5. The Information Landscape: Thinking About Information Formats

5. The Information Landscape: Thinking About Information Formats


Isn’t this page a website? Once upon a time… There were no websites, database articles, blog entries, tweets, ebooks, or online newspapers. Once upon a time… Books were books. Articles were articles. And we didn’t have websites. Now this is a book, and so it this. This is an article, and so is this. Even more confusing, this is a website, and this page is not– when it comes to meeting your instructor’s requirements for various information formats. Now I’m really confused! You’re not alone. The new information landscape has become much more difficult to traverse, because there is
so much more new territory to cover. Indeed, tracking down credible materials across a vast horizon of information, and then documenting what you have found
in a works cited list, has become downright difficult. Tell me about it! Of course, one of the reasons for this is we now have access to the Internet where anything goes! On the open web you will find a mix
of sites created by companies, organizations, and government entities, as well as sites created by individuals, not to mention posts
on social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Some of these sites are credible
from an academic point of view. Many are not! Another reason the information landscape is confusing to researchers is we now have electronic editions
of many traditionally published sources, such as books, journals, magazines,
and newspapers. So you could go into a library and browse the shelves for books. Or you could bring up
thousands of full-text books through EBSCOhost’s eBook Collection. You could go into a library
and track down a hard copy journal. Or you could poke around
Academic Onefile to find an article. You could grab the latest edition
of the San Diego Union Tribune
from the newsstand. Or you could look for a few articles through
Newspaper Source Plus. And then there are all those websites
out there on the open web, the sites you uncover through
search engines, such as Google or Yahoo. That’s my pick! Then you will not find wide-ranging collections of books, journals, magazines,
and newspapers– though you may a smattering of such sources. Even so, some of the information on the open web is being produced by credible organizations. So when you are conducting research using
a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, be sure to determine who actually put up
the site you are interested in. There are other criteria to consider, such as… credibility, accuracy, authority, bias, currency, and contact information. And I did. Getting back to information formats, if you find an ebook, it counts as a book. If you find journal article through
Academic Search Premier, it counts as a journal article. If you find a newspaper article though
Newspaper Source Plus, it counts as a newspaper article. And if you find a source through
a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, it counts as a website. This is driving me crazy. Again that’s because is hard
to tell the difference between a source you find on the open web and a source you find in a research database. So what if I find a newspaper article through Google? When it comes to research, you have it worse than your forebears did. If you find a newspaper article through Google, it is cited as a website. But it could count as a newspaper article– to your instructor. It could also count as a website– to your instructor. If you aren’t sure of how your instructor
wants you to classify or count sources you discover through Google or Yahoo, ask! So if my instructor wants me to find a newspaper article, and I find one through Google, I should cite that as a website? Correct. Yet my instructor might count
this source as an article? That’s right. If you are not sure if your instructor
will count this source as a website or an article, ask! In the end, however, you will want
to cite it as a website. in your works cited list. So if I find my article though
an online database, such as Proquest Newspapers, it is never counted as a website? It is never counted as a website. even though you have technically
viewed it on the web. You will want to cite it
as an article from online databases. Yikes. Some publications, particularly newspapers, are made available in print editions, electronic editions, and free web editions. An article from a print edition will be cited as an article in a print newspaper. The electronic editions are often sold to database companies, such as Proquest, Gale, or EBSCO. These sources are cited as articles
from an online databases. The web editions exist in that territory where anything goes. And they count as websites. If you can learn to tell the difference between a source you uncover through
a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, and a source located in a research database, you will go a long way toward becoming an effective researcher. Remember, research databases offer electronic versions of traditionally published information, such as books, journals, magazines,
and newspapers. These databases should provide current sources, as well as archival coverage. Research databases are generally
made available to you through libraries and other organizations. In contrast, the open web is territory where anything goes. You will have to work harder to evaluate the sites you find there
for academic research. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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