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Topic guides list resources for research in cross-discipline areas, as opposed to research within an academic discipline, which is covered by the Subject guides .


These databases primarily provide biographical information, though many subject-specific databases will have biographical entries (look for limiting-options on their advanced search screens).

Civil rights

Virginia Tech is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with a series of monthly events beginning in January 2014. Here are some databases and other resources for researching the history and issues surrounding the passage of the act.

Climate change

Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change may result from:

  • natural factors, such as changes in the sun's intensity or slow changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun
  • natural processes within the climate system (e.g. changes in ocean circulation)
  • human activities that change the atmosphere's composition (e.g. through burning fossil fuels) and the land surface (e.g. deforestation, reforestation, urbanization, desertification, etc.)

Find newspapers and current news sources

Databases listed here provide full-text, current news articles: newspapers, popular magazines, news report transcripts, and other publication. Use these databases to locate articles on current events, pop culture, biographies, financial reports, and local news.


Genealogy is the study of families and their ancestors and histories. Genealogy research requires using primary sources about family connections. Most genealogy databases require a subscription; the Virginia Tech Libraries does not provide access to any of these databases. This topic guide emphasizes local genealogy research.

Government (United States)

Our federal government produces information in all subject areas and formats. As a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program, the University Libraries of Virginia Tech were designated as a federal depository in 1907. The Virginia Tech Libraries are a selective Federal Depository Library, and we receive about 70% of all U.S. government publications. We are dedicated to making this information available to Virginia Tech and the community at large through a collection of print documents, CDs/DVDs, and microfiche, and the links to sites listed below.

Green campus initiatives

This research guides looks at sustainability initiatives on college campuses (and similar locations) from a policy perspective. Some colleges have established sustainability majors and research programs; other universities are implementing programs to improve the sustainability of their day to day operations through recycling, composting, reduced energy consumption, and alternative transportation programs. For specific details related to the implementation of these programs, you should also consult the other sustainability guides (e.g. the Sustainable building and design guide for information on constructing LEED-certified campus buildings).

IACUC literature searching information

Find information to help search for alternatives (aka the "3Rs") mandated by the Animal Welfare Act and required for IACUC protocols. The librarians listed on this page offer periodic workshops on how to effectively search resources, but you can also use this worksheet as a guide through the literature search process, and the National Agricultural Library's Animal Use Alternatives Thesaurus to generate additional search terms.

International government

These databases provide information about and full-text publications of international governments, especially the United Nations. While an increasing amount of U.N. publications are available online, we do have some earlier publications in our collection. Since these U.N. documents are not divided into a separate collection like federal government documents, search Addison to find call numbers and locations.

Local food

This research guide offers a starting point for locating resources and information related to "local food" in the context of the definition above. The concept of "local food" can be viewed through a variety of filters: food production and quality, food security, food policy, nutrition, ecology, agriculture, environmentalism, politics, business/marketing, food industry, and community.

Renewable or sustainable energy

This guide provides a starting point to locate resources used to search the topic sustainable or renewable energy. Alternative energy is a slightly different topic, and although there is some cross-over in regards to renewable/sustainable energy, alternative energy is not specifically covered in this guide.

Sustainable agriculture

These databases provide information on the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainable agriculture: agriculture that is capable of maintaining its productivity and usefulness to society indefinitely.

Sustainable building and design

This guide provides a general introduction to locating information about sustainable or green building and design. It focuses specifically on resources devoted to enhancing energy efficiency and reducing negative environmental impact through conscientious design practice.

Virginia government

These databases provide information about the Virginia state government, particularly laws and legislation. While an increasing amount of Virginia government publications are available online (many are cataloged in Addison), we also have an extensive collection of past publications in our collection. These publications are not divided into a separate collection like federal government documents, so search Addison to find call numbers and locations.