Thursday, November 29, 2012

Google Guidance

Good morning!  So many of you are working to collect sources for research projects right now, I thought I'd give you a few tips on getting good results when Googling. 

***Don't forget to use the LibGuides that have been created for your projects, the databases on the Library's web page, and the Library Catalog!  We have lots of PRINT (yes, print) materials that are not available electronically.  You may miss some great information if you fail to consult the books.***

Ok, so now on with the Googling.  Here are some guidelines to make your searches more efficient and productive:

  1. Don't ask Google a question!  Google is not a person.  EXCLUDE words that are unimportant.
  2. When you have search terms that are phrases, enclose those phrases in quotation marks.  This way, Google knows to keep those words together in that exact order.  For example, "Colonial America" instead of Colonial America (in which case Google will provide you with search results for the word Colonial and the word America).
  3. Think about all the possible synonyms for your search terms.  How might others say/phrase your ideas?  You may want to conduct multiple searches or include multiple terms separated by the operator OR.  (e.g. "Colonial America" OR "early American settlers")
  4. Examine the URL (web address) of your results to see which sites might be the most reliable or useful for you.  Remember that the suffix of the URL tells us what type of site it may be.  .edu is a university site, .gov is a US government site, .mil is a US military site, etc...
  5. If you would like to search for information only on one  type of site, follow your search terms with (or whichever type you'd like).  For example:
    • "Colonial America" OR "early American settlers"
Happy Googling!  For more tips and tricks, visit Google's site for basic search help.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oral Histories and Freshman Religion

Right now in the Library we are featuring the creative work of the Religion I students.  They have been studying oral traditions and were asked to explore the oral traditions in their own families.  Not only did they interview an family member (most spoke with grandparents), they also found a way to present their family stories creatively.  You can read the full assignment on the class blog.  Their work will be in the library for the next few weeks, so come take a look.

While you are here, you can also take a look at some oral histories that have been collected in print, like Hard Times by Studs Terkel.  Terkel interviewed hundreds of people and recorded their recollections of the Great Depression.  You can hear many of the recordings of these interviews here.

Some other great oral history projects include:
The UCLA Center for Oral History Research
The Veterans Oral History Project
9/11 Memorial

If you want to plan your own oral history project, here are some great tips from The American Folklife Center.