Old and New Sources and Tools

Search Engines vs. Databases vs. Sources

Search Engines--web pages that are "portals" through which one can search the journals covered by a specific set of bibliographies assembled by area of expertise/discipline (Lexis/Nexus [search databases of law and news sources], EbscoHost [searches databases of popular and scholarly sources--click "peer reviewed" to exclude the trash], WilsonWeb [searches popular and scholarly sources--click "peer reviewed" to exclude the trash],  JSTOR [searches all scholarly--select disciplines or individual journals--no need to protect yourself from accidentally scooping up trash]

Databases (discipline-specific bibliographies)--lists of articles, searchable by author, title, keyword, and subject, assembled by scholars within disciplines to provide an overview of the year's articles and books published on important topics (MedLine for medicine, MLA Bibliography for literature, PsychLit for psychology).

Sources--authors who publish articles in journals, print and online, serially, usually by the quarter (3 months per issue); and authors who publish books from scholarly presses.  "Sources" are never web sites, newspapers or magazines or scholarly journals.  Sources are human beings whose credentials and publishing record you can check using an "Author" search in the appropriate search engine pointed at the appropriate database.  When in doubt, look up the past and later publications of your sources.  Get to now what expertise looks like in print and in digital text.


Frequency of Publication Cycle vs. Accuracy-Quality

High Freq/Low Accuracy-Quality     Low Freq/Higher Accuracy-Quality     Lowest Freq/Highest Accuracy-Quality

Web pages, Newspapers, Magazine         Scholarly Journals                      Scholarly Books

(by the minute, day, or week)              (6 month to 1 yr. cycle)                (1 yr. to 3 yr. cycle)

(no review or editor reviews)               (peer-reviewed)                             (peer-reviewed)