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Selecting Resources

Information Timeline

Depending on your topic, different types of resources (the web, newspapers, magazines, journals, books, etc.) may be more appropriate than others. You need to be aware of what kind of information is in each type of resource and who the intended audience is. Use the timeline below to learn more:

                      Information Timeline
Present Day Week Months Years
Web Newspapers Popular
Magazines
Scholarly
Journals
Reference
Sources
Books

                         The Web

Time Frame: Immediately - several years after the event
Audience: General public - scholars, researchers, and students
Authorship: General public - scholars, researchers, and students
Content: General overview through detailed analysis
Length: One screen with few links; Many screens with several links


Why consult a World Wide Web page?
• Immediate coverage of an event can provide up-to-the-minute analysis
• Access to information that is not available in print format because of currency
• Sometimes more detailed coverage if event/topic is current
• Possible additional resources from linked web pages
• Statistics
• Graphs

Finding Web Pages


Web pages mean the "free web," web sites anyone can access, not the web-based research databases that are purchased by school districts or university and public libraries. Fee based Internet resources typically require a user password for access. Lester B. Peasrson Media Centre pays for several databases. to access them go to: http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b865/media/media.htm (first column)

Also, check your public library. To access the paid online services of your public library you will need your library card—then you should be able to access their databases from your home or at school as long as you can sign in with your patron ID number.

Check out the Deep WEB: One Hundred useful tips and tools for searching the deep web.

Searching is not evaluating. Given the nature of web information, it's vital to evaluate the web pages you dig up. See Evaluating Web Sites for things to consider when evaluating a web page. Continue reading this section to learn how to get the best results from search engines that you probably use already use

Strategies for web searching

You must identify the main concepts (key words and key ideas) in your topic and determine any synonyms, alternate spellings, or variant word forms for the concepts.

This site on search engines and boolean searching will help you learn to search effectively. http://www.learnwebskills.com/search/engines.html

Choose the best search for your information needs.

Research Tip: Be sure you know how to appropriately evaluate web resources. Although information errors and misinformation existed long before the web came into existence, it is much easier to stumble upon false information in an online environment.


                        Newspapers

Time Frame: 1 week to 1 month after the event
Audience: General Public
Authorship: Journalists
Content: General overview: Summary of the event:basic factual informatin covering who, what, where, when, and how.
Length: Brief

Why consult a newspaper?

• Statistical information
• Local news coverage
• Immediate news coverage
• Photographs
• Editorials

Newspapers, like journals and magazines, are a type of periodical. Periodical databases allow you to find articles from newspapers. A search of a periodical database results in citations to full-text newspaper articles. Check out the periodical databases listed on our media centre homepage.

Popular Magazines

Time Frame: 1 week -1 month after the event
Audience: General Public
Authorship: Journalists
Content: General Overview; summary of the event
covering who, what, where, when, how
and starting to analyze why
Length: 1-5 pages

Examples: National Geographic, Macleans, Newsweek

Why consult a popular magazine?
• Statistical information
• General overview of a current event; more detailed analysis than a newspaper
• Public opinion
• Photographs

Periodicals (also called serials) are publications printed in intervals and that continue to be printed for an indefinite period of time. Journals, magazines, and newspapers are types of periodicals.

Scholarly Journals

Time Frame: Several months - years after the event
Audience: Scholars, researchers and students
Authorship: Scholars and researchers
Content: Research; theories; study, experimental I
results, and analysis
Length: Many pages (usually over 5 pages)

Examples: Journal of Child Development, Journal of the American Medical Association.

Why consult a scholarly journal?
• More in depth examination of a subject
• Articles written by professional in the discipline
• Peer- reviewed prior to publication
• Additional resources from footnotes and bibliography
• Statistics
• Graphs

                
The Difference Between Journals and Magazines
Journals publish articles written by scholars and researchers. Journals are often published by professional associations. Articles in journals usually include references to other related articles. Magazines publish articles written for a general audience. Articles in magazines rarely include bibliographies.

Research Tip: Try Google Scholar . From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research. Google Scholar orders your search results by relevance, so the most useful references should appear at the top of the page. This relevance ranking takes into account the full text of each article as well as the article's author, the publication in which the article appeared and how often it has been cited in scholarly literature. Google Scholar also automatically analyzes and extracts citations and presents them as separate results, even if the documents to which they refer are not online. This means your search results may include citations of older works and seminal articles that appear only in books or other offline publications.

Our Online Databases (Gale Infotrac and the databases in the Alberta Online Reference Centre ) are also valuable resources for finding academic resources. Get a bookmark with passwords from the Media Centre.

REFERENCE RESOURCES

Time Frame: Several months - years after the event
Audience: General Public- specialists
Authorship: Scholars and specialists
Content: General Overview
Length: Varies

Examples: The Encyclopedia of life sciences, Worldmark encyclopedia of the nations, Shakespeare's world and work : an encyclopedia for students, Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment.

Why consult a reference resource?
• Detailed background information, overview
• Compilation of articles on particular/specialized subject
• Wide coverage contained within one or more volumes
• Multiple viewpoints often portrayed - especially in a compilation of articles
• Authored by experts in particular disciplines
• Statistics
• Additional resources - bibliographies

Books

Time Frame: At least 1 year - several years after the event
Audience: General public - scholars, researchers, and students
Authorship: Scholars and researchers
Content: Detailed analysis; sometimes a compilation of articles from several scholars
Length: Numerous pages - often over 100 pages


Why consult a book?
• Detailed analysis of a subject
• Multiple viewpoints often portrayed - especially in a compilation of articles
• Additional resources found in footnotes and bibliography

To access the Web Catalogue (Webcat) of the Lester B. Pearson Media Centre go to:https://64.254.155.7/uhtbin/login.pl

Remember, you have access to books from other libraries using your ALBERTA LIBRARY CARD.


Finding Web Pages


Web pages mean the "free web," web sites anyone can access, not the web-based research databases that are purchased by school districts or university and public libraries. Fee based Internet resources typically require a user password for access. Lester B. Pearson Media Centre pays for several databases. to access them go to: http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b865/media/media.htm (first column)

Also, check your public library. To access the paid online services of your public library you will need your library card—then you should be able to access their databases from your home or at school as long as you can sign in with your patron ID number.

Directories

Best used for: browsing subjects; finding quality web sites.

CBE Library

Internet Public Library

Librarian's Index to the Internet

Open Directory


• When using a directores keyword search option, note the subject categories your search retrieves.

Directories organize web sites by categories (i.e. subjects). People who work on directories decide in which category a web site should be listed. Since directories are built and maintained by people, directories include far fewer web sites than search engines. However, directories are the best place to begin browsing a subject, and most directories focus on including quality web sites.

Search Engines


AltaVista    Excite    Google    Locos   Clusty


Best used for: finding specific sites or specific information.


Search Tips:
• Use more than one search engine (see how little they overlap!)
• Explore each search engine's various search options (such as Google's image search or advanced search)
• Don't assume the first hit is the best one
• If you don't find what you are looking for in the first 25 hits, modify your keywords and search again.
Search engines use software (called spiders, webcrawlers, or bots) to automatically collect the words on millions of web pages. These words are fed into a searchable database. So when you search a search engine, you are not searching the Web -- you are searching a database of words from web pages, collected by that search engine's spider in the recent (or not-so-recent) past. Relevancy software determines in what order hits are listed. Many search engines also provide a search directory.
Search engines allow you to search for keywords, not for context. For example, a search for "sole" will turn up pages about fish, shoes, and "sole" as a synonym of the adjective single. It's up to you to provide the search with context. Think of related keywords that would narrow the search results. A search for "recipe for sole" will not turn up web sites about Nikes and Timberlands.

Research Tip: Here's an important note about advanced searching. Most search engines feature advanced search features. These usually allow you to:
• Search by file type (this enables you to find images, sound, video, etc.)
• Use Boolean logic with multiple search boxes.
• Limit by date, language, domain (.gov, .com, .org and others)
• Search within specific websites or see who links to specific pages.
The differences between search engines become more important when we view their advanced search capacity. Google is excellent for images (it allows you to limit by black and white or color as well as file size) while Altavista is still better for music. AlltheWebdoes both.

Remember to Evaluate Web Sites. Go to the web page to read about this.

Remember to cite your references. Go to Citing Resources page