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Information Technology Handout

Sources of Information (Continue)
Magazines Sources
Magazines publish articles on topics of popular interest and current events. Magazine articles are typically written by freelance writers or professional journalists and are targeted to the general public. They often contain photographs and advertisements. Like journals and newspapers, magazines are called "periodicals" because they are published at regular intervals throughout the year. You can find print magazines at newsstands and in libraries. Some are now available on the Web as electronic magazines. Use a Magazine to find information or opinions about popular culture to find up-to-date information about current events to find general articles written for people who are not necessarily specialists in a topic area

Examples of Magazines U.S. News and World Report Working Woman Business Week Rolling Stone

Journals Sources
Journals are typically published by a professional association or a scholarly press. Journal articles are written by scholars in an academic or professional field. An editorial board reviews journal articles to decide whether they should be published. Journal articles may be based on a study (or relate to a study) and can cover very narrow fields of research. Since journals are published at periodic intervals, they are grouped in the category called "periodicals." They may be in print format or on the Web as electronic journals (or “e-journals”). An academic library purchases a good number of journal subscriptions in both print and online form. Use a Journal


commentaries. There are newspapers published locally and nationally. newspapers are "periodicals" because they are published regularly and a good percentage of newspapers are published on a daily basis. national and local news to find editorials. Newspapers can be found in print and in microform. Like journals and magazines. (Microform is a miniature version of a publication converted into film or fiche that requires a special microform reader). Newspapers are made available to you by subscriptions purchased by your library. expert or popular opinions Examples Wall Street Journal New York Times Milwaukee Journal Sentinel The Capitol Times 2 . Use a Newspaper to find current information about international.when doing scholarly research or when looking for a scholarly article to find out what has been studied on your topic or field of research to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research Examples of Journals Journal of Communication The Historian Journal of Business Research Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis Newspaper Sources Newspapers provide articles about current events and news. Many newspapers also have their own Web sites with today’s news although they don’t necessarily provide free access to back issues.

Book Sources “A room without books is like a body without a soul. Books almost always have a table of contents. Coupey. They can cover one subject or many. Use an Encyclopedia when looking for background information on a subject or topic when trying to find key ideas. The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society.C. There are two types of encyclopedias -general and subject-specific. General encyclopedias provide overviews on a variety of topics. Typically. T. Encyclopedia Sources Encyclopedias are books that contain factual information about many different subjects. 1997. Libraries may have e-books in their collections relating to your topic as well as print books. 1990. important dates or concepts to get a basic context behind a subject or topic 3 . They can give reallife examples or provide research findings. fact or fiction. with or without an index. to help you locate information or specific chapters. Marketing and the Internet. “ -. J. Libraries organize and store their book collections on shelves called "stacks. Roman Villas: A Study in Social Structure. Smith." E-books are available electronically on the Web.) Books can cover virtually any topic. Eloise. Subject-specific encyclopedias contain many entries that all focus on one field of study. The amount of information provided in encyclopedias can vary from a few paragraphs to several pages. They are typically organized alphabetically by the name of the subject or topic. When doing research.Cicero (106-43 B. general encyclopedias are published as multiple-volume sets whereas subject-specific encyclopedia may be made up of one volume or multiple-volume sets. ed. Gary B. Books can be lengthy and give detailed information or they can be short and concise. Use a Book to to to to find in-depth information on a subject put your topic in context with other related issues find historical information or “the classics” find summaries of research to support an argument Examples Nash. 2001. you will be looking for books that can provide in-depth coverage or an overview of a topic.

the database will retrieve articles and citations pertaining to that topic. When you enter search terms on your topic. or they may be subjectspecific meaning they contain information covering a certain subject like education or history. The two most popular Web browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer which can display both graphics and text. date and other information to describe the journal and newspaper articles. Databases are also known as periodical indexes. It allows you to access information. from the Internet.include both a citation and the full text of the journal or newspaper article.Examples Encyclopedia Britannica (general encyclopedia) Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns (subject encyclopedia) Database Sources A database is an organized collection of information or data stored in electronic format and searchable online. It may be necessary to refine your search in order to retrieve more specific information. One of the main features of the Web is the ability to link quickly to other related information. (Often citations will also include an abstract which briefly summarizes an article). Software applications known as Web browsers allow you to locate and display Web sites or "pages". They may be general in nature meaning they cover all subject areas. Full-text articles . journals or newspapers when you need to research a very current issue or topic Examples of Databases Expanded Academic ASAP from InfoTrac (a general database) AcademicSearch Full Text Elite from EbscoHost (a general database) PsycInfo (a psychology database) World Wide Web Sources The World Wide Web (or Web) is another type of information source. Use a Database when you want to find articles on your topic in magazines. There are typically two kinds of records in databases: Citations . title.include author. 4 . specifically Web sites.

you won't find journal or newspaper articles in an online catalog. Within each catalog record you can find out where an item is located within the library as well as if it is available or checked out. For that you need to start in an online database. maps and more. There are also links within some catalog records that allow you to access the contents of certain e-journals and other electronic library items. Information provided by government departments and reputable organisations and institutions can be highly Information on the Internet may be current to the second .alverno. sound (Google. newspapers. magazines. 5 . Use the Web to find very current information on different topics to link to information provided by the library over the Internet to find information about companies to find information from all levels of government . a search engine) www. or a person or organisation with a stated or unstated agenda or bias. The Internet provides a wide range of high quality information that is widely and freely available. A web site can be created by a child.lcweb. the Web is best known for providing very current information on any imaginable topic. Online catalogs include records for books. videos.As an information source. Authors of Web sites vary greatly from subject experts to 10-year old school children. a government department. Information from the Internet should always be evaluated according to criteria particularly applicable to that (The Library of Congress) www. Online Library Catalog Sources An online library catalog is an electronic resource that provides a record for each item that a library owns (or each item found in a library's collection).but this is not always the case. journals.federal to local to find both expert and popular opinions Examples of Web Addresses (Alverno College) The Internet The Internet provides a vast amount of information with a diverse range of complexity and reliability. TOPCAT is the name of the Alverno Library's online catalog. REMEMBER.

periodicals. business and special interest groups. 6 . A concise dictionary of business). in industry. The Library holds dictionaries in print and electronic form. Are particularly useful when dealing with terminology specific to a subject area (e. You should be able to find support for their ideas by other reputable people or organisations with knowledge of the topic. Provide synonyms .useful in ensuring comprehensive keyword searches.. Meanings are useful in understanding how a word is commonly used. When consulting a subject expert always make sure you have done comprehensive research on the subject first . Online and offline.) the library owns on a topic to find where a specific item is located within the library Dictionary Source Provide definitions of terms. Experts are also available for consultation at the University.this allows you to ask valuable questions and make the most of the time you have with them.Use an online library catalog to find out what books and other materials (videos. While much valuable information may be available.g. self professed "experts" are readily available and willing to provide information and advise on almost any topic imaginable. etc. it is extremely important to know what credentials a person has to deem themselves an expert and what institutional or organisational affiliations they have. Experts Experts in a field will often use the Internet to discuss and debate issues.

such as the history of the railroads or statistics on the number of children immunized against diseases in the United States Books Popular articles about new movies or social trends Magazines or the Web Current information about a speech yesterday by the head of Ford Motor Company Newspapers or the Web Scholarly articles about the Chinese economy or the human genome Journals To retrieve the titles and call numbers for a variety of different resources on the Underground Railroad Online Library Catalog 7 .How do I select a source? Now that you know a range of information sources available to you. how do you select the best one for your research needs? If you need: You might try: Background information.

and professional organizations will publish quality materials. 1. education. 5. you should use to base a judgment.good or bad? If your information source is a web site. 3. or at the bottom of the page. and is there a contact e-mail address available. and the value of the information. Authority Reliability Currency Completeness Relevancy Authority: Where did the information come from? Did it come from an authority in the field? Authority should be judged on both the author and the publisher of the material Author: Is the author's name available? What is the author's training. or criteria. but there are a number of clues. Publisher: Is the Publisher well known in the field? How much do they publish? Is this a "vanity press" where anyone can have something published. Is there an author or contact person listed. Reliability in this context relates to the accuracy and treatment of the information. Reliability: How reliable is this information source? Can you trust and believe it? Reliability is directly related to Authority. including a story told by your Mother. this might be harder to figure out. or an article in a major journal. you can assume that known publishing houses. There is no one test which you may use to judge your information's value. university presses. found on the Internet. This applies no matter what format it might be in. for a fee? Is it a university press? Is the publisher a professional organization or association? Generally. experience in the field? Are there other works by this author in this field? Books. There are five basic criteria to consider. It could be at the top of the page with the title.Evaluation Criteria of Information Source When you have any item of information you should critically evaluate it to determine it's suitability to your needs. but is a separate criteria. 2. 4. articles? Does the author have a reputation in the field . 8 .

But you should be aware of them.a not-for-profit organization Keep in mind that while . basic information? Who is the intended audience for the material? Is it popular or scholarly? If your information source is a web site. . as far as you can tell? Look at several information source and compare . cont.a commercial entity o . or does it appeal to emotions or biases? Is the information presented facts. or last part of the web address can tell you something about it's origin. or is it a summary of other work? Is the subject covered completely? What level is the information? Is it advanced. does it include links and are they annotated? 9 . they are probably more interested in selling something. . what is the origin of the source? The domain.a government agency o . nonstandard language or miss-spelled words? If your information source is a web site. we all have our own opinions and sites might provide valid . or opinions of the author? Bias is not necessarily a bad thing. Completeness: Is the information the most complete available? Is it comprehensive? Is the information complete. The most common are: o . Does the author cite their sources? Does is have a complete bibliography? Were primary or secondary sources used? Does it appear to be well edited? Do you see poor grammar. and take that into consideration when looking at an information source.: How reliable is this information source? Can you trust and believe it? Objectivity or Bias Do you detect a bias on the part of the author in the writing? Do the facts support the viewpoint of the author? Is it written is from an objective viewpoint.Accuracy: Is the information correct. which can be educational institution o .

. Currency: How old is this information? Is there newer information available? When was the information published? Can you tell when it was published? If it is not dated.). You must know what information you need. your personal knowledge or information. but not relevant to your topic.. what type of information source you need it to come from. you should be cautious of the information source. or one which is fairly stable and requires more background information such as history or literature? If your information source is a web site. from a very authoritative source. very current.Relevancy: After all is said and done. a short composition. the date of publication and/or last updated date are usually found at the bottom of the page. etc. and what you will be using that information for (a final term paper. things you can see or find out about your information source. such as medical research or technology. does the information source answer your questions? Does it "fill your information need?" While the other criteria are based on facts. or have events taken place since the information was published? Is your topic one which is changing quickly. and very complete. 10 . this one is a total judgment call. Is that information up-to-date? Have new discoveries been made. and highly likely that you will find an item which is very reliable. You must make the judgment as to the relevancy of your information source. Is the information source relevant to your information need? It is entirely possible.

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Types of Information Sources and Selecting Sources Review 1. you would use: 13 . what would you use? Books Magazines or the Web Journals Online library catalog 2. what source would you use? Books Magazines or the Web Journals Newspapers or the Web 3. To find both expert and popular opinions. you would use: Books Magazines Journals Online Library Catalog 4. When you need to research a very current issue or topic. If you were looking for scholarly articles on psychology. If you wanted to find out what books and other materials the library owns on a topic. you would use: The Web Books Journals Online Library Catalogs 5. If you need popular articles about new movies or social trends.

Journals Databases Books Encyclopedias 6. To find where a specific item is item is located within the library. you would use: Books Magazines Journals Online Library Catalog 14 . you would use: Magazines Books Journals Encyclopedias 7. When you need to find general articles written for people who are not necessarily specialists in a topic area.

However. but some commercial sites will charge a fee for you to access all or even part of their web site’s content. Some information on the Web is NOT free. become dead links or disappear altogether. You should be skeptical about some of the information on the Web because anyone can publish information without its content passing through any type of editor. However. Information on the Web is not organized.e. Most information on the Web does not go through a review process. Most information on the Web is not permanent. Some materials will never be digitized due to cost. The web is comprised of millions of web pages. it is not always the best place for what you need. While it's difficult to make definitive statements about something as diverse as the Web.. these pages contain a hodgepodge of information. some valuable and reliable. Most information on the Web is not comprehensive. 15 . (i. . There are many well-maintained sites that are updated with current and accurate information. Many Web pages are free to view. a journalist. size or format issues. There is a very large portion of the Web that simply is not organized. . over time) is a very difficult task and finding a variety of sources can be challenging for even the most experienced web searcher. such as yahoo. some not. There are directory web services.What about the Web for information? Although many people go to the Web first for information. that collect links to web sites and organizes them into subject lists. here we go. a large percentage of Web sites cease to be maintained. REMEMBER: the majority of printed information is not available on the web. no single directory or search engine is capable of arranging and indexing the millions of sites and variety of subject matter on the web. Pages might be written by an expert on the topic. . In addition. finding information in an historical context. a disgruntled consumer or a sixth grader.

This allows the library to collect sources considered reliable. libraries employ skilled staff that can assist you in selecting and searching different information sources. 16 . magazines. more and more libraries are providing online help via their library Web pages. Library resources come with personal assistance. Librarians evaluate and then select worthwhile books. people who can help you locate what you need. they provide both online and print resources which the Web is unable to do.What about the library for Although it’s tempting to go when you need information for assignments. and valuable to their particular group of library users. journals. Libraries may hold on to these older items because they have historical value or are unique in some way. It is important to remember that libraries come with people. Because books and other materials are organized by subject. it’s best to library first. libraries also retain older materials including some items that are no longer being published. Each item in a library catalog has a unique call number that indicates where it be found in the library. Library materials are organized so that users can find materials easily and so materials on the same subject are grouped together. databases and even Web sites. historically relevant. information? right to the Web class consult the College and university libraries specialize in collecting and organizing a wealth of materials covering various academic fields. you can often locate other relevant materials by browsing the shelves nearby. In addition. Along with collecting current information. One of the primary functions of a library is to be an organized storehouse of published materials over time. Why else should you start with the library? Library resources go through a review process. Library resources are organized. Unlike the Web. Along with face-to-face assistance. In addition. Library resources are permanent in nature. they can answer a myriad of questions. which is primarily do-ityourself.