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Information Resources and Services for:
FTS 100: Cultural Identity

Fall 2010
Here are a few suggestions for your research, the kind of ideas you might get if you stopped by the reference desk. For even more ideas - ones that are chosen specifically for your topic - be sure to stop by the desk. Librarians are there weekdays, Monday-Thursday evenings until 10 pm and on Sundays from 2:00 pm until 10 pm. You may also contact me, Barbara Fister - fister at gustavus dot edu or x7553.

Table of Contents:

Finding Books
  • MnPALS Plus

    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. The easiest way to start searching is to do an "anywhere," title, or author search from the library's main page. To search other libraries, you can choose "All MnPALS Libraries" under "Library to Search." These can generally be ordered through interlibrary loan.
  • WorldCat

    If you want to search multiple libraries at once for books to borrow through interlibrary loan, this is a good place to do it.
  • Browsing for Books

    It's always a good idea to start at the catalog and then take time to scan the shelves around the books that look promising. You'll find related books that are sometimes more interesting than the one you started with.

Finding Articles
  • Academic Search Premier,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=aph

    This is a good place to look for articles on any topic - because it covers all subjects and different kinds of publications: magazines, scholarly journals, newspapers. Use the yellow "find it" button if you don't see a link to the entire article.
  • ProQuest Newsstand

    Use this database to get newspaper articles from around the world.
Reference Books

The books in this part of the library can't be checked out, but they offer great shortcuts to information that you can trust. The encyclopedias below are examples.

  • Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience
    A rich compendium of information about the African diaspora edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates.
    • Location(s): Ref DT14 .A37435 2005
  • Dictionary of American History
    An encyclopedia of political, cultural, social, economic, and military history in the United States. The ninth volume contains historical maps and primary documents.
    • Location(s): Ref E 174 .D52 2003 (9 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States
    Covers Latinos in the United states in over 650 essays that tackle topics from baseball to Zorro, significant places, groups of people, event, and more. The fourth volume includes significant primary source documents.
    • Location(s): Ref E 184 .S75 E587 2005
  • Encylopedia of Race and Racism
    A two-volume set that explores the social, anthropological, economic and scientific issues surrounding the concept of race in the modern era. These volumes are useful for tracking down concepts, theories and theorists as well as biographical information about racists with a high public profile.
    [Resource no longer available]
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America
    Offers over 150 substantial essays on ethnic groups in the U. S., covering origins, circumstances of arrival, family, community, culture, economy, politics, and significant contributions. Each essay ends with a bibliography and contacts for further research.
    • Location(s): Ref E 184 .A1 G14 2000
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes
    Offers surveys of tribes, including history, migration, subsistence, modern history, and current issues. Use the index to locate nations that may have more than one name in use (e.g. Anishinabe / Ojibwe / Chippewa).
    • Location(s): Ref E77 .G15 1998
Using the Web for Research

Use the Web with care Libraries often pay for services through the web; these aren't indexed in search engines Some "free" sites for magazines and newspapers charge for using their archives; library databases offer them at no charge. Some questions are easier to answer through the web than others. If it has to do with current events, the law, opinions, computers, popular culture, commercial products, organizations, or government affairs, the web offers a lot; if you're looking for research or scholarship, you aren't as likely to find what you want (though in some fields that is changing). Not everyone wants to give their research away for free.

Planning a search

* Think about what you need and which key words might describe it
* Think about what organizations or government entities might provide information on your topic
* Use what you find to refine your search (such as the name of an organization, a government agency, a site that everyone is linking to)
* Use selective directories if you have a broad topic (Search engines work best for narrow topics or specific facts.)
* Use an appropriate database if you aren't finding quality material

Use clues in the URLs to assess potential sources

* edu = higher education (usually in the US)
* gov = federal government
* k12 = primary or secondary school
* com = company (often personal sites, too)
* org = organization
* net = network
* country abbreviations: ca (Canada); au (Australia); uk (United Kingdom) jp (Japan); se (Sweden) . . .

Be prepared to

* shorten a URL to get to a root page by deleting everything after the first /
* follow links to find out about the page's author or sponsoring agency

Useful tricks * add to a search to limit your search to government websites. Alternately you could add or other domain ending. * use the handy search tools on the left hand side of Google results to limit your search by date - sites updated in the last day, week, month, or year. * try searching Google Scholar for more scholarly results - though be aware that some of them may not be available for free.


* Who is the author? Why should you trust him/her?
* Where does the site come from? An organization? An individual? Which country?
* When was it put together? Is it frequently updated?
* What does it say? Does it make sense? Does it back up its claims?
* Why is it there? What is the author's purpose in presenting this information and does that purpose suggest a particular bias?

For Practice: Evaluate these three examples:

example one
example two
example three

Web Sites of Interest

  • Google Books

    Google is in the midst of an ambitious project to digitize books from publishers and in libraries. Those that were published before 1923 are in full text; those still potentially under copyright can be searched, but not viewed in full. It offers an interesting way to locate very specific words, phrases, and citations, particularly in older books. Using the advanced search you can limit a search to books that are full text or published within a range of years.
  • Google Scholar

    This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item. If you are using Google Scholar on campus, you will find articles available through the library's subscription databases linked. To view these links when searching off campus, use our Google Scholar Off Campus Link. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through interlibrary loan.
  • ipl2: Information You Can Trust

    Formed by a merger of the Internet Public Library and the Librarians' Internet Index, this site seeks out quality websites in all subject areas and provides annotations. It's a good place to browse or search for hand-picked, high-quality websites on a topic of your choice.
Citing Your Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

Use Everyday Writer for the details on how to write about sources and format your references. If your book isn't handy, there's one shelved behind the reference desk - or use our guide. For a useful tutorial on avoiding plagiarism, try this site from Purdue University.

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