Dictionaries help you communicate correctly and clearly by providing:
Definitions, and information about pronunciation, usage, abbreviations, and etymology (history of a word).
Parts of speech.
Details about how people use words or terms in specific fields, in specialized dictionaries.
For alternative ways to say something, look for synonyms (words with similar meanings) in a thesaurus.
Encyclopedias provide you with:
Articles about a word, person, place, event, or concept.
Objective (fact-based) articles written by experts in their field of study.
General or subject-specific information.
Access statistical data on sports, astronomical bodies, geography, and more using an almanac.
Information about places—such as roads, climate, and topography—is found in an atlas. Other topics include demographic, political, and historical background, as well as health care, religion, the environment, agriculture, and language.
Consult nonfiction books. (Remember, objective means based on fact, not opinion. Not all of these nonfiction books are objective.)
Research people using biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs.
Learn a new skill with tips from guides and handbooks.
Get exposed to different perspectives on a topic through a collection of essays.
Learn about a specific subject by consulting a monograph.
Magazines are sources for current events, pop culture, business trends, and entertainment.
Up-to-date information, though it may not be the most authoritative.
Articles typically are brief, with little historical context.
Consider the author’s tone as well as the article’s sources.
Use your library to access databases for more scholarly results and better searches than those available on the open web.
Follow these strategies:
Know what kind of information you need.
Use general reference databases for background information on your topic.
Check out the library’s research guides for resources relevant to your subject, class, or topic. You can find these under Subject Guides or Research by Subject.
Determine if a database is a good fit for your research topic by reading the database description on the library website.
Use a bibliographic database to start a list of books and articles related to your topic. Ask a librarian for help finding the full text of the item.
Utilize the database search function to find words and phrases located anywhere in the book or article. Depending on the database, you also can search for images, music, videos, and webcasts.
Ask your librarian for help choosing an appropriate database for your area of study.
In library language, a database is a searchable collection of information. Most times, this information comes from magazines, journal articles or other published materials.
The Library organizes its databases using an A to Z format by the database title. However, you can limit/filter the databases by subject area or type of articles.
Most people use Google for their open or free web searches. There is a lot of information out there but remember to put all your resources through the CRAAP Test to see if they are usable.
Here are some hints to help you with searching the open web:
-- When was the information created?
-- Does your topic require updated information?
-- Does the information relate to your paper/project?
-- Is it written at an appropriate level? (not too advanced or elementary)
-- Is the author qualified to write on this subject?
-- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
-- Where does the information come from?
-- Is the information supported by legitimate sources?
-- Why was the site created (advertising, share knowledge, entertainment)?
-- Do the authors make their intentions clear?
Google Scholar is linked to the UHMC Library. From this freely accessible, scholarly web search engine, go to Settings > Library Links to sync your Google Scholar page to the full text articles available at your library. Articles indicated with "Get Article" are available through UHMC Library.
For more information, consult the UHMC Library Guide to Google Scholar.