LIB 640 Information Sources and Services Summer 2012 What areInformation Sources?
2 What are information sources? Information sources• Each item of information is created in context to its originators purpose, whether it was to inform, entertain, or educate and its quality and value depends on the information need • Glossary
3 What about reference sources? reference source• Any publication from which authoritative information can be obtained, including but not limited to reference books, catalog records, printed indexes and abstracting services, and bibliographic databases. Individuals and services outside the library that can be relied upon to provide authoritative information are considered resources for referral.
4 And reference books? reference book• A book designed to be consulted when authoritative information is needed, rather than read cover to cover. Reference books often consist of a series of signed or unsigned "entries" listed alphabetically under headwords or headings, or in some other arrangement (classified, numeric, etc.). The category includes almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, biographical sources, catalogs, concordances, dictionaries, directories, discographies and filmographies, encyclopedias, glossaries, handbooks, indexes, manuals, research guides, union lists, yearbooks, etc., whether published commercially or as government documents. Long reference works may be issued in multivolume sets, with any indexes in the last volume. Reference works that require continuous updating may be published serially, sometimes as loose-leaf services.
Another 5 way to look at it What are reference books?• They are those we „refer‟ to. Referring is a very similar to the strategy of scanning. We use a reference book just to look up the odd fact or confirm a supposition. Look at the design of reference books - e.g. the Reference Book of Water and Weather and the Encyclopaedia of British Wild Animals. They are laid out so that the reader can very quickly access information. You do not read an encyclopaedia from cover to cover - you think what you want to know and then search for one very small area of text. • Teaching Non-fiction?: Reading Reference Books By Bobbie Neate
6 Know your reference books When you pick up a reference book: • Note the author and publisher, and perhaps the authors credentials. • Check the copyright date. Given the type of information the tool covers, is it likely to be current enough? • What is the purpose and scope of the book (check for preface)? • Review the table of contents. What is the scope of the material? Is it biased toward one viewpoint? • Review the index (if there is none, is that a significant drawback?). What approaches does the index use?June 23, 2012
7 More know your books • Page through to see what special features may be there. Are there photos? Charts and graphs? Appendices? • What is the level of the book? Who is the intended audience? • Make up a short “test” for the book. Think up some questions that you feel, based on the review youve done, that the book should be able to answer. Does it? • Has anyone else on the staff had experience with this book? How do they feel about it?June 23, 2012
8Arrangement of Reference Books • Southern Ontario Library Service -- Sourcebooks
9 Alphabetical order There are two methods of alphabetizing. The letter-by-letter system ignores punctuation and spacesbetween words. The word-by-word system organizesby the first word, then the second word, and so on.Here is an example: • Letter-by-letter Word-by-word Bookcase Book club Book club Book fair Bookend Bookcase Book fair Bookend • Glossary Of Library and Research Terms Introduction to Library Research
10 Evaluating print sources• Is the information recent? Select up-to-date, current information unless you are conducting historical research. This is particularly true in the sciences.• Did an expert in the field prepare the information? Look for the authors credentials and affiliations. For citations to biographical material about an author, consult a biographical source, such as Biography and Genealogy Master Index, Contemporary Authors or Biography Index. • Introduction to Writing Research Papers, IV. Evaluating Print and Electronic Sources
11 More evaluation guidelines• Is the information from a reliable source? Choose information from a scholarly journal (Finding Scholarly Journals) or from a book published by a reputable publisher. Choose books that have received favorable reviews. Consult one of these indexes for citations to reviews: Book Review Index, Book Review Digest, Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities, Children’s Book Review Index, and Balay’s Guide to Reference Books.• Does the writer seem to be represent material fairly and accurately? All argument shows bias because it attempts to persuade or influence its audience. However, guard against using information that seems unreasonably or unfairly biased.• Who is the intended audience? Is the information for a specialized or general audience? • Adapted from Evaluating Print and Electronic Sources
12 Critical Evaluation of Resources How do you make sense of what is out thereand evaluate its authority and appropriatenessfor your research? • Suitability • Authority • Other indicators • http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html
13 Suitability Scope• What is the breadth of the article, book, website or other material? Audience• Who is the intended audience for this source? Timeliness• When was the source published? Scholarly vs. Popular • http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html
14 Authority Who is the author? What are his or her credentials?• Sometimes information about the author is listed somewhere in the article. Other times, you may need to consult another resource to get background information on the author. Sometimes it helps to search the author‟s name in a general web search engine like Google. • http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html
15 Other indicators Documentation• A bibliography, along with footnotes, indicate that the author has consulted other sources and serves to authenticate the information that he or she is presenting. Objectivity• What point of view does the author represent? Primary vs. secondary research• In determining the appropriateness of a resource, it may be helpful to determine whether it is primary research or secondary research. • http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Evaluation.html
16 Distinguish Between Primary and Secondary Sources Primary Sources• Primary sources are original materials. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through interpretation.• [For a list of examples, see http://www.lib.umd.edu/guides/primary-sources.html#primary ]
17 Distinguish Between Primary and Secondary Sources Secondary Sources• Secondary sources are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence. • Biographies • Commentaries • Dissertations • Indexes, Abstracts, Bibliographies (used to locate primary & secondary sources) • Journal Articles • Monographs
18 What about Tertiary Sources? Tertiary Sources• Tertiary sources consist of information which is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources. You‟ll find some differences in • Almanacs interpretation about these • Encyclopedias examples. Some consider • Fact books encyclopedias secondary sources. See this guide from the University of Illinois, for example.