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Finding information for your e-reference book

Continuous Assessment: Developing an E-Reference book

This page will help you find relevant information  from reputable sources so you can complete your e-reference book (Assessment 1)

For your assessment you will need to find information from trusted sources on:

  • history, extraction processing, properties, construction, maintenance and disposal of  some building materials used in construction in Australia.
  • performance of these materials
  • define the terminology, characteristics and scientific/engineering properties of primary construction materials

View your course site's Assessment Information for more detail about the task.

Note: The example used in this assignment help is material relevant for cladding: Timber vs Aluminium. This may be a different material to the one you investigate, but the search strategies shown still apply.

Part 1.1 Find History and Background information

Library Catalogue

The Library Catalogue is a good place to start to help define terminology, describe characteristics, or explain the history or current use of your chosen material.


  • Find ebooks using the Library Collection
  • Tip: start broad with your search. You may not find whole books on your chosen material.
  • For example: try searching for (Building OR construction) AND materials

Catalogue search


  • At the results screen, use the left hand menu to refine to ebooks by choosing Resource Type Books and Full Text Online
  • Select a relevant book - you can then search within for your application or material. 
  • If there are too many results add in an additional keyword to your search, ie Cladding

The Internet is a good place to search for background and history of your chosen material. Try some basic searches like:

Reputable sites on the internet can also be useful sources of information. Some useful websites for this part of your assignment include:

ASM Materials Information & Handbooks

ASM Handbooks Online provides a comprehensive source of information on metals and materials technology. The ASM Handbook contains peer-reviewed, trusted information in every area of materials engineering. Try searching for your material within the handbooks.

Part 1.1 Find key manufacturers


The Internet is a good place to search for key manufacturers. Try some basic searches like:

Company & Industry Databases

Visit the Company and Industry Information guide for sources to find key manufacturers in Australia.

IBISWorld is a good database to start with to discover major players in the Australian construction industry, manufacturers and users.

  • Type your keywords into the search box (it's best to keep it short and simple for this database)
    Cladding example search in IBISWorld
  • Select search or select from the drop down list that appears as you type
    cladding example search in IBISWorld
  • Select the report that has the Industry tag on it. This will show you key information about that industry including any major companies that operate within the industry

Part 1.2 Material Properties and Applications

These databases will help you find the relevant material properties of the selected applications.

You can choose to:

  • Compare properties across multiple materials or
  • Find a property value for a single material

 Watch the Video tutorial for an overview on how to use (6:20)

Lets step through finding the heat capacity for Aluminium

  • Select 'Compare Properties across multiple materials'
  • Select 'One Property'
  • Select the Property- 'Specific Heat Capacity' listed under Thermal
  • In the table 'Deselect All'

Datavis Deselect All

  • Select 'Aluminum Alloy'. Tip: if you can't find them listed use the search option. You may need to think about think about the American spelling. For example a search to find Aluminium did not get any results. Needed to search for Aluminum which is the American spelling.
  • Under Display settings select 'show selected and in range only'DataVis display
  • You can now see the Materials listed under 'Aluminum Alloy'  plotted on the graph specific to the heat capacity.
  • There is also an option to export into a CSV.

Other useful databases to find Material Properties include:

Part 1.3 Find Lead times and Standards

Construction- Lead Times

Some construction products suppliers and manufacturers are below to get you started. You can find more by searching the Internet or consulting the industry report as outlined in Part 1.1 Find Key Manufacturers of this guide.


The Building Code of Australia and the SAI Global's Building and Construction Standards web page can help you identify standards as can the Techstreet database. Understanding standards will help you to identify and explain why the system needs maintenance.

To view and/or download the standards in their entirety visit Techstreet.

Note : prior to searching and downloading standards in Techstreet you must set up an individual account. Instructions here

Search for Standards on Techstreet 

  • Use the search box to type in your keywords. Select Search.
  • If you are looking for a specific standard, enter the title instead. Select Search.
  • Tip: Keep your search broad


  • Use the left menu to limit your search. Tip: To limit to Australian standards filter to Publisher: AS
  • To view a standard select the title then either view online or download
  • Check you are downloading the Most Recent per the Published field:


Referencing support

Other referencing support tools: Referencing software (EndNote)

What do you do with all those references you have found? Use a bibliographic management software to store, organise and cite your references.

The Library supports the bibliographic management tool EndNote. There are also many free systems available.

EndNote Guide