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Geological Sciences: GeoRef Tutorial

GeoRef Search Aids


About the GeoRef Database

The GeoRef database covers the geology of North America from 1669 to the present and the geology of the rest of the world from 1933 to the present. The database includes references to all publications of the U.S. Geological Survey, conference papers, masters' theses and doctoral dissertations from U.S. and Canadian universities, and other publications in the fields of geology, geophysics, and paleontology.

For additional information about this database, detailed instructions, sample searches, and research tips, see the Proquest GeoRef LibGuide.

GeoRef Searching Tutorial

Author Searching

  • Choose the purple Search Tools tab at the top of the CSA screen, and then the Indexes tab.
  • Use the Select an Index drop down box to choose the Author Index.
  • Enter the surname, comma, and first initial of the author (e.g. levia, d) and then click the Go button. 
  • On the results screen, check all the boxes that may indicate your author, then click the Search button.

Keyword Searching

Using the green Advanced Search tab, enter your keywords in the appropriate boxes.  Use the boxes to help structure your search.  Multiple words entered in one search box will be searched as a phrase unless they are separated by Boolean operators (AN, OR, or NOT).

Advanced Searching Using the Thesaurus

  • Choose the purple Search Tools tab at the top of the CSA screen, and then the Thesaurus tab
  • Type a (one word) search term in the box and select the type of search.  The rotated index will show you the various uses of your search term in the thesaurus.  Click on the listed terms that appear to be most useful, and then click Go.
  • To see broader, narrower, or related terms, click on the term of interest.  Terms with a + after them will lead to more specific terminology.
  • Once you have chosen your descriptors (terms), click on the checkbox in front of the term(s) you wish to search.  If selecting more than one term, choose OR for synonyms to broaden a search or use AND to narrow a search (make it more specific).
  • Click on the Search button.

Combining Searches

  • To combine searches, choose the purple Search Tools tab, and then the Combine Searches tab.
  • Indicate which searches you wish to combine as follows: (#1 and #2) using the parentheses and # signs.
  • Click the Search button. Note that the results are presented under tabs: All Publication Types, Journals, Peer-Reviewed Journals, Conferences, and Books.


  • Looking at the record for an item, note that each item gives a complete bibliographic citation.  Clicking on View Record brings up the complete item description, including an abstract when one is available.  Use the check box to choose citations to save, print, or email. The GetIt! button will help you find the articles.
  • Note the RefWorks option.  RefWorks will manage your citations and format the citations in your paper and bibliography.  Use RefWorks to accumulate your results as you search.  The Library also has a subscription to EndNote Web.

For more information on RefWorks, creating citations and a bibliography, writing and publishing, see the Writing and Citing tab of this guide.

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