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ACS 102 The College Experience

Types of Information Resources

The RCC Library houses a lot of information. How will you know what information source is best for your assignment? Before you begin, it is important to understand the different types of information available to you. Each type will serve a different purpose based on the specifics of your projects, such as your topic or argument. Listed below are the different types or categories of information you will find at the RCC Library.

Reference material: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias

  • Location/Access: Most are online. Some in print, on the shelves inside the silent study room
  • Usefulness: Good starting point for preliminary research. Resources provide a general overview of subjects
  • Note: Reference material is for in-library use only and does not circulate
  • Examples: Britannica Library Reference Center ; Credo Reference (Tutorial)

Books: Textbooks, "Regular" books

  • Location/Access:  reserve books are located behind the circulation desk. Circulating books are located on the shelves, organized by call number.
  • Usefulness: Books generally provide a more comprehensive analysis of a subject. Explore these once you know a little more about the topic from reference material
  • Note: Use the library catalog to search for books

Magazines & Newspapers: Newsweek, Boston Globe

  • Location/Access: Also known as popular periodicals, these resources are mostly available online
  • Usefulness: Magazine articles are usually written for entertainment, not scholarly purposes. They offer general information, interviews with celebrities, and information about current events. Newspaper articles offer factual accounts of events and are written by journalists
  • Note: Magazine and newspaper articles are good sources about current events or popular culture

Journals: Journal of African American History, Journal of Educational Psychology

  • Location/Access: Use the library's databases to find electronic journals and journal articles
  • Usefulness: Journals are usually dedicated to a particular academic area or discipline, and contain scholarly articles. These articles contain more specific information on a topic than a book and recently-published articles are often more up-to-date than books. Look for journal articles after you have narrowed down your research topic and you know something about it from reading reference materials or books.
  • Note: Library databases are the easiest way to find relevant full-text articles on a topic. The RCC Library subscribes to over 60 databases, which include information from all academic disciplines

Internet Resources: Google, Wikipedia

  • Location/Access: Use search engines such as Google to conduct a general search on a topic. Read websites for more in-depth information
  • Usefulness: While not all information can be found online, the Internet can be a valuable resource of supplemental information, particularly websites created by educational organizations (.edu), governmental organizations (.gov), and non-profit organizational sites (.org).
  • Note: Remember, anyone can create and publish a website and not everything you will find online is accurate or authoritative - make sure to evaluate your sources!