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Sullivan University Libraries @ Lexington: Basic Tools

Use this guide to find information about the library and the Lexington Campus.

Understanding types of information sources

  • Blogs are a type of interactive journal where writers post and readers respond.
  • They vary widely in quality of information and validity of sources. For example, many prestigious journalists and public figures may have blogs, which may be more credible than most.
  • A group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization  (Merriam-Webster)
  • Websites vary widely in quality of information and validity of sources (Purdue OWL).
  • Pay attention to the top-level domain: .edu and .gov tend to be more reliable sites. Use .orgs cautiously; they are not all non-profit groups. 
  • Examples: MedlinePlus.govKidsHealth.orgGo Ask Alice.columbia.edu
  • Media and content that uses a combination of different content forms (Wikipedia), like text, photographs, video, audio or interactive elements.
  • May be found in databases or through the open web using a search engine.
  • Examples: Radio and television broadcasts, user-generated video, interactive talks, podcasts.
  • Provides very current information about events, people, or places at the time they are published
  • Useful for information on current events or to track the development of a story as it unfolds
  • Examples: Louisville Courier-JournalThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalCNN
  • Include articles on diverse topics of popular interest and current events
  • Articles typically written by journalists or professional writers
  • Geared toward the general public
  • Examples: TimeNewsweekNational Geographic
  • Include articles written by and for workers in a particular field
  • Articles may have sources cited, but sometimes do not.
  • Geared toward people with knowledge or interest in a certain field.
  • Examples: Nation's Restaurant News, Nursing Times, Publishers WeeklyRealtor, Rock and Gravel Monthly
  • Include articles written by and for specialists/experts in a particular field
  • Most articles must go through a peer review process before they're accepted for publication
  • Articles tend to have a narrower focus and more analysis of the topic than those in other types of publications
  • Include cited references or footnotes at the end of research articles
  • Examples: American Anthropologist, ScienceJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
  • Collections of articles from journals and magazines that can be searched effeciently. Sometimes they include books and other sources, too.
  • Every database follows different rules for searching and storage. Effective use depends on knowing those rules. Some commercial databases provide only summaries of articles and do not include full text.
  • Databases can be very expensive and may not be accessible to the general public. You have access to several as a Sullivan student.
  • Examples: EBSCOhost, ProQuest, Opposing Viewpoints
  • Cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction
  • Useful for the complete background on an issue or an in-depth analysis of a theory or person
  • Can take years to publish, so may not always include the most current information
  • Examples: Inside Scientology, The Art of War, Who Moved my Cheese?
  • Include facts, figures, addresses, statistics, definitions, dates, etc.
  • Useful for finding factual or statistical information or for a brief overview of a particular topic.
  • Can be print or online
  • Examples: dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories

Math Resources

Good Calculators -- provides links to over 200 calculators designed to work on computers, tablets and smartphones.  Examples of calculators available include depreciation, logistics, sports and retirement -- just to name a few.

Wolfram | Alpha -- designed to perform "dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms and methods," provides a starting point for calculations and research.