Dakota County Technical College Library

Technical Writing Course Guide (ENGL 1200 -- Wardell)


The New Way Things Work

McCauley, David. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
Call Number: T47 .M18 1998
Text and numerous detailed illustrations introduce and explain the scientific principles and workings of hundreds of machines. Includes new material about digital technology.

The Handy Technology Answer Book
Balban, Naomi E. and James E.
Call Number: T47 .B2165 2016

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. 20 volumes.
McGraw-Hill, 2012. 
Call Number: REFERENCE Q121 .M3 2012
A comprehensive encyclopedia containing over seven thousand articles covering all aspects of science and technology.

Also look at visual dictionaries shelved in call number PE1629 (both in reference and main collection.)
Technology books, which includes automotive, are shelved in the T section.



How Stuff Works


Reference books and online resources like Britannica Academic, Credo Reference, Salem Online, and Access Science are great for improving your background knowledge on almost any topic. These resources also provide images and videos, which you can use to liven up your papers and presentations.


Britannica Academic


Credo Reference


Salem Online

Access Science


MnPALS Plus: Our Catalog

Use our catalog, MnPALS Plus, to find books and videos in our collection, as well as ebooks and online videos.

The best way to begin a search in MnPALS Plus is to enter one or two keywords on your topic. To focus your search, use the Refine your search links that appear to the left of your results. You can also click on a relevant title and look for Similar Items on the right side of the screen.


Our collection is organized by Library of Congress call numbers. If you like to browse, most books and videos about SUBJECT are shelved in the CALL NUMBER (SUBJECT), CALL NUMBER (SUBJECT), and CALL NUMBER (SUBJECT) call number ranges. Ask a librarian if you need help finding anything.

Films on Demand

There are over 44,000 online videos in Films On Demand, which you can also find in our catalog, MnPALS Plus.


There are more than 160,000 ebooks in our EBSCOhost eBook Collection, which you can also find in our catalog, MnPALS Plus.

EBSCOhost eBooks

DATABASES: Articles and Reports
Use library databases to find articles, reports and background information. Databases are like search engines but search primarily for magazine, newspaper, and journal articles. Each database will search different publications so if you don't find what you need on the first try, you might want to consider a different database.The databases listed below are just a few of our Online Resources

If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in with Star ID.

Our Gale databases are a great place to find technical and scientific information, as well as magazine and journal articles.

These include the Chilton Library, for automotive repair information. There are thousands of year, make and model combinations covering the most popular vehicles of the last 30 years, plus additional coverage of specialty models. For diagrams, consult the Repair section of your make and model. 


Tutorial on using ChiltonLibrary repair manuals.

The best way to begin searching our article databases is to enter one or two keywords on your topic. Each database is different, but there will be ways to limit and focus your results so that you find the most relevant and useful articles available.

Our EBSCOhost databases are an excellent place to search for magazine and journal articles.


EBSCO databases


Search over 1,300 full-text newspapers and news sources with ProQuest Newspapers.


Find full-text articles, legal information, and business content from more than 11,000 sources using LexisNexis Academic.
Business Source Premier

Business Source Premier features the full text for more than 2,300 journals in all business disciplines. Coverage includes marketing, management, MIS, POM, accounting, finance, and economics. Additional non-journal content includes company profiles, country reports, industry profiles, market research reports, and SWOT analyses.

Gale Business Insights: Global

Detailed company and industry profiles including SWOT resports, market share reports, and financial reports. 

Government sites are invaluable sources of free information: reports, data and statistics, on a wide range of subjects.


The portal to information from all agencies of the federal government.

American Factfinder
Statistical information gathered from the U.S. Census.

State of Minnesota
Minnesota's government web portal, with links to all kinds of information on business, economics, demographics, and more.

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MN Deed)
A wealth of information from the stte for business and job seekers.

Minnesota Compass
Minnesota Compass is a data and statistics project that measures progress in Minnesota and its regions, counties, and cities in areas such as education, economy and workforce, health, housing, and public safety.

Minnesota Issues Resource Guides
Extensive resources on Minnesota-related issues, compiled by the MN Legislative Reference Library.

Metropolitan Council
The Met Council studies and publishes reports on many issues concerning the Twin Cities metro area: parks, transportation, planning, and more.

Dakota County
The county website, with links to information pertaining to Dakota County issues. Click on the Government tab for the most info.

For city information, do a Google search of the city you're interested in. It may be useful to add keywords such as "planning," "development," or the specific issue you're investigating.
Directory for locating manufacturers and suppliers. A good source for pricing information.
LearningExpress Library: For Tutorials on Usi
LearningExpress Library


LearningExpress Library is an outstanding resource for academic and career development with hundreds of online tutorials, practice tests, and ebooks.

The Computer Skills section has links to tutorials about how to use PowerPoint.

This Guide Created by:

Barbara Tuttle
Reference & Instruction Librarian

Contact All of Us

Use the e-mail address or phone number below to reach us as quickly as possible:


These are shared by all library staff, so whoever checks their e-mail or answers the phone first will help you.


Fall & Spring Semesters: 
Monday - Thursday: 
7:30 AM to 6:00 PM
7:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Summer Sessions: 
Monday - Thursday: 
8:00 AM to 1:00 PM


Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writing help to all DCTC students, including help with citing your sources. You can schedule an appointment by e-mail, phone (651-423-8420), or in person at the Learning Center (room 2-141).

How to Cite Your Sources

There are different styles for citing the sources you use in your assignments. Your instructor will let you know whether to use APA, Chicago, MLA, or some other style.

Here are some introductory guides to these styles from the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

For more details and examples, check these citation sites:
Citation Machine


Our catalog and many databases can provide citations for the books, videos, and articles you find in them. Just look for a link that says Cite or Citation while the catalog or article record is on the screen, then select the appropriate style. It's easy to copy and paste citations into your bibliography! Be aware that these citations aren't always 100% accurate, so check them before turning in your assignment.

To cite sources from LexisNexis Academic, see this guide from the McGraw-Page Library at Randolph-Macon College.

Evaluating Web Sources

Here are some useful guides from other universities to help you evaluate information you find on the web.

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet (Johns Hopkins University)

Evaluating Print vs. Internet Sources (Purdue University)

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask (UC Berkeley)


Avoid Plagiarism​

"Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment."

This definition of plagiarism comes from the DCTC Student Code of Conduct, which you'll find on page 31 of the 2012 Student Handbook. See how easy that was?

Citing your sources is an essential step in the research process. This allows others to verify your information and gives credit to previous researchers and writers for their hard work.

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