Roberta Tipton
December 3, 2009
Learning Tools: Class Guides: Dana Class Guides:
Critical Issues in Contemporary Journalism:
Finding Quality Information

Ways to Think About Information Quality

The items below indicate just a few of the ways you can think about information in order to increase the quality of information you use in your scholarship and in your work as journalists.


Definitions and Explanations

Publication Continuum by Roberta Tipton From Popular to Scholarly Materials The Publication Continuum: Think of all items published in any medium as lying on a continuum between popular/general and scholarly/academic. The problem with the Web is that it includes materials on every part of the continuum. How can you tell what is high quality and what is not? (Click on thumbnails to see full-sized images.) How can you tell the difference between popular and scholarly journals?

Scholarly Web Resources

Built by U.S. academic librarians for an academic audience, Infomine features a wealth of material, much of it free, that has been vetted for quality. Includes an online reference section as well as the search capability.
"Intute is a free online service providing access to the very best web resources for education and research. All material is evaluated and selected by a network of subject specialists to create the Intute database"--from the site. Based in the UK.

Citation Indexes

The Web of Science (WOS) is the electronic version of the citation indices. The Science Citation Index is no longer available in print form at Dana Library. WOS covers the exact same material as the print. WOS indexes the highest number of chemistry journals, aside from Chemical Abstracts. WOS is not a difficult database, but it is complicated. It takes several searches to get an understanding of its strengths. WOS is a bibliographic database, this means that it retrieves references/abstracts only. There is no full-text component, although there is linking to full-text.

WOS can be used to perform a literature search on a given author or topic/subject/compound. This is NOT the primary function of a citation index, but it can be used this way. If WOS is used for a literature search it will only retrieve material dating from 1984.

The primary function of WOS is to conduct searches on a topic or by author and also to find articles which cite these works or which use related.

WOS can also be used to retrieve the tables of contents of the journals indexed in the database. Using the tables of contents is a current awareness tool. This allows you to browse the recent material in the journal literature without coming to the library or subscribing to the journal.

For a step-by-step search guide, go to: Introduction to the Web Of Science.

Journal Citation Reports
Displays impact factors of journals in various subject areas.
Google Scholar
Using Google Scholar from the Rutgers University Libraries Indexes and Databases page means that links to available full text articles from Rutgers appear automatically. You must reset your "Scholar preferences" to handshake with RefWorks if you are using it. You might also find that you need a more manageable database with better output options than this kitchen sink approach. Remember that Rutgers offers you more than 200 periodical indexes and databases in many subject areas. Don't stop here if you feel overwhelmed.

Website Evaluation Strategies

Evaluating Web Pages (Roberta Tipton, Rutgers University)
Web extensions and ways to evaluate material.
Evaluation of Internet Resources (Ka-Neng Au, Rutgers University)
Clear and to the point, with great links to other evaluation pages. Emphasizes the evaluation of the whole web site, not just an individual page. [ /rul/rr_gateway/dana_class_guides/evaluate.shtml]

Find Newspaper Articles

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: the New York Times
Provides the full image of articles published in the New York Times from its first issue in 1851 until two years ago.
Access World News
Contains the full text of recent New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many New Jersey newspapers, including the Star-Ledger. Over 840 U.S. and 1080 international newspapers in all.
Find recent articles in major metropolitan and international newspapers in Factiva or LexisNexis Academic. Factiva also includes some international newspapers in the original language. For items you cannot locate in full text from these sources, we own the following newspapers on microfilm on the Lower Level:
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles Times
Washington Post
Newark Star Ledger
Subject Research Guide: Newspapers (Natalie Borisovets and Ka-Neng Au, Dana Library, Rutgers)
A guide to newspapers online throughout the world; cost of access noted if known.
[ /rul/rr_gateway/research_guides/newspapers/newslib.shtml]

Finding and Using Experts and Expertise

Library Guides and Pathfinders

Here are two examples from Rutgers, but pick your favorite research university.

Dana Class Guides:
America and the World
by Natalie Borisovets, Dana Library
RUL Subject Research Guides:
Government Information
by Mary Fetzer, Alexander Library

Hints for Focusing and "Containing" Open Web Searches

Use government websites as a starting place.

Begin with an item of known quality.

Think about centers and associations as well as individuals as sources of expertise.

MLA Citation Style

MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue University Online Writing Laboratory)
Based on the print MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition [Dana Reference Desk #276] and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition [DANA REF LB 2369 .G53 2009] from the Modern Language Association.
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