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The OTL welcomes interest in literature searching. The library staff is available to assist when help is needed. There are two aspects to literature searching: (1) to know if work in an investigative area has been completed and (2) to obtain a reading copy of a document.

It is possible to obtain precise information when a federally funded transportation project meets the search criteria by searching in the Transportation Research Board’s Research in Progress (TRB RiP) data base (see TRID notation below).

Have fun searching. In all areas an interesting source of information can be found by looking in published “Letters” in technical journals or in the abstracts or titles of papers for meetings where authors share early results or intermediate tasks completed. For example, the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting programs have a listing of all presented papers; however, not all result in TRB publications.


As users become familiar with databases, they will find not all items are located in a single database. Each user should become familiar with many of them and when an item is not found in a favorite database then explore additional data bases. Each database has a learning curve and the source most likely will have a Help page.

General Strategies and Google 

Google has a richness of information with a search engine that allows broad search terms. Finding a professor resume or web site  is helpful since they often have attached Acrobat versions of their papers and reports. Google also will list papers and publications from copyrighted material behind a pay wall on a publisher’s web site. This is still a useful source since it will most often have the document abstract available at no cost.Then the searcher use a credit card to license a single copy of an Acrobat file.  Each searcher has to perform a cost versus time analysis and decide the best access to the full publication. Typically an academic searcher will go to their academic library web site and see if the publication is available in the collection electronically or, e.g. as a bound volume. Another source is to go to WorldCat (See below) and learn which libraries have the document. The OTL will assist ODOT staff to acquire a copy of reports.

As an example, enter ”hagen asphalt” without the quote marks, then search. Since Arnulf P. Hagen also uses Arnulf Hagen or A. P. Hagen depending on the publisher style guide the broadest search is best. The search will take the user directly to publications. A common search technique is to accept 50-100 "hits" and then to view each item. This technique can help avoid missing items. It is always possible the database indexer misspells a name or leaves out first names. It is also possible the term "et al." has been used for additional authors. Since not all senior authors list themselves first or last in a multi-author publication poor indexing can lead to missed publications.

The Google search engine is excellent when one is not sure of specifics of a topic. The searcher may recall being told "silanes are used to protect concrete." A Google search will quickly show if there are indexed items using silane and concrete as search terms. Knowing the topic exists gives the searcher confidence to look in archival online catalogs for additional information.

OU Libraries

The splash page has at the top DISCOVER with a search box. The searcher may set the search to include resources beyond the holdings at OU.

Oklahoma Transportation Library 

The link reaches the Open Access Public Catalog (OPAC). The splash page opens to the “simple" search box and a reference to the Advanced search. Try the simple search “zaman asphalt.” Several of the listings Have direct access to the item. The OTL collection of more than 11,000 cataloged items is a rich source of Oklahoma transportation reports and other transportation reports. This collection is owned by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). Please contact the library if an Oklahoma report is not found.


The owner claims this collection to be the ”World's Largest Library Catalog” and is a  global catalog of library collections. The OTL holdings are listed as well as those of OU, of OSU, and of TU.  Items from small to large collections as well as from school, academic, government, and private sector libraries are included. Searching WorldCat provides accessibility to publications, but does not offer a complete collection of materials, e.g., a search using the keywords “organosilanes bridge decks” does not return the same collection of results as the TRB databases or as Chemical Abstracts.

Digital Prairie

This is the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL, online catalog. The ODL is required to catalog Oklahoma reports and Oklahoma state agencies are required to deposit reports. The ODL also provides a gateway to WorldCat. Reports from the ODOT and the Oklahoma Transportation Center (OkTC) are deposited with the ODL.

Transportation Data Bases

Depositories for USDOT funded reports

Depending on the date of the report, United States Department oif Transportation (USDOT) funded entities are required to post their reports to one or more of the entities listed below. This includes the ODOT, the Oklahoma Transportation Center (OkTC), and the Southern Plains Transportation Center  (SPTC). Additionally, OKlahoma SP&R reports are deposited with the OTL, the Oklahoma Federal Highway Administration office, and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. The noted depositories do not necessarily replicate collections.

TRB Research in Progress (RiP)  

This site lists transportation research in progress. See TRB TRID below before using.


This site is an integrated database that combines the records from TRB’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database and the Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database. The TRID provides access to more than one million records of transportation research worldwide. This source is often the best place to search first. By clicking a box you may simultaneously search the TRB Research in Progress database.

Research Needs Statements (RNS) Database

This TRB site is important to learn about research needs that may be related to your research ideas. The researcher can determine if a TRB committee or others have identified a similar need or to identify needs in which you may be interested. And, if so, reach out to let the contact know your intention in terms of the project, such as planning to conduct research within state DOT research program(s), submit to NCHRP or other funding program, initiate a pooled fund study, etc. If you choose to move forward in some manner, you now know of others who are interested in the area and can work with you to further develop the idea. If you decide not to move forward, you still have a contact and know of others who may be interested in the effort for future coordination or collaboration.

Research Program and Project Management (RPPM) Database

This site allows the transportation research community to share information as well as to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate on shared issues.  The site will have a section for posting, funded, unfunded, and partially funded research projects.

National Transportation Library 

This is a physical library and a digital repository of electronic transportation resources available over the web through the NTL website. The National Transportation Library (NTL) is a dynamic Federal gateway that responds to the research needs of the greater transportation community by providing leadership, access to both print and electronic transportation resources, and utilizes partnerships and collaboration to offer premier research and knowledge management services.

National Technical Information Service

Traditionally this government service only held photo copies of documents. Today, they also archive electronic versions of documents. This collection is often the only source of older documents.

FHWA Library

This library is for FHWA employees; however, the splash page provides a listing of potential sources for materials.

Transportation Pooled Fund Program  (TPF)

This site provides a centralized database for storing records of Pooled Fund projects by making solicitations, commitments, and studies available. There is an internal search engine driven by Google. The Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) Program allows federal, state, and local agencies and other organizations to combine resources to support transportation research studies.

TRISNET Repositories

The Transport Research Information Services Network provides regional archival facilities for transportation documents.

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center:                  

Transportation Library Northwestern University:            

University of California at Berkeley, Institute of Transportation Studies Library

Restricted Files

Libraries generally subscribe to online databases for access to recent information. The use of these databases by contract with the publishers often not available to those who are not faculty, students, or staff at the academic institution or at the private sector library. These restricted access databases may allow use by the public at computers in the library or on campus. The restrictions are contained in the contractual agreements between the universities and are set by the database vendor. In general access to full papers is also restricted. The institutions have a license from the vendor or publisher that requires restricted access. The OTL will assist ODOT employees with obtaining copies of documents subject to meeting copyright restrictions.

The databases below are listed for reference. The OTL has denoted restricted the databases with respect to The University of Oklahoma Libraries (OU) as well as to the Oklahoma State University (OSU) libraries with the word (Restricted) in the source list.

Chemical Abstracts Service

Accessed from the SciFinder database at OU Libraries  (American Chemical Society) - Provides abstracts for chemistry related papers and patents from 1907 to present. Many ODOT projects involving asphalt, concrete, geosynthetic materials, sensors, new materials, and stability of materials are chemistry-oriented projects - restricted at OSU and at OU.

Web of Science

Accessed from Web of Science database at OU Libraries - When the searcher has a journal publication bibliographic citation the literature can be searched to determine who is citing the publication. It indexes science, engineering and many additional disciplines - restricted at OSU and at OU.

ASCE Library

Accessed from ASCE Library database at OU Libraries - Publications of the American Society of Civil Engineers abstracts and full papers are available - restricted at OU and not available at OSU

IHS Markit

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has a subscription to IHS Markit, a resource which makes available to ODOT personnel working from the ODOT intranet standards from AASHTO and ASTM. First time users will need to create a log in username and password.  Questions should be directed to Kenny Seward in the Materials Division.

From the ODOT intranet, select the “Business” link.  Nest select, “Construction, Engineering, Standards, Specifications.” Finally, click on “AASHTO & ASTM Standards.”

The company summarizes their services on their website:

Founded in 1959, IHS Markit offers a broad base of engineering data from research and design to manufacturing and repair. Our product offering provides customers with time-saving tools that not only help to increase productivity, but help you to stay on the cutting-edge of technology and ahead of the competition. IHS Markit is the industry's most comprehensive source of hardcopy and PDF technical industry standards and government and military standards. Additionally, IHS Markit publishes a variety of highly acclaimed reference books, manuals, and comprehensive guides.