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COMP 100: Composition (McManus, Spring 2014): Home

Course Information

COMP 100: Composition  (Spring 2014)   URL:

Professor Irene McManus; Librarian Kay Benjamin, 607-436-2998,

Finding Good Quality Web Sites

The web is not the best place to do academic research. Google or Bing should never be the only place you look for information for a college paper or project. However, the web can be a good place to orient yourself to the nature and extent of a topic.

If you are allowed to include web pages as sources, use the following tips to insure that you find the best and most authoritative information on the web:  

1.  Limit searches to .gov and .edu, which tend to offer more legitimate and reliable information: To do this add site:gov or site: edu to any web search. e.g. "drug use" site:gov  

2.  Use only key words and place phrases inside " ": "social media" and "social change"  

3.  Use the asterisk * to find various forms of a word - truncation: text* (finds text, texts, texting, etc.) read* (find read, reading, readers, etc.) 

4.  Use Wikipedia to read an introduction to a topic, and to find creditable sources through the bibliography: Although not appropriate as scholarly sources to use in your works cited, Wikipedia articles often provide good references and externals links at the end of the articles. The articles have helpful introductions to topics, though any facts need to be verified through other sources.

Evaluation tips: Use the following checklist as a guide to help you determine the value and validity of all the sources you find as you do your research.
  Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test (California State University at Chico)

Where to Start: Finding Information Using Library Research Tools


This is default search on the library home page. This will search across many library's databases and the library catalog. The results from a search will be very large; use the limiters on the left side of the page to refine and narrow your results. The most useful of the limiters are listed below:

  • Type: Select to narrow the results to only "Academic Journals" or "Magazines" or "Books."
  • Subject:  Click on "Show More" to see a list of all the subject categories. You can select multiple subjects. Subjects at the top represent the largest number of results. Subjects at the bottom will give the fewest results.
  • Geography: Useful if you wish to restrict your results to a certain country or region of the world.
  • Location: If you are looking for books you can limit to print or electronic owned by Milne Library, among other things.
  • Source: Click on "Show More" for a complete list of every database in which results were found.

This is a good starting place for research, but you will want to use the databases (for articles) and catalogs (for books) listed below for more in-depth and precise searching.

Finding Periodical Articles - General Databases

Periodicals are publications that come out on a regular, or periodic, basis. Examples include newspapers, magazines, and journals. Scholarly, or peer-reviewed, periodicals are appropriate for more serious research, while magazines, or popular, periodicals are intended for entertainment or information for general audiences. See the tab above to understand all the differences between types of periodicals.

Click on the Databases tab at the top of the library home page. Click on Browse All for an alphabetical list of all the databases. Click on the appropriate letter of the alphabet to select a specific database. 

  • Academic OneFile
    Indexes about 13,000 scholarly journals across most academic subject areas from 1980 to the present. Over 38,000,000 articles are available, with some full-text.
  • Academic Search Complete
    Recommended index.
    Provides full text for selected scholarly journals and popular magazines across the disciplines.
  • JSTOR archive
    Provides full text of over 300 scholarly journals in a range of subject areas including art and art history. Use the Advanced Search tab and limit your search to Type: Article; Language: English; and to the disciplines that apply (e.g. Art & Art History).
  • New York Times Archive, 1851-2009
    Full text of the major national newspapers. 
  • Opposing Viewpoints
    Contains about 2000 viewpoint articles, 1000 topic overviews, 700 court case overviews, and 30 full text periodicals and newspapers. The Research Guide provides tips on analyzing issues with opposing viewpoints, distinguishing fact from opinion, evaluating information sources, and recognizing deceptive arguments.

Finding Periodical Articles - Examples of Subject Databases

All of the following databases are linked from the library home page under Databases tab.

Finding a Copy of a Periodical Article

Locating the full text of the article in electronic form:

If there is no full text with the citation for an article in a database, click on or Find It!. If a full text of the article is available in another database, there will be a link connecting you to that database, where you can locate the article in the appropriate volume, or search for the article by title or author.

If the article is unavailable electronically, but available in print or microfilm, click on Oneonta Local Collection for exact holdings. Periodicals are located on compact shelving or in microfilm drawers on the floor P.

Requesting an article on Interlibrary Loan:

If you find an article from a periodical that is not available at Milne Library in any form after you have linked to "Check Library Catalog", you can request the article through the link Request item on Interlibrary Loan on the record for the article needed (see computer screen that comes up after you click on Find It!). You need to be registered to submit ILL requests. See a librarian for help. You can also request articles through the Interlibrary Loan  link on the library website.

Finding an Article from a Citation

If you have the citation for a periodical article

  •        use the Journals tab on the top of the library home page
  •         type in the title of the journal or magazine
  •         look for that title in the list and follow the link to the database(s)
  •         follow the links to the correct issue of the periodical OR
  •         locate a "search" box to type in the title of the article
  •         If the library subscribes to the periodical in print or microform, this will be indicated as well. Follow the link(s) to see what years the library
            subscribes to.

Finding Books

The Classic Milne Catalog, WorldCat, and Google Books all search for books but in different ways. These three different tools are interconnected. A search in Google Books will lead you to books in WorldCat and the Milne Catalog. A search in the Milne Catalog can lead you to a book in Google Books. A search in WorldCat will find books in many libraries, including Milne Library.

  • Milne Online Catalog
    (Classic Catalog Tab)
    This searches the contents of Milne Library's online catalog, which is an index to the contents of the physical library along with a large electronic book collection. Use this if you need to find a book that you can use immediately. It cannot be used to find individual journal articles. Note the call number for the item and consult Library Floor Plans to determine the location.
  • WorldCat
    An online database listing materials in thousands of libraries worldwide. Holdings are indicated for Milne Library and Hartwick College. You can search by author, title, subject, and keyword. Look for the ILLiad Request via Interlibrary Loan link to ask Milne Library to borrow a book from another library. The book may take several days, or longer, to arrive here at Milne Library. You can also check out items at Hartwick College with your SUNY Oneonta ID card. Use WorldCat if you want to find all the books that have been written on a topic.
  • Google Books (
    Unlike WorldCat and MilneCat, which search only the author, book title, and chapter titles for a book, Google Books searches the full contents of books. Think of it as an index to the contents of millions of books. Sometimes you can read quite a bit of a book online, but printing is difficult and often images are missing. Once you find a good book, use the link to "Find a Library" to locate a copy of a book. This will take you to WorldCat, which will include books here at Milne Library, as well as books you can request via interlibrary loan.
  • Search Everything
    Because this searches the library catalog as well as periodical databases, you can use it to find print and electronic books. Enter your search terms, then on the results screen click on the link "Books" on the left of the screen under the "Type."

    Research Help

    Librarians are available to help you in several ways:

    • Visit the Research Help Desk in Milne Library located on your left after you enter the library through the main entrance or through Jazzman's Cafe.
    • Call the Research Help  Desk at Milne Library at 607-436-2722. If the librarian is busy, you can leave a message on voice mail.
    • Email a question to a Milne librarian & get a response within 48 hours.
    • Request a research consultation to meet individually with a librarian.