Using and Evaluating Print Resources
Lesson 5

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Bibliographies

One of the best ways to quickly collect an abundance of pertinent books and periodical articles is to use bibliographies. A bibliography is a compilation of citations to books, journal articles, reports, and so on about a particular topic or person.

Bibliographies often contain treasures that can be located only in sources not covered by databases. They may include types of material and dates of coverage not included in electronic databases.

Using bibliographies can save you the trouble of repeating the same search through several different databases by rounding up widely scattered citations into one place. Why reinvent the wheel when experienced scholars have already done the laborious work of identifying relevant sources?

Bibliographies can be found at the ends of encyclopedia articles, journal articles, and books. Bibliographies can also be entire books. Not only do book-length bibliographies give lists of book and article citations, their arrangement often also provides an overview of the structure of a topic and puts the person or topic into the larger context of the discipline.

Strategies for Finding Bibliographies
in the Library Catalog

In Literature

You can find bibliographies of sources about the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, by 20th century American novelist Zora Neale Hurston from three different perspectives: by name, by nationality, and by genre/time period.

1. To search the library catalog by name

Hurston, Zora Neale Bibliography
   retrieves:
               
               Zora Neale Hurston: An Annotated Bibliography
                and Reference Guide

       

2. To search the library catalog by region and nationality

Women and literature Southern States Bibliography
    retrieves:

          Contemporary Southern Women Fiction Writers
          An Annotated Bibliography

3. To search the library catalog by literary genre and time period.

American fiction 20th century Bibliography
    retrieves:

          A Guide to Twentieth-Century Women Novelists

In History

The question "What was the role of black women in the Civil Rights movement?" could also be approached from different perspectives:

1. Minority women United States Bibliography
       retrieves:

         Women of Color and Southern Women: A          Bibliography of Social Science Research

2. Women United States History Bibliography
       retrieves:

         Women in U.S. History: a Resource Guide

3. Civil rights Bibliography
       retrieves:

        The Civil Rights Movement:
        References and Resources

Remember, bibliographies are compiled by experienced scholars who have done the laborious work of identifying relevant sources. Always check the bibliographies at the ends of encyclopedia articles, journal articles, and books. You will find a wealth of material.

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