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English 201 - A. Medina
September 10, 2007

  • Intro and welcome

  • Reference books and journals on cart

  • Rio Hondo College Library Web site - best place to start research

  • Strategies for finding authoritative web sites

    • Use a subject directory that provides human-selected web sites

    • Search for the .edu domain in search engines

    • Follow up web sites that are cited in scholarly journal articles

  • Strategies for evaluating web sites

  • What about Wikipedia?

    • Criticisms:

      • entries can be written by random people or fanatics who love their subjects and may not always be accurate or balanced;

      • anyone can edit and change entries at any time;

      • some entries may not be backed up by authoritative citations;

      • different versions of a page make it difficult to track for citation purposes.

    • Kudos:

      • democratic (you don’t have to have a PhD to write ‘authoritatively’ on your special subject or niche topic);

      • strives for an NPOV (neutral point of view);

      • self-regulating (vandalism is dealt with swiftly);

      • can provide useful Bibliographies on topics (may be selective).








Web Sites

Gay Rights

· Marriage

·  Adoption

·  Health benefits


“Other Libraries” from Library home page

ProQuest: Search gay rights movement as subject, then refine

SIRS: download the Gay Rights research guide

× Issues & Controversies @

WebCat -
Use “videorecording” as an additional search term

SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

Subject Guides from RHCL site

Librarians’ Internet Index

Intute - Social Sciences

War in Iraq

** See below for additional search tips

WebCat -
Use “Iraq War 2003” for your Subject search

ProQuest: Search Iraq war as subject, then refine


Other Online Databases:

      >Issues & Controversies

      >CQ Researcher

      >Gale Virtual Reference Library

Same as above

SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

The Struggle for Iraq - BBC Special Report

‘Renewal in Iraq’ - The White House

OpenCRS - authoritative, non-partisan reports from the Congressional Research Service

Global Warming



ProQuest: Use Suggested Topics

SIRS: download the Global Warming research guide

Other Online Databases:

      >Issues & Controversies (older article, but click on Sidebar topics)

      >Encycl. Britannica; Gale Virtual Reference Library

      >National Library for the Environment

Same as above

SIRS – check “Graphics” in results list

Subject Guides from RHCL site

Global Warming - New York Times Science Topics:

INFOMINE - Scholarly Internet Resource Collections from UCR

HPV Vaccine

(Human Papillomavirus)


WebCat – books on HPV, little on vaccine

For recent news on vaccine:



Other Online Databases:

      >Issues & Controversies       >Medical articles in Health Ref. Center Academic, Health & Wellness Resource Center, Medline Plus, and Highwire Press 

WebCat -
Try a Video/DVD Search using “Sexually Transmitted Diseases” as a subject

SIRS – consult Sidebars in results list

HPV - Medline Plus

Human Papillomavirus infection - CDC

Human Papillovavirus - National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases

Chinese occupation of Tibet


WebCat -
Try “Tibet relations China” in a Subject search

ProQuest: embedded search

SIRS: Quick search “China foreign relations Tibet”  or Advanced Search in text “China” and “Tibet"

Other Online Databases:

      >Gale Virtual Reference Library

      >Country Watch: Search category Country Review for “China” and click on “Foreign Relations” in left margin.


WebCat -
Search Everything for “China and atlas”

China Tibet Information Center - ‘official’ information from China

Tibet Online - an advocacy group

Intute - Internet sources on conflict in China-Tibet

  • Other Tips



    For articles in the form of commentaries, opinions, editorials, do an Advanced Search.

    a.       Fill out your topic word(s) next to the “Citation and Abstract” window.

    b.       Select “Document Type” and a drop-down window will appear -> click on “Commentary” or on “Editorial.”

    c.       Click on “Search.”

    For ongoing or long-term events, use focused search terms or specify a date range


    Now offers “Research Guides” on selected topics. Good value but some sources can be a bit dated. Also look at the individual results that come up from your search.

    Web Sites

    In order to obtain better quality web sites on your topic, perform an Advanced Search on your search engine of choice.  Hint:  Specify the domain from which you want your results to come. For example, for topics marked with * (see chart), try this in Google:

    • HPV vaccine site:gov

    • HPV vaccine site:edu

    • China Tibet subject guides site:edu not art

    Use subject directories - not just search engines  (Why? Because the web sites are selected and evaluated by real persons [usually librarians] and not just generated automatically by a “most popular” algorithm!)

    • Librarians’ Internet Index

    • Infomine

    ** The Iraq War (2003- ) has spawned hundreds of thousands of web sites.  Instead of trying to track down each and every one that may be relevant to your topic, I/we suggest the following university library web site as a gateway to further information on your focused topic.

JSevilla-Marzona 02/07

Adapted by JCoe 09/07

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