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Library Basics - Online Edition

Need to find resources for your paper or project? Here's a quick guide that will introduce you to some of the basic resources that you can use for your paper or project. This Online Edition focuses on just the resources that the library provides online.

Web Searching

For most students, the urge to use Google or a similar search service is irresistible. There are pluses and minuses when using Google. Here are a few pluses:

  • Convenience: Just enter your term and something comes up
  • Lots of Information: Any term is bound to come up with something
  • Current: Generally, you'll see fairly recent information
  • Unique: Some information is difficult to find using other means, and the web may have something you can't find elsewhere

That said, the web comes with some significant minuses too. These include:

  • Credibility: Because anyone can post anything, unless you know or investigate where the information came from you may reuse information that is problematic
  • Hard to Find:  Just because it is easy to get to the web doesn't mean that it's easy to get what you want. You may find yourself doing searches and finding the same 10 things all the time--10 things that you don't want
  • Inappropriate: In general, professors want you to use academic sources because they introduce you to the scholarly discourse that takes place in colleges and universities. Other resources may work, but you first need to master college appropriate material before you engage with everything that is out there. 

Important Point:  Here's the big thing to remember when using Internet resources in your paper or project:  Talk to your professor before using an Internet resource!  It may be good or it may not; your professor can guide you in what is and is not appropriate for your assignment.