Examine these two pages and compare:
Important considerations for evaluating information sources include:
- Who wrote the document?
- Is there information about the author's qualifications for writing about this topic? (Education, experience, position?)
- What organization provides the information?
- What appears to be the purpose for publishing this information?
- Does what you know about the organization suggest a bias?
- Accuracy & Currency
- When was this document created or last updated?
- Are there errors in spelling and/or grammar?
- Can you spot any errors of fact?
- Does the document list the sources of its information?
To check out books you need a student I.D. card or a CCRLS public library card. (You may obtain a free student I.D. card at the MAPS desk in the Bookstore.) You can return our books to any public library in Marion, Polk, or Yamhill counties. If the book you want is at another library, it can be sent here for you.
- Reference books -- these do not check out.
- Circulating books -- these check out for three weeks.
- Magazines and Pamphlets -- these check out for one week.
General and Subject Encyclopedias These provide both concise overviews as well as in-depth analysis on a variety of topics. Good sources for identifying key events and key people. Also helpful in narrowing a research topic.
Books Good for an overview of your topic or for in-depth information. Use the library's online catalog to find books on your subject.
Magazines and Journals Good for current information and for recent developments in controversial topics. Use periodical indexes to find articles. See Periodical Indexes below.
Suggestions: Check also CQ Researcher (Reference 070.412 C83) and Issues and Controversies on File (Reference 070.41 IS7) to help you decide on a topic and get background information. You can access CQ Researcher and Issues & Controversies online from the Periodical Indexes page. If using databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.
Newspapers Best for local and state information; good for current statistics. Use LexisNexis (Reference Index computers).
Pamphlets Good for local and state information. Look under Elections in the Oregon file to find recent voter's pamphlets.
Periodical (magazine, newspaper, and journal) indexes are found on the Reference Index computers, on the index table, and on the reference bookshelves.
To access periodical databases, go to Library's Online Databases - http://library.chemeketa.edu/information/database.htm. If using databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.
Academic OneFile is a good general database to start with. For instructions on using it or other Gale databases, see How to Use Gale Periodical Indexes.
A Dictionary can be a book on any subject with its entries in A-Z order. A common type of dictionary lists words and gives their definitions. This is the ordinary meaning of "dictionary." An example of a general dictionary would be The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
Many professions or areas of study have their own, specialized dictionaries of terms in that subject, for example The Dictionary of Criminal Justice Terms.
An Encyclopedia has articles on various subjects and is usually, though not always, in A-Z order. General encyclopedias like Encyclopaedia Britannica have articles on many subjects.
Subject encyclopedias, like the Encyclopedia of Aging, have articles on topics all relating to one general subject.
Notice that, technically, any book with its entries in alphabetical order can be called a "dictionary." For this reason, some encyclopedias have the word "dictionary" in the title. For example, Grove's Dictionary of Art is a 30-volume encyclopedia of art. Likewise, an encyclopedia can be a single volume work.
For most ordinary purposes, if a book gives only definitions of words, it is a dictionary. If it has longer descriptive articles on subjects, it is an encyclopedia.
How To Find Specialized Dictionaries & Encyclopedias In the Library Catalog
- Use the default Keyword search in the catalog.
- Type a word that describes your subject with "AND dictionar*" or "AND encyclopedia*."
The asterisk (*) is a truncation character that tells the computer to find any word that begins with "dictionar" or "encycloped," that is dictionary, dictionaries, encyclopedia, encyclopedias.
If the library does not have a subject dictionary or encyclopedia on the specialized subject, try a slightly broader search. For example, if your topic is emeralds, you will find that Chemeketa has encyclopedias of gemstones, but no dictionaries of gemstones. You might try a keyword search for "mineral* AND dictionar*."
Over 150 reference books published by Oxford University Press are available in Oxford Reference Online. You can choose from among general reference sources or specialized sources by subject. If you are accessing ORO from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and six-digit password.
Chemeketa also has a number of online subject encyclopedias in the Gale Virtual Reference Library. You can browse by subject matter and choose an encyclopedia, or search in all the available encyclopedias.
An online version of Magill's Medical Guide (encyclopedia is available at Salem Health.
Most catalogs, including Chemeketa's, use Library of Congress subject headings to describe the topics of books under "subject" searches. The Library of Congress has a Web site where you can search for subject headings. When you go to the site, click "Search Authorities." When you put in a search term, the results will list terms in a table. Those with a red button marked, "Authorized and references" are terms that the Library of Congress uses in subject catalogs. Clicking the button may show more specific ("narrower") terms. You could then look under any of these terms in the library catalog.
Chemeketa, like many libraries, has a copy of Library of Congress Subject Headings on a stand in the Reference section.
For guidance on finding biographical information in the library, please refer to Biographies: Finding Information About a Person.
Government sites and technical reports servers are two kinds of sources that are good for finding information on many technical subjects. You will find some suggestions at Government Document & Technical Reports. Some of the Supplementary Database pages also include technical reports.
To find other Internet sources for your topic, try the Virtual Library or Search Tools at the library's Internet Search Center.
To comment or request help, please e-mail Reference or call 503.399.5231.
Address of this page: http://library.chemeketa.edu/instruction/handouts/COM051.php
Updated: 23 Nov. 2011