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Information Literacy Collaboration

"A" Terms

Academic Source - a type of credible source that is written for a college level audience. Will contain information useful for student research, but may not be scholarly.

"B" Terms

BEAM -  Framework for evaluating sources. Developed by Joseph Bizup, evaluates information by function instead of source.


Book - A written text that can be published in print or electronic format.

"C" Terms

Credible Source - “Credible sources are ones the reader can trust. We trust that the author's ideas are his or her own and can be backed up with evidence” (from Appalachian State University). Things to consider are: availability of author information; currency; lack of extreme bias; and professionalism through a well-written presentation. Credible sources will most likely be found in library databases, books, and some web sites.

"D" Terms

Database - A collection of information arranged into individual records to be searched by a computer. 

Doi (Digital object identifier) -  A unique string of numbers, letters and symbols assigned to a specific article or document that provides  permanent access to its online locations. A Doi remains attached to a source, even if the URL/web address changes.

"E" Terms

Ebook - An electronic version of a book that can be read on an electronic device. Some ebooks originate as print books, some do not.

Electronic Resource - A resource that is accessed using a electronic device, such as websites, CDs, DVDs, streaming video sites, or library databases.

Empirical Study - A type of scholarly article is based on experiments conducted by the author(s), and includes a “Methods” or “Methodology” section describing how the experiment was conducted. Empirical studies/articles are a type of primary source.

"G" Terms

General Encyclopedias - Reference books that contain overviews of a range of topics. The level of treatment is non-technical and general. Entries are written by non-experts or staff writers. Examples of general encyclopedias include: World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Americana, and Columbia Encyclopedia.

"L" Terms

Library Catalog - A type of database used to search library-owned materials which include print books, ebooks, journals, and streaming videos. HACC Library calls their catalog SIRSI.

Library Databases - More than 80 electronic information storage systems that can only be accessed through HACC Library. These databases contain articles from magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, trade publications, encyclopedias, dictionaries, ebooks and streaming media. Accessed via Articles & Databases on the library website.

"M" Terms

Magazines -  A periodical that consists of popular articles written for the general reader rather than for scholars in a particular field.

Media Literacy - Provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

"O" Terms

OER (Open Educational Resource) - Teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others.  The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) - Computerized database that can be searched by keyword, author, title, subject, or call number to find out what resources a library owns.  Also referred to as a library catalog or online catalog.

"P" Terms

Peer Reviewed Journal - Journal containing scholarly articles that have been reviewed by scholars whose expertise and stature are similar to the author's.

Periodicals - the broad term for material that is published at regular intervals such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Examples of periodicals include: newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and trade publications.

Permalink - URL/web address that will permanently  point to a specific online source, such as a library database article, ebook, or video. Also a document URL (Proquest databases); permanent link; dedicated link; persistent link; and Bookmark URL (Gale databases).

Primary Sources - Primary sources are records that provide first-hand accounts or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are created by individuals that directly experience an event or experiment. Examples of primary sources include: letters, diaries, speeches, interviews, photographs, government documents, artistic works, works of literature, original research reports, and data sets. The HACC Library maintains a Primary Sources Guide which provides specifics on which types of primary sources are relevant to specific disciplines.

Print Sources - A source can you can hold in your hands, such as a book or magazine, or a source located using a library database that was originally printed and later digitized into an electronic source, such as ebooks, newspaper articles, or journal and magazine articles. Clarify with your instructor.

"R" Terms

Reference Book - A resource for common knowledge, background information, or an overview of a subject. The articles are compiled by editors and can be attributed to authors. Examples of reference books include: encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and handbooks in print or electronic format.

Resource - In research, a resource is the item where you locate information. For example, a database is a resource for research articles. A scholarly journal series may be a resource for research on a particular topic. A dictionary is a resource for definitions.

"S" Terms

Scholarly Journals - Periodical sources that are written for a specific audience using specialized vocabulary. The authors are experts sharing research from their field. These titles expansive articles with research, citations, and bibliographic information. Examples of scholarly journals include: Laboratory Medicine, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Journal of Periodontology.

Secondary Sources - Secondary sources put primary sources in a context or lens. The source comments, summarizes, interprets or analyzes information found in primary sources. Examples of secondary sources include academic books and periodical articles.

SIFT - Method of evaluating resources also known as The Four Moves. Steps are Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, and Trace claims, quotes and media to original context. 

Source - The specific location (container in MLA) of the information you located for your research. Citations use the word source to refer to the specific article, book, periodical, or website in which the information appears.

Subject Specialized Encyclopedias - Encyclopedias that contain background information on a specific topic. They provide more in-depth information and are academically oriented. Entries are often written by authors with professional knowledge or a background on a topic. Examples of subject specialized encyclopedias include: Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior, and Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures.

Summon - Summon is a search engine that searches for articles, eBooks, and other resources using keywords. Summon searches most, but not all HACC resources. 

"T Terms

Textbook - Book assigned by a professor, which presents the subject matter defined by the curriculum of the class, available in the HACC Bookstore.

Trade Publications - A periodical or magazine that contains articles relevant to a specific trade, industry, or profession. The focus is on current news, trends, and issues. They do not contain original research and are not peer reviewed. Also called trade journals, professional journals, trade periodicals, or trade magazines.

"U" Terms

URL or Web Address - Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address identifying a resource accessible at a particular location on the Internet.

W Terms

Web Sources - A website on the internet that is located via a search engine. This type of source should be evaluated for credibility.