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ScienceDirect: Quick Start Guide: Browsing

A quick start guide to using the ScienceDirect subscription database, available to VDOT employees through the VDOT Research Library.

Browsing Resources

The two key types of content in ScienceDirect are Journals and eBooks, both of which can be "browsed."  Journals fall into two categories: Regular Journals and Open Access Journals. There are multiple types of eBooks, and you can focus in on a category of eBook by using filters. Categories include: Books, Handbooks, Reference Works, and Book Series. For more details watch this brief Browsing Journals Tutorial (2:53) or visit the ScienceDirect Support Center

Browsing Journals

A simple way to browse all journals is to click on the words Journals & Books at the top of the main search screen. This brings up an alphabetical list showing all journals and eBooks available at the time (note this is a dynamic list that is always growing), shown below: 

Browsing options for ScienceDirect.

Browsing Options:

1. Refine by Domain/Subdomain: Select a subject area from the Domain dropdown list.

Domain Example: Engineering
Sub-Domain Example: Civil & Structural Engineering

2. Publication Types: Select a publication type using the check boxes.

Examples: Journals, Books, Handbooks, Reference works, Book series.

3. Alphabetical Listing: Browse items alphabetically by title.

Journal Home Page

Clicking on a journal title takes you to the "Home Page" which provides extensive information about the journal:

Screen capture of a journal home page.

The journal home page provides a wealth of information about each journal:

1. Journal Details

  • CiteScore: Measures the average citations received per document published in this title. Values are based on citation counts in a given year (e.g. 2018) to documents published in three previous calendar years (e.g. 2015-17), divided by the number of documents in these three previous years (e.g. 2015-17). 
  • Impact Fact: Measures the average number of citations received in a particular year by papers published in the journal during the two preceding years. 2018 Journal Citation Reports.

2. Explore Journal Content

  • Latest issue
  • Articles in press, if available
  • Article collections, if available
  • All issues list
  • Lets you set up journal alerts
  • Takes you to the form to set up an RSS feed

3. Latest Issues

  • Links to recently published volume/issues
  • Lets you view all volume/issues

4. Find Out More

  • "About the journal" takes you to the journal information page on
  • "Submit your article" takes you to the article submission form
  • "Guide for Authors" takes you to the journal-specific information and article submission requirements

5. TIP: At the bottom of the page the "Search in this journal" helps you quickly find articles in this journal which contain your search terms

Book Home Page

Clicking on a book title takes you to the "Home Page" for that book, which provides extensive information about the book:

Example of a book home page.

1. About the book

  • Publication description
  • Key features
  • Publishing information, including DOI
  • Editor information, including affiliations

2. Browse this book

  • Takes you to the book table of contents
  • Note: Each chapter is a separate download/charge. If you feel like you need the entire book, it is more affordable for VDOT to purchase or borrow the book for you. So instead of downloading all chapters, please USE THIS REQUEST FORM.

3. TIP: In the middle of the page the "Search in this book" option helps you quickly find chapters (within a specific book) that might be most relevant to your topic. 

Browsing By Subject

Elsevier uses 4 high-level subject categories as broad subject areas: Physical Sciences & Engineering, Life Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Each contains "domains" as well as "sub-domains" which can be used to narrow a subject search.

Example of how to browse by subject.

Example: The example above shows how to quickly find a journal on a specicfic subject. In this case we're looking for journals related to metals.

1. Domain: We selected "Materials Science"

2. Sub-Domain: We selected "Metals and Alloys"

3. Publication Type: We selected "Journal"


By selecting the 3 options above we can quickly narrow a list of 4,149 journals down to a list of 35 journals on our domain/sub-domain. In this case the title Corrosion Science looks promising. 

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