WRTG: Forecasting the Future: Progress & Survival

IC Library Print & Media Resources

Recommended Subject Searches

     There are a handful of broad Subject Headings concerning the future:

Twenty-first century--Forecasts
Civilization, Modern--21st century
Forecasting--United States
Economic forecasting
Business forecasting
Population forecasting
Population forecasting--United States
Population aging
Social change
Social Prediction
Social change--Forecasting
International relations--Forecasting
United States--Civilization--21st century--Forecasting
World politics--21st century--Forecasting
Regression (Civilization)

     There are also a number of Subject Headings used for cutting-edge science and technology topics that are likely to emphasize future development.  For example:

Technological forecasting
Technology and civilization--Forecasting
Technological innovations
Labor supply--Effect of technological innovations on
Military art and science--Technological innovations
Medical technology--Forecasting
Medical technology--Social aspects
Medical innovations
Medical innovations--Forecasting
Medical innovations--Social aspects
Genetic engineering
Human cloning
Brain mapping
Drug development
Pharmaceutical biotechnology
Medical care--Forecasting
Medical care--United States--Forecasting
Crops--Genetic engineering
Genetically modified foods
Agricultural innovations
Agriculture--United States--Forecasting
Agricultural ecology
     Also see my research guide: Agriculture & Food  
Education--Effect of technological innovations on
Education, Higher--Effect of technological innovations on
Computers and civilization
Information technology--Forecasting
Information society
Artificial intelligence
Outer space--Exploration
Space colonies
Interplanetary voyages
Power resources
Petroleum reserves--Forecasting
Energy development
Solar energy
Wind power
Biomass energy
Renewable energy sources
Sustainable development  [sustainability]
Sustainable development--Government policy
Sustainable development--United States
Environmental policy
Environmental policy--United States

    The future may also be about survival--whether in relation to ongoing problems or sudden crises:

Military readiness
Arms race
Drone aircraft--United States
National security--United States
Civil defense--United States
Terrorism--United States
Weapons of mass destruction
Nuclear weapons
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear nonproliferation
Information warfare
Internet -- Security measures

Disasters--Psychological aspects
Disasters--Social aspects
Disaster victims--Mental health
Natural disasters
Natural disasters--Risk assessment
Catastrophical, The
Disaster relief
Disaster relief--United States
Crisis management--United States
Emergency management
Emergency management--Government policy--United States
Emergency management--United States--Evaluation
Emergency communication systems--United States

Communicable diseases--Epidemiology
Communicable diseases--Prevention
Nature--Effect of human beings on
Global warming
Global warming--Prevention
Climatic changes
Environmental degradation
Pollution--Environmental aspects
Human beings--Effect of climate on
Water-supply--Political aspects
Water-supply--United States
     Also see my research guide: Environmental Issues

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

Note: Three leading journals on the future and technology are available only from the ScienceDirect database:
Technological Forecasting & Social Change  (1995-present in ScienceDirect)
Futures  (1995-present in ScienceDirect)
Technovation  (1995-present in ScienceDirect)

     General OneFile is the most user friendly of our comprehensive databases--covering virtually any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles. Use the default Subject search to find an appropriate Subject Heading for your topic and then open the "Subdivisions" link underneath. These will help you focus on a particular facet. Especially useful for prediction will be "Forecasts and Trends,"and "Innovations." 
    If the best available Subdivision is still too broad, open the set of articles and add Keywords in the "Search within these Results" slot at the upper left.

       ProQuest Research Library : Comprehensive database with ample full text and good resources in science and technology. Try running two Subject searchs and in one slot put--Future or Forecasts or Innovations or Trends--and in the other the Subject Heading for your topic, for example Space Exploration or Genetic Engineering or Artificial Intelligence.
    Note: when you select a Subject search from the drop down menu to the right of the search slot, you will see a "Look up Subjects" link appear to the right, where you can browse the available Subject Headings for your topic.

      Academic Search Premier : Another compreshensive database with ample full text and good resources in science and technology. The Subject headings available here for seeing into the future in include "Forecasting," "Trends," and "Technological Innovations." Try OR-ing these three together as Subjects in one slot and in the other run a Subject search on your topic--for example "Nanotechnology," "Power Resources," "Human Cloning," or "Outer Space--Exploration."
    Note: Academic Search Premier Subject Headings may be browsed in advance by clicking the "Subject Terms" link above the search slots.

     CQ Researcher  is a weekly publication from Congressional Quarterly. Each report (approx. 20 pages) examines a single issue relevant to American public policy, including health, criminal justice, internaional affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. The non-partisan analysis always includes a "Background," "Current Situation," "Outlook," and "Pro/Con" section, as well as numerous charts and graphs of statistical data, maps, and a bibliography for further reading.
    Note the "Issue Tracker" and "Pro/Con" browsers on the left of the home page: these provide an excellent way to find or brainstorm a topic.  Among the topics in recent years: Energy and Climate, Reducing Your Carbon Footprint, Buying Green; Revising No Child Left Behind, Student Rights, Reading Crisis; Global Food Crisis, Slow Food Movement, Factory Farms.
      ScienceDirect : This database covers not only the sciences, but also the social sciences. The articles tend to be very sophisticated, so you can find quite a bit about the hard science of, say, stem cell research. 
      There is only keyword searching here so combine words and/or phrases for your topic in the top search slot with future or forecast* or trend* or innovation* in the bottom slot. For example, put "space travel" or "space exploration" ; "genetic engineering" or "human cloning" ; "alternative energy" or "alternative power" ; "robot* or "artificial intelligence" in the first slot.
    Note: the asterisk (*) is the truncation symbol in this database, allowing you simultaneously to search singular and plural forms, as well as other variations on a root word.

      CINAHL  is a health literature database with excellent resources and a very helpful search interface--if you know how to approach it. Whatever your topic, first find the "CINAHL Headings" for it--the link is at the top left. When you've found the right heading--whether Alzheimer's Disease, Obesity, or Doping in Sports--click on "Explode" to the right for a list of subheadings--among them "Trends." By ticking this box you can add it to the main Subject search, which you can then run by clicking "Search Database" at the top right.

      ERIC (Ebsco interface) : A disciplinary database in Education—at all levels. The field of Education has its own set of Subject Headings so be sure to browse the “Thesaurus” (above the search slots) for the best "Descriptors." ERIC provides access not only to relevant journal literature (citations for these end in a number preceded by EJ—ERIC Journal), but also to research published directly to ERIC (citations for these end in a number preceded by ED—ERIC Document. 
     Education uses its own Subject Headings (Descriptors), so a useful first stop is the ERIC "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to see what Subject searches will work here. This is also a helpful exercise in that once you have found the appropriate Subject Heading you can "explode" it (double click) and generate a list of related Subject Headings.  Among those available here are Educational Innovation, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Experimental Schools, Experimental Programs, Experimental Curriculum, and Long Range Planning.
     Note:  Whatever Descriptors you find for your particular topic, you can focus on a particular level of education by selecting one from the "Educational Level" box below the search slots.

    Project Muse , although a smaller database, it complements JSTOR. LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse uses a "black box" search approach--you enter your search terms in one slot with no designated field options--but in addition to slapping in keywords, you can use the same Library of Congress Subject Headings that work in the Library catalog (see above under "Subject Searches").  This broad approach to searching tends to generate large retrievals, so it's best to be as specific as possible.  And note--once you have a retrieval set, you can add more search terms by clicking "Modify Search" at the top.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared.
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

Web Resources

Selected Web Sites

  • Institute for the Future: A non-profit silicon valley think tank, their Web site offers lots of linked content on the future of science and technology. Look in particular at the "Our Work: Projects" page, with particular attention to the "Global Landscape," "People + Technology," and "Body + Mind" categories at the top. Also check the "Future Now" blog.
  • Delta Scan: The Future of Science and Technology, 2005-2055 From Stanford University's Foresight Research group, this was an excellent site, offering projections for all the sciences.  The archive of the site and its content remains and most of the predicitive material remains current.  User note: whenever you click on a link, the new information appears at the bottom of the home page--that is to say, it can appear the link hasn't taken you anywhere, but all you need to do is scroll down to the new content.
  • Arlington Institute: A think tank "that specializes in thinking about global futures and trying to influence rapid, positive change."  Click on FUTUREedition for the current issue of their e-newsletter, and note that when this appears so does an "Archives" tab at the upper left by which you can access past issues.
  • World Future Society: Much of the information here is available only to subscribers, but there's still a fair amount of free content--if you winkle it out.  Poke around under "Resources" and "Sci/Tech."
  • Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies: Newsletter: This is the only free content at this site, but worth poking around for ideas and topics.
  • Future--Technology: from the BBC, this site groups together articles on the future.  Use the "Filter by Topic" drop-down menu.  And note that only 4-5 stories at a time are displayed so just keep clicking "See More Stories."
  • Forum for the Future: Action for a Sustainable World: British-based non-profit organization.  Some interesting future scenarios here, if you poke around.  See especially Consumer Futures 2020.  And there is an associated online journal called Green Futures.
  • Future Studies: Publications: From the University of Hawaii, be sure to scoll down this categorized list of publications.
  • World Futures Studies Federation: Some of the content here is a bit dataed for a Futures organization, but poke around under "Resources."
  • Global Forecasting: Top Foresight Orgs: Comprehensive list of--and links for--international organizations concerned with the future.  
  • Future Agenda: a project of Vodafone, the wrold's largest mobile telecommunications company.  As presented here, the future is not quite as navigable as one might wish, but there are some interesting predictions for the patient.
  • Resources for the Future : RFF is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research. Click on "Research Topics."
  • Center for a Livable Future: Publications : Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health aims to generate a body of high-quality research on themes relevant to improving food systems, and to help build the field of researchers focused on food systems and public health 
  • Cornell University Center for a Sustainable Future: Research : Not a lot of content here, but an interesting overview of current research products in a wide range of fields. Use the links under "Themes."
  • Millennium Project : Their mission is to "Improve thinking about the future." Check out the "Global Scenario" for 2050.
  • Rand Corporation: Science & Technology : Navigate with the "Topics" on the right..
  • Future of the Internet: Pew Research Internet Project : A wide range of Pew reports. 
  •  The Future of Electric Utilities : 90 minute video "conversation" from the Brookings Institute, recorded in February 2014. 
  • Technology Review: MIT's journal on emerging technologies and their likely impact.  The Web site offers only samples of the full text, but it could be useful for brainstorming topics.  And if you find something for which you want the full story, IC databases ProQuest, Academic Search Premier, and General Onefile all provide full text for this journal.
  • Open Directory Project: Future: Selected sites.  Be sure to click on "Predictions."
  • The World of 2088: Faculty and alumni at the University of Washington speculate on the near future in several broad categories: Education, Health, Politics, Popular Culture, Technology, etc.
  • Ready: The brainchild of the Department of Homeland Security: Disasters and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this site and both parent sites provide a wide range of survival strategies for a wide range of disaster scenarios.
  • EPA: A great deal of content here on a very wide range of current environmental concerns--most with an emphasis on meeting future challenges.
  • From the Forbes Web site, check out Future TechTransformational Tech, and Innovation & Science.
  • From Popular Mechanics, 110 Predictions for the Next 110 Years:
  • From Livescience, Tech

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.