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MCOM 286: Research Methods in Mass Communication (Spring 2014): Research Tools for Mass Media

Course Information

Professor Gayane Torosyan, Librarian Kay Benjamin (

An online version of the course guide can be found at URL:

Periodicals Defined

  • Periodicals are publications issued at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) such as newspapers, magazines, and journals.
  • Many periodicals are originally published in print form (available at newsstands and through subscription). The library subscribes to databases that offer an electronic version of the text of selected articles from many periodicals. This is content that you will not find for free using Google.

Key Databases for Communication Arts and Mass Media

All of the following databases are linked from the library home page under the Databases tab. For best results use the Advanced Search features of any database.

Selected Indexes to Articles in Popular Magazines, Trade Journals, Scholarly Periodicals, Newpapers and News Transcipts

Click on the Databases tab at the top of the library home page. Click on Browse by Discipline. Click on Art to see a complete list of periodical databases appropriate for art-related topics.  Look for a check box on the search screen to limit a search to Peer-Reviewed, Academic, or Scholarly articles.

 Search Everything  This is default search on the library home page. You can use this search box to find articles from across many of the library's databases. It will also find books in the library's collection. See the handout you were given in class for instructions.

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 Good Quality Web Pages

To insure that you find the best and most authoritative information on the web, follow these suggestions:

   1.  Limit searches to .gov and .edu:

To do this add site:gov or site: edu to any web search.

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

"animal rights"

movies and “wedding customs”

   3.  Use the asterisk (*) at the end of a word to find all forms of the word with that root:

wed* will find wed, wedding, weddings


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 MilneCat. A search in MilneCat can lead you to a book in Google Books. A search in WorldCat will find books in many libraries, including Milne Library.

Books can be found using library catalogs. Milne Library's "classic catalog" includes both print and links to the full text of electronic books.

  • Milne Library Classic Catalog
    An index to the contents of Milne Library, including print and electronic books, DVDs, CDs, and more.
  • WorldCat
    Recommended Index.
    An index to the contents of thousands of libraries, including Milne Library at Oneonta. the default search is for Milne Library only. To search the contents of other libraries select "Libraries Worldwide" from the dropdown box.
  • 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. From the results screen click on the link "Books" on the left of the screen under the "Type." To limit to print books in Milne Library, click on "Location", then "Milne Library -Print".