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Resources for Communication Studies

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Communication studies is an interdisciplinary exploration of the creation, transmission, reception, and understanding of messages. Research in this field can take students into every part of the library and beyond. This guide is a starting place; don't hesitate to consult with a librarian for more ideas.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
For more information and additional suggestions, visit the Databases Guide for Communication Studies.
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
    Communication & Mass Media Complete (CMMC) originated with the merging of two databases in the fields of communication and mass media studies - CommSearch and Mass Media Articles Index. CMMC indexes around 600 journals and contains full text for over 240 titles.
  • PsycINFO
    Citations and abstracts to articles from more than 1300 international journals in psychology and related fields, going back to 1840. This database covers all areas of psychology, including experimental, developmental, communications, social processes and issues, personality, physical and psychological disorders, professional issues, applied psychology, educational psychology, and behavioral literature in such related fields as law, business and medicine. Also includes citations for books and book chapters.
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
  • The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory
    Oxford: Blackwell Publishers 2004
    An annual roundup of recent research on feminist theory, postcolonial studies, popular culture, virtual culture, film theory, cultural policy, and visual culture, presented as evaluative review essays written by leading scholars. Published in conjunction with the English Association. The most current volume is kept in the reference collection; earlier volumes are shelved in the stacks. Recent volumes are also available online.
    • Location(s): Ref PN80 .Y43
    1991-present; most recent four years also online
Reference Works
  • Theory and Concepts
    • Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory
      Oxford: Blackwell 1996
      An interdisciplinary guide to theories and concepts at work in the various fields of linguistics, literary criticism, philosophy, political science, and history that address culture in a contemporary mode. Articles cover important theorists such as Jurgen Habermas and Edward Said, theoretical fields such as postcolonial studies and structuralism, and key concepts such as class, orality, and gender.
      • Location(s): Ref HM 101 .D527 1996
    • Encyclopedia of Rhetoric
      Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001
      Covers topics that are related to rhetoric including entries on rhetorical terms, different forms of rhetoric, history of rhetoric and various forms of rhetoric.
      • Location(s): Ref PN 172.E52 2001
    • International Encyclopedia of Communication
      Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing 2008
      12 vols. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008. A multidisciplinary compilation of essays on communication, ranging from human-computer interaction to art as a means of communication to communications theory. Each essay is followed by a bibliography of selected sources for further research.
      • Location(s): Ref P87.5 .I58 2008
  • Special Topics
    • Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising
      New York: Fitzroy Dearborn 2003
      Provides a thoroughly-illustrated guide to the history and nature of advertising, with histories of agencies, brands and markets, promenent people, and the theory, methodology, and practice of advertising. Includes surveys of advertising in regions around the world. 3 volumes.
      • Location(s): Ref HF 5803 .A38 2003)
    • Encyclopedia of Propaganda
      New York: M.E. Sharpe 1998 edition
      Covers types of propaganda and terms associated with it, as well as people, events, and topics from the abortion debate to patriotism. 3 volumes.
      • Location(s): Ref HM 263 .E53 1998
    • Censorship: A World Encyclopedia
      Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 2001
      "Jones's encyclopedia provides useful description and analysis of censorship around the world and throughout history. Jones defines censorship broadly, devoting coverage to both covert pressures and overt, official restriction of expression. Entries treat such topics as censorship in particular countries, individual censors and targets of censorship, concepts and topics that have been censored, and censorship in particular media." (From the 6-1-02 Choice review). 4 volumes.
      • Location(s): Ref Z 675 .C45 2001
    • Encyclopedia of Television
      Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 2004
      Provides scholarly coverage of a popular medium, with articles on programs (primarily in the US and UK), people, genres, and overviews of the development of television in different countries. 4 volumes.
      • Location(s): Ref PN1992.18 .E53 2004
  • Speeches and Speechmakers
    • African-American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
      Westport, CT: Greenwood Press 1996
      A collections of essays that profile the life and work of African American speakers in substantial essays written by specialists. Each entry is followed by a list of information sources and a chronology of speeches.
      • Location(s): Ref E185.96 .A447 1996
    • American Orators Before 1900: Critical Studies and Sources
      New York: Greenwood Press 1987
      Provides biographies, criticism, and chronologies of major speeches, as well as references for further research for American orators.
      • Location(s): Ref PN 4055 .U5 A4 1987
    • American Orators of the Twentieth Century: Critical Studies and Sources
      New York: Greenwood Press 1987
      Covers major orators of the twentieth century, providing biographical/critical assessment and bibliographies for further research.
      • Location(s): Ref PN 4193 .P6 A44 1987
    • American Voices: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Orators
      Westport, CT: Greenwood Press 2005
      This encyclopedia covers 58 of the most recognized speakers from the 1960s to the present day, including American presidents. The entries provide the speakers' biographical information, highlight famous speeches, and examine the rhetorical style of the orator.
      • Location(s): PS 408 .A47
    • Representative American Speeches
      New York: H.W. Wilson 1937-2008
      Includes major speeches of historical importance. Speeches are divided by topics ranging from political community to urban issues
      • Location(s): Ref PS 668 R4
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of communication studies.
  • HE Transportation and Communications
    • 8698-8700.9 Telecommunications, Broadcasting
  • HF Commerce
    • 5801-6182 Advertising
  • HM Sociology
    • 1106-1171 Interpersonal Relations
  • P 87-96 Mass Media
  • PN Literary Expression
    • 1990-1999 Television, Radio, Film
    • 4001-4355 Oratory
    • 4699-5650 Journalism
  • Z 657-659 Freedom of the Press; Censorship


Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.
  • Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
  • Philosophy & Rhetoric
  • Rhetoric & Public Affairs
  • Womens Studies in Communication
  • General
    • Communication Studies Resources
      A well-organized directory of Web resources useful for research, covering advertising, culture studies, digital media, film studies, interpersonal and small group communication, journalism and mass media, media studies, and rhetoric, as well as online tools for communication studies researchers. From Karla Tonella at the University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies.
    • MCS: The Media and Communications Studies Site
      From the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. A well-organized, searchable collection of links to Web content on a wide variety of topics including gender and ethnicity, news media, advertising, film studies, visual images, textual analysis, media influence, and more.
  • Mass Media and Freedom of Speech
    • First Amendment Handbook
      From the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press and edited by Gregg P. Leslie, this online handbook provides detailed analysis of constitutional law issues as they relate to the practice of journalism. Sections cover access to courts, places and people, the Freedom of Information Act, confidentiality, surreptitious recording, libel, invasion of privacy, prior restraint, and copyright.
    • Freedom Forum
      The Web site of a non-partisan foundation devoted to free speech and freedom of the press. Includes online exhibits from the Newseum, a museum of news media, graphic images of front pages from around the world updated daily, and the latest news and analysis of first amendment issues.
    • Project for Excellence in Journalism - Understanding News in the Information Age
      The Project for Excellence in Journalism is a research organization that specializes in using empirical methods to evaluate and study the performance of the press. It is non partisan, non ideological and non political. News about the news industry, information for working journalists, background on issues of concern to journalists, and a detailed survey of the state of the news media, including print, broadcast, cable news, magazines, local TV, alternative media, and online news sources. PEJ's broadened research agenda will include a new series of continuing content studies of the news agenda, plus tracking of key industry trends, and timely commentary and analysis of that trend data. At the same time, PEJ will also continue its existing research, including publishing the State of the News Media, an annual report on American journalism, conducting "opportunistic" content studies on press performance of key events, offering occasional analysis of press behavior and publishing the Daily Briefing, a digest of media news.
  • Special Topics
    • Ten O'Clock News
      An online archive of over 500 news broadcasts from 1974-1991 focusing on the African-American community in one US city, Boston. Impressive material for examining broadcast images of the school busing controversy, the challenge to apartheid, a local mayoral campaign and more - race relations as reflected in the evening news.
  • Speeches
    • Gifts of Speech
      A searchable archive of selected women's speeches worldwide from 1848 on, sponsored by Sweet Briar College
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