What Does the Information Source Tell You About Itself? Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this types of formats for research papers, on the basis of a disability, please contact Disability Services by emailing them at Disability. Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. Here are some common information source types with descriptions of how current their information usually is, what kind of information is contained in them, and where to find them.
Currency: Current within a few months to a few years of publication. Look at the list of references used. What is the most recent date you can find? That should tell you when they stopped researching and started writing. Type of Information: Most recent research within the subject of the journal. Scholarly journal articles are important in all academic subject areas, but especially in the sciences, where most researchers do not write books.
Where to Find: Print journals are delivered to subscribers and libraries. Some journals are Open Access and make all their content online for free. Some journals allow authors to keep a copy of their articles online in a repository and you can usually find these through Google Scholar. Those subscriptions make millions of articles available to users at those institutions. Currency: News magazine articles should be current within a few days to a few months of publication. But many magazine articles are based on scholarly articles, so their information is not as new.
Non-scholarly articles about topics of interest within the subject of the magazine. Where to Find: Print magazines are delivered to homes and libraries. Some magazines have an online presence, but access to older articles may require a subscription. Some library databases have full-text articles from magazines. Currency: Current within a few minutes to a day of publication.
Corrections made after the fact can change content later. Type of Information: Current events and editorials. Where to Find: Print newspapers are delivered to homes and libraries. Many newspapers have an online presence but access to older articles may require a subscription.
Libraries can subscribe to newspaper databases. Currency: Information may be two or three years old. Type of Information: Scholarly research on a topic. Not as recent as a journal article, but may address a whole subject rather than just a piece of it. Monographs are very important in the humanities. Where to Find: Monographs are primarily available through academic libraries.
Some are in print, some are e-books. Other books take two or more years to get to print, and the research may be even older. Type of Information: Non-scholarly information and opinion. Where to Find: Nonfiction books are found in bookstores and mainly public libraries. Nonfiction books on academically relevant topics that are of reasonably high quality are also collected by academic libraries.