Archive for February, 2010

In our 2nd installment highlighting one of our databases with which students and faculty might not be familiar, we present Issues and Controversies.

Need to write a “position” paper, arguing for or against a particular issue? Issues and Controversies helps researchers understand the crucial issues we face today, exploring more than 800 hot topics in business, politics, government, education, and popular culture. Updated weekly, with links to a 13-year backfile, Issues and Controversies offers in-depth articles made to inspire thought-provoking debates.

With an appealing interface and improved search and navigation features – including tabbed search results – this database is ideal for research papers and debate preparation.


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  The WSC Library subscribes to over 100+ databases providing indexing and content in all disciplines – from art to business, to psychology, to criminal justice. Most WSC students are familiar with EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete, one of the largest inter-disciplinary databases. But we’re going to start a new feature on this blog, highlighting from time to time one of our other databases with which students and faculty might not be as familiar.

First up: Pop Culture Universe. This database is not only a fun way to learn about the history of some of our favorite people, places, and things, it’s also a great way to learn about America’s past and the influence that popular culture has had on our world today. Users can search by their specific topic, by decade of the 20th century, or by general areas such as art, business and advertising, entertainment, music, food, fashion, politics and more.

This database contains over 400 e-Books, 19,000 encyclopedia entries and 18,000 images. There is also a section for educators called the Skills Center; this section contains sample lesson plans, a wide variety of rubrics, suggestions for student activities, and other resources to help students improve their research and writing skills.

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Sometimes a video instructional tutorial helps students easily learn about topics such as scholarly vs. popular journals, why you need to cite sources and how to develop search terms.  But why try to create one on your own when there are many perfectly good ones already? 

The  Cooperative Library Instruction Project is one of the best known sources for generic (not specific to any library) video tutorials. Also,  ACRL’s PRIMO repository of instructional materials provides a great selection of academic library instructional videos.

A good place to start incorporating information literacy into courses can be found at the TILT Website – the University of Texas Information Literacy Tutorial, designed to introduce first year students to research sources and skills. Or, take a look at this tutorial on popular vs. scholarly journals from the Peabody Library Channel on YouTube.

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Biographies can provide valuable material for research papers in a variety of fields. Naturally, they are an indispensable resource for researching the lives, thoughts, and works of historical figures. But they are also useful for papers about historical events and ideas, since they offer the perspectives of the individuals who shaped those events and ideas. Lastly, biographies of authors can provide interesting insight into the themes and characters of their literary works.

If you’ve ever used a search engine to find biographical material on the Web, then you know that most of the results only provide a short [thumbnail] length paragraph, are repetitive, frequently contain outdated information, and don’t often delve into meaningful analysis.

So why not try using this WSC Library Website page for finding the best of the Biography Databases? Link to our subscription databases – even some familiar ones that you may not have realized have biographical sections. Newly updated, this page also lists the best of the free Websites that you can trust for accurate, reliable and substantive information.

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New Databases

The WSC Library subscribes to over 100+ databases offering authoritative, scholarly content on many different subjects. Some new acquisitions you might not have heard of:

  • Credo Reference – Easily search 463 subject encyclopedias and other reference eBooks from 65 of the world’s best publishers of reference works – with one simple search.  Also includes an image search and an interactive concept map tool.
  • Current Biography – A trusted source for in-depth biographical information since 1940. This is where you’ll find reliable, researched, full text information for: celebrities, politicians, business people, writers, actors, sports figures, artists, scientists and many others across the globe.
  • Art Full Text – Covers all aspects of art from archaeology to folk art, painting, sculpture, fashion design to industrial design, motion pictures, non-Western art, television, textiles, video and more. Over 30 years of indexing from 1984; select full text from 1997+.
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete – provides the most robust reference resource encompassing: communications, mass media, popular culture, journalism, television, radio, speech, broadcasting, communication theory and advertising. Over half of the journals indexed are full text.
  • Literature Reference Center – Full-text information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and all time periods. Includes plot summaries, synopses and work overviews, author biographies, literary journals, and full-text poems, short stories, and classic texts.
  • Pop Culture Universe – Learn about the influence that popular culture has had on our world today. Search by specific topic; by decade; or by broad areas such as art, business and advertising, entertainment, music, food, fashion, politics and more. Contains over 400 eBooks, 19,000 encyclopedia entries and 18,000 images

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When professors assign a library project to undergraduates, what do they think students are doing to come up with the sources in their project? This article from Inside Higher ED presents 8 of the most troubling confessions heard from students about their research, along with author Mary W. George’s speculation on their cause and cure. Here are the 8 questions – do they sound familiar?

  1. I have no idea [about the dates or details of my topic].
  2. I’m wondering why I can’t find this periodical article in the library’s catalog.
  3. This magazine isn’t digitized so I guess we don’t have it and I can’t get it.
  4. I need to change my topic because there’s not enough “stuff” about it.
  5. I’m not clear what makes an article scholarly or a book a monograph.
  6. I can’t find books about [an event that occurred last month].
  7. I’m confused about the difference between a primary and a secondary source.
  8. I’m afraid I’ll be cheating if I take references from someone else’s bibliography.

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