The list below describes some of the types of information sources available:
An article from an encyclopedia will introduce key ideas, terminology, and people. There are general encyclopedias such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, and specialized subject encyclopedias such as the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, and many others.
Books can give a good overview of a topic, and a great deal of in-depth information. Even if we don't have a book written on your exact topic, we probably have a book with a broader focus that includes information about your topic. We may also borrow a book on your behalf from another library through a service called Interlibrary Loan.
Newspaper articles are good sources for contemporary material -- articles published at the time an event happened. Grossmont Library carries current issues of a few national and international newspapers in addition to the San Diego Union Tribune. We keep back issues of these papers in print for the past 6 months and microfilm beyond that. The San Diego Union Tribune is also available as a database.
Magazine articles are good sources for brief, introductory information on your topic. They are often referred to as popular magazines because the articles are written for broad, general audiences.
Journal articles offer a more scholarly or technical treatment of a topic. They are often referred to as scholarly journals or professional journals because the articles are usually written to audiences knowledgeable in a particular field. You'll often find journal articles written on very narrow, specific topics.
Government Publications -- sources produced by government agencies -- are available on a wide variety of subjects. Grossmont Library doesn’t carry very many government publications, but many are available on the internet or through interlibrary loan. Government materials are produced in paper, on microfiche, on CD-ROM or floppy disks, and often on the Internet.
Reference sources typically offer brief overviews or single-fact type information. Included in the Grossmont Library Reference Area are dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, sources offering statistics and brief biographical information, and style manuals that help you format your bibliography or list of references. There are also directories listing organizations, associations, and individuals that can be used to identify information sources outside of the library.
The World Wide Web can be a good source of certain types of information, particularly for government-produced information and for information provided by associations and organizations. You need to be especially careful to make sure the information comes from a reliable source. You may want to read or print our tips sheet for more information on evaluating internet sources.
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