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Mountaintop Removal Mining (SC 300 - Ethics of Science): Finding Articles & Books; Suggested Keywords for Searching

This guide lists resources related to the practice of mountaintop removal mining.

Don't Forget about Databases!

Searching for articles about mountaintop removal mining can be as simple as running the following search that pairs the term with other relevant keywords -

"mountaintop removal mining" AND pollution AND (air OR water)
"mountaintop removal mining" AND "valley fill" 

Note the phrases in these searches that are in quotes.  This is a way of holding the words together so that your search results will return the three-word phrase and not the words separately.  This works  in databases as well as on the open web. 

Once you've retrieved a set of articles, you can limit by scholarly journals, date, etc. 

Articles that are not available full-text in any of our databases (don't forget to check Journal Finder) can be ordered through interlibrary loan, <>.

Search ProQuest Central, PLOS ONE as well as PubMed Central.  It would also be a good idea to search Ebook Central.  If you've never used this database, review this resource guide <>.  Don't forget to ask a Librarian for assistance if you are having trouble locating resources.

Suggested Search Terms to Combine with "Mountaintop Removal Mining"

"air pollution"


"aquatic ecosystems"

"birth defects"


"climate change"



"economic impact"

"forest reclamation"

"health issues"

"land reclamation"

"slurry ponds"

"social change"

"valley fill"

"water pollution"

♦ Depending on your own interests, try to list other issues to explore. 

Explore All Formats for Quality and Variety of Information









Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.

Search Tips

Get the most out of Google Scholar with some helpful tips on searches, email alerts, citation export, and more.

Finding recent papers

Your search results are normally sorted by relevance, not by date. To find newer articles, try the following options in the left sidebar:

  1. click "Since Year" to show only recently published papers, sorted by relevance;
  2. click "Sort by date" to show just the new additions, sorted by date;
  3. click the envelope icon to have new results periodically delivered by email.

Locating the full text of an article

Abstracts are freely available for most of the articles. Alas, reading the entire article may require a subscription. Here're a few things to try:

  1. click a library link, e.g., "FindIt@Harvard", to the right of the search result;
  2. click a link labeled [PDF] to the right of the search result;
  3. click "All versions" under the search result and check out the alternative sources;
  4. click "Related articles" or "Cited by" under the search result to explore similar articles.

If you're affiliated with a university, but don't see links such as "FindIt@Harvard", please check with your local library about the best way to access their online subscriptions. You may need to do search from a computer on campus, or to configure your browser to use a library proxy.

Getting better answers

  • If you're new to the subject, it may be helpful to pick up the terminology from secondary sources. E.g., a Wikipedia article for "overweight" might suggest a Scholar search for "pediatric hyperalimentation".

  • If the search results are too specific for your needs, check out what they're citing in their "References" sections. Referenced works are often more general in nature.

  • Similarly, if the search results are too basic for you, click "Cited by" to see newer papers that referenced them. These newer papers will often be more specific.

Explore! There's rarely a single answer to a research question. Click "Related articles" or "Cited by" to see closely related work, or search for author's name and see what else they have written.
​Source: <

Looking for Books Outside of MAC Library

Presently, there is only one book in the MAC Library about mountaintop removal mining, Bringing Down the Mountains: The Impact of Mountaintop Removal Surface Coal Mining on Southern West Virginia Communities.  This books has been put on 3-day reserve for your class.

A very useful tool for locating the titles of books on the topic of mountaintop removal mining is  WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information. lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world. WorldCat grows every day thanks to the efforts of librarians and other information professionals.  You may search from the main page or, always a good idea, click on the "Advanced Search" button for a more refined search.

Once you have located a book that you think will be useful for your research, complete an interlibrary loan request.  Leave at least two weeks for the book to arrive.  You will be notified by you MAC email when the books is ready for pickup.

Note: We can not borrow electronic books or dissertations.

DVDs on Reserve

Two DVDs have been put on overnight reserve for students in SC 300.  



Deep Down: A Story from the Heart of Coal County (57 minutes)



The Last Mountain: A Fight for Our Future (95 minutes)


Unlike books and articles, we are not able to borrow DVDs from other Libraries through interlibrary loan.  You may want to either make a trip to a larger public library (Altoona, Johnstown or even the main branch of the Carnegie Library in Oakland, a section of PIttsburgh).  It would be a good idea to call ahead and ask about borrowing privileges.