Sustainability Research Guide

The United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as, "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." At NC State University, sustainability is an inherent priority in academic planning, leadership, innovation, and community involvement, 

Use this guide to:

  • Get familiar with finding information to support sustainability research
  • Identify resources specific to sustainability
  • Learn about library services that support the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
UN's sustainable development goal icons

NC State University Libraries' Research Resources


Summon is the best way to kickstart your research. Summon looks through a lot of the libraries' holdings including the catalog, scholarly articles, linked in learning videos, journals, and databases. Check out what happens when you run searches related to sustainability, education, green energy, drinking water, or higher education.

Articles tab selected with "sustainability" as search term


Use the catalog to search for books, DVDs, documents, and more. Narrow your search to a specific type of resource and/or to show resources on a specific sector of sustainability. 

Catalog results can be narrowed by resource or topic using the left filters

Streaming Media

Did you know you have access to multiple media streaming services, DVDs that you can checkout, and other video resources? Check out Kanopy's environmental science collection or browse through our DVD collection (or search for your favorite sustainability topic!). 

Open Educational Resources (OER)

OER are freely and publicly available teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. For example, instructors may download the material, tailor it to their course, save a copy locally to share with their students and share it back out with attribution. OER can include all type of educational materials such as textbooks, course materials and full courses, modules, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. 

OER empowers faculty to innovate pedagogically, enhances access for all students to high-quality, tailored educational materials, and reduce the financial burden of expensive textbooks. OERs are sustainable because they use Creative Commons licenses which allow users to revise, remix, reuse, retain and redistribute content.  

Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to Finding and Evaluating Open Educational Resources

Databases by Subject

These databases allow you to search for articles within specific disciplines. Sustainability is a highly interdisciplinary subject area. Databases like Sustainability Science Abstracts, GreenFILEBusiness Source Complete, and Communication Source all tap into the different sectors of sustainability. 

Ask Us

Need more help with your research? Chat with us or schedule a consultation on our Ask Us page. We're here for you. 

Other Ways the Libraries Support Sustainability 

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