazine or Trade journal articles:

  • Newspaper or magazine articles can be great sources of costing information. Journalists often uncover construction or service costs paid by government. Trade journals can also be a good location to find suppliers or manufacturers in an industry. Once identified, these suppliers' websites may allow you to find costing information. Note: If searching Google or news databases to find costing information in Québec, you may need to use French keywords. 
  • Engineering News Record Magazine: publishes biweekly construction cost data from the United States. Follow these steps to find the most recent data:
    1. Go to Business Source Complete
    2. In the first search box, enter "ENR: Engineering News-Record", and then select the "SO Publication Name" from the drop-down menu
    3. In the second search box, enter "construction economics", and then select the "TI Title" from the drop-down menu

Government information and technical reports

Government information and technical reports can be excellent sources of background information, current technologies, statistics, drawings, specifications, codes, material and performance properties, etc.

See the library guide to Government Information for additional search tools. 

Google Advanced Search:
Using the Advanced Search in Google allows you to specify document type (i.e. PDF) and/or URL (i.e. To do an advanced search:

  1. Go to Google
  2. Enter your keywords
  3. In the top right corner of the results page, look for and click on the gear icongear
  4. In the menu that opens, click on "Advanced Search"
  5. In the advanced search screen, under 'site or domain', enter the site where you would like to find information. For example:
    • For information from the Government of Canada, you can simply type
    • For information from the Government of Quebec, you can type
  6. In the advanced search screen, under 'file type', you can select PDF (as most reports are in PDF)

Note: When searching Google for information from Québec, you may need to use French keywords.

City of Montréal:
The City of Montréal publishes many reports and statistics (in French) covering demographics, laws and regulations, services (such as transportation, environmentrecycling), etc. You can search their website (try limiting to PDF document to find reports), use the A-Z index, or their complete list of city websites. You can also try searching Google Advanced Search (see above) to find more information.

Québec government:
You can find publications by using their search engine, or consult their complete list of Departments and Agencies including the different Ministries. Many of the Ministries have a "Publications" or "Documentation" section that you can search or browse. You may also need to search Québec's Laws and Regulations. You can also try using Google Advanced Search (see above) to find more information.

Government of Canada:
You can find publications by using their search engine, or consult their A-Z index, or complete list of Departments and Agencies. Many of the Departments have a "Publications" section that you can search or browse. You may also need to search Canada's Laws or Regulations. You can also try using Google Advanced Search (see above) to find more information.

Technical reports (government or industry):
Governments often conduct or pay industries for research and development and the results of this research is often published in technical reports. These reports often cover the areas of defense, space, environment, medicine and energy. There are a few search engines that specialize in locating technical reports. These should not be neglected as they can contain design details, specifications, drawings, new technologies, etc. Here are a few sources of free U.S. technical reports:


Materials: selection & properties

Handbooks are generally the best location to find information on materials: which to select, dimensions, properties, drawings, etc.

Handbooks (library owned):



Newspapers, magazines & trade journals

Newspaper, magazine and trade journal articles can be excellent sources of background information, current technologies, statistics, suppliers, related products, and consumer and market trends.

Note: When searching for information from Québec, you may need to use French keywords.

Google News:

  • Google News provides up-to-date news coverage, aggregated from sources all over the world.

Newspaper & magazine articles

  • Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies 
    Fulltext to Canadian daily newspapers.
  • CBCA Complete 
    Includes hundreds of Canadian newspapers, magazines, and journals, many with fulltext, including trade journals, and professional publications in all subject areas from 1982 onward. 
  • CPI.Q (Canadian Periodical Index) 
    Covers all subject areas with an emphasis on Canadian and international issues. It provides citations to more than 400 English and French language journals and magazines, including approximately 30 American titles and approximately 80 business periodicals, some in full text. It also provides full text of selected Globe & Mail articles. 
    Provides full text access to English and French language Canadian newspapers, magazines, newswires, blogs and broadcast transcripts. Exceptional for access to regional and local Canadian news sources. Also provides access to international and U.S. newspapers and news media. 

Trade journal articles:

  • ProQuest Business Databases
    Include articles from trade publications, including Canadian sources, which will provide, for example, real world applications of technology and new materials, descriptions of current and past engineering projects (useful if looking for case studies). Search results can be limited to SOURCE TYPE - TRADE JOURNALS.
  • Business Source Complete
    Includes articles from trade publications which will provide, for example, real world applications of technology and new materials, descriptions of current and past engineering projects (useful if looking for case studies). Search results can be limited to SOURCE TYPES - TRADE PUBLICATIONS.

Parts & components

Product literature includes product, company, vendor, or manufacturer catalogues, product selectors, buyers guides, advertisements, etc. They can provide costs for components, parts or entire systems. They can also provide performance and test data, dimensions, specifications, photographs, drawings, application notes, data books (for computers and integrated circuit devices), etc.


  • General:
    • AZoM: lists suppliers, articles, equipment, etc. based on application.
    • Canadian Company Capabilities: an Industry Canada database of Canadian companies
    • Fraser's Canadian trade directory: Directory of Industrial Suppliers and Manufacturers.
    • Global Sources: components made in and shipped from China.
    • Provides access to an up-to-date database of Québec manufacturers and suppliers. There are no catalogues on the site, but it will link to a company’s catalogue if available.
    • IHS Global Specs: This website is updated daily. Registration is required, but it is free.
    • Thomas Register: for finding suppliers of products and services in North America.

  • Electrical/Software:
    • Adafruit: tools, equipment and electronics personally selected by an MIT engineer.
    • All Electronics: electronic and electro-mechanical parts and supplies.
    • Electronic Engineer's Master Catalogue product catalogue for electrical engineers.
    • Maker Shed: Books, kits, robots, microcontrollers, science sets, electronics, tools and supplies, curated by the people at Make.
    • Sparkfun: Catalog with over 3,500 components and widgets.

  • Mechanical:
    • McMaster-Carr a searchable listing of over half a million products.

Recycled or used parts:

  • Craigslist Montréal: Classified ads
  • eBay Canada: Bid on new and used parts, products, etc.
  • Écocentres: There are seven locations on the island of Montréal. These centres collect recycled materials from Montréalers. They may be able to give away or sell some of this material.
  • Kijiji Montréal: Classified ads
  • Classified ads website for the province of Québec. In French only.


Magazines, newspapers, trade journal articles:

  • Searching newspapers, magazines or trade journals may provide information as to who are the current suppliers or manufacturers in a given field. 
    Note: When searching for information from Québec, you may need to use French keywords.

  • To browse the print trade journal collection held at Webster Library, see the following list of trade journals to see what the library’s holdings are (click on “print edition” next to a title to get the call number on the 3rd floor of Webster Library). These publications will include advertisements by manufacturers and suppliers and may publish buyer’s guides for very specific industries – this information may not be included in online editions.


RS Means:



Patents can be excellent sources of information for related designs and products as well as current technologies.

Google Patent Search

Patent Searches by Country

  • Canadian Patent Database
    Provides access to over 75 years of patent descriptions and images. You can search, retrieve and study over a million patent documents. 
  • Esp@ceNet
    Covers United Kingdom, other European countries, European (EP) patents, World International Property Organization (WIPO), worldwide patents and Japanese patents from 1836 to the present. 
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
    Provides full-text of U.S. patents from 1976 onwards. For older patents (1790-1975), the scanned image is available. 

Standards, codes & specifications

Some designs may need to comply to specific codes or specifications set out by industry, government, associations or standards bodies.

Industry standards (lists):

To find standards:

Frequently requested standards:



Statistics may be necessary when writing the problem statement or doing a literature review in order to get the complete picture of a market or a societal need.




  • More links to statistics websites in Canada and across the world.
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