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Religious Studies 1681 Quest for Enlightenment Winter 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Religious Studies 1681 Quest for Enlightenment Winter 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Religious Studies 1681 Quest for Enlightenment Winter 2012

2 Today’s Class Where to begin: A few suggestions Types of Scholarly Information Sources Types of Research Tools (for finding scholarly sources) Search Tips and Examples A few words about sources found on the Web Questions… welcome at any time

3 Where to Begin? Reference books such as specialized encyclopedias, historical dictionaries and companions are often a good place to start your research.

4 Where to Begin? Reference books such as specialized encyclopedias, historical dictionaries and companions are often a good place to start your research. Reference books can help you: find a broad or introductory-level overview of a topic find a summary of recent scholarship identify specific issues and subjects (or people, objects, etc) identify other key resources, major studies discover names of scholars who have published in the field become familiar with concepts and terminology that can help with your search strategy (i.e. help you identify good and relevant keywords!)

5 Examples of Reference Works Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Irons, 2008) One of three encyclopedias entirely devoted to Buddhism in the library reference collection. Encyclopedia of Religion (15 vols) Vol. 2 includes lengthy articles on Buddhism, Schools of Buddhism, Buddhist philosophy, the Buddhist religious year, Buddhist studies, Buddhism in India, Buddhism in the West, etc.) Human Rights and the World's Major Religions (5 vols) Vol. 4: The Hindu Tradition (includes an Annotated Bibliography) Additional examples are provided on the course guide accessible at:

6 Recently Published Books and Articles The bibliographies of recent books and articles can also help you identify other books and articles on the same/similar topics. Example: Harding, John S., Victor Sogen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, eds. Wild Geese : Buddhism in Canada. Toronto: McGill-Queen's UP, The bibliography of this book will likely help you find additional sources for topics related to Buddhism in Canada/North America.

7 Types of Scholarly Information Sources Books and e-books (single- or multi-author monographs) Essays in anthologies (books with an editor; each chapter/essay is written by a different author) Journal Articles – Available in print format in the Library – Available in digital format in Library Databases – Available in digital format free on the Web (in open-access journals, for example)

8 Types of Research Tools Library Catalogues – Examples: The Mt.A Library Catalogue, other University Library Catalogues, WorldCat Journal Indexes and Databases – Subject-Specific Indexes/Databases Example: ATLA Religion Database, SocIndex – Multidisciplinary Databases Examples: JSTOR, Project Muse, Oxford Journals Online, and ProQuest Bibliographies (of books, of encyclopedia entries, etc) Also: Browsing library shelves, the Web

9 Which Tool for which Source? Information SourcePrimary Research Tool Books and e-books (monographs)Library Catalogue and E-book CollectionsE-book Collections Articles (from Journals, Magazines & Newspapers) Journal Index/Database (+ Library Catalogue or Journal Finder) examples: ATLA Religion Database, SocIndex, JSTOR, etc. Articles in Open Access JournalsDirectory of Open Access Journals Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ); Google ScholarGoogle Scholar ______________________________ Other useful sources:WorldCatWorldCat, Other Library Catalogues, Google Books, Google Scholar Google BooksGoogle Scholar

10 Finding Books

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16 Search Strategies My Search: Gandhi and biography = 18 items When searching for books: You may need to use less specific search terms Sometimes helpful to use broad, more general search terms You can generally use more specific search terms when searching for articles

17 Search Strategies Examples: Instead of a personal name, try something like: Hindu$ and biography Hindu$ and guru$ Hindu$ and women

18 Search Strategies Examples: Instead of a particular object or technique, try something like: Buddhis$ and material culture Buddhis$ and social life and customs Buddhis$ and (meditation or mindfulness or insight or enlightenment)

19 Finding Articles You cannot search for article in the Library Catalogue…

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24 Search Strategies & Keyword Selection Different keywords will lead to different results. Once you’ve identified what you think are relevant keywords, try to think of other, additional words that could be used to describe the same or similar thing or topic. In other words, try to account for variations in terminology, spelling, language, etc., by using synonyms, related words, variant spellings.

25 Keyword Selection Searches in the ATLA Religion Database: -Buddhist technique = 1 item

26 Keyword Selection Searches in the ATLA Religion Database: -Buddhist technique = 1 item -Buddhist and meditation = 563 items

27 Keyword Selection Searches in the ATLA Religion Database: -Buddhist technique = 1 item -Buddhist and meditation = 563 items -Buddhism and meditation = 794 items

28 Keyword Selection Searches in the ATLA Religion Database: -Buddhist technique = 1 item -Buddhist and meditation = 563 items -Buddhism and meditation = 794 items -Buddhis* and meditation = 894 items Keyword selection matters!

29 Search Tip! Truncation Symbol $ in the Library Catalogue * in most other library databases Example: Canad $ will find: Canada, Canadian, Canadians, Canadiana…

30 Keyword Selection Buddhis* and meditation = 894 items (too many?)

31 Keyword Selection Buddhis* and meditation = 894 items (too many?) Add additional keywords to make your search more specific. Examples: Buddhis* and meditation and japan* = 49 items Buddhis* and meditation and women = 18 items Buddhis* and meditation and enlightenment = 53 items

32 From Citation to Full Text The ATLA Religion Database and other library databases will often provide access to the full text of articles in digital format. In some cases, ATLA and other library databases will only provide a citation for an article (no full text).  In these cases, how do you find out if the article is available at our library?

33 From Citation to Full Text To find out if an article is available at the library, look up the title of the journal in which the article was published in: – The Library Catalogue and/or – Journal Finder

34 From Citation to Full Text Example: Vemsani, Lavanya. "Narasimha, The Supreme Deity Of Andhra Pradesh: Tradition And Innovcation In Hinduism -- An Examination Of The Temple Myths, Folk Stories, And Popular Culture." Journal Of Contemporary Religion 24.1 (2009):

35 From Citation to Full Text Example: Vemsani, Lavanya. "Narasimha, The Supreme Deity Of Andhra Pradesh: Tradition And Innovcation In Hinduism -- An Examination Of The Temple Myths, Folk Stories, And Popular Culture." Journal Of Contemporary Religion 24.1 (2009):

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39 Other Databases The ATLA Religion Database is the primary discipline-specific index for articles published in Religious Studies journals. Databases that cover related disciplines, such as History and Sociology, will likely also help you find relevant articles. Examples include SocINDEX and Historical Abstracts Multidisciplinary databases such as JSTOR and Project Muse also include Religious Studies journals (see list of journals on the course guide).

40 Sources from Other Libraries You are not limited to resources held only in our library Books and articles not available at the Mount Allison Libraries may be requested through the library's interlibrary loan service WorldCat and the Catalogues of other (larger) university libraries are good places to look for additional materials you can request

41 Web Sources In addition to library catalogues and databases, Web sources can also be used to identify both resources that are and are not available in our collections. Examples: – Google Books may allow you to find information on a topic in a book that we have in print. – Google Scholar may allow you to find articles online or to discover articles you can request via Interlibrary loan.

42 Google Books and Google Scholar Google Books: books.google.ca Google’s attempt to digitize the world’s books Many books in the public domain (no longer protected by copyright) are available cover to cover. Partial access to other books (level of access varies from title to title) Can search the full text of books – useful for finding material of interest in books we have at the library (or which you can order via interlibrary loan).

43 Google Books and Google Scholar Google Scholar: scholar.google.ca Google’s attempt to provide access to scholarly information available on the Web A good tool for finding scholarly web sources and articles in open access journal, but… Much scholarly information still cannot be found online (varies by discipline) Relying exclusively on Google Scholar would mean overlooking much of the scholarly information available in library databases

44 Evaluating Web Sources Good research involves more than simply identifying and finding information related to your topic. Research also involves critically evaluating the information that you find. This is true for all kinds of information and sources of information, but can be especially true for sources you find on the web.

45 Evaluating Web Sources Not every book or article about a Religious Studies topic is necessarily a scholarly source. The same is true for information you find on the Web. Knowing how to distinguish scholarly from non-scholarly sources can help.

46 What is a Scholarly Source? Are generally written by experts in the field (look for: credentials, author affiliations)

47 What is a Scholarly Source? Are generally written by experts in the field (look for: credentials, author affiliations) Are generally peer-reviewed (critically assessed by other scholars and experts in the field prior to publication)

48 What is a Scholarly Source? Are generally written by experts in the field (look for: credentials, author affiliations) Are generally peer-reviewed (critically assessed by other scholars and experts in the field prior to publication) Engage and build on previous research on the same subject (see next bullet)

49 What is a Scholarly Source? Are generally written by experts in the field (look for: credentials, author affiliations) Are generally peer-reviewed (critically assessed by other scholars and experts in the field prior to publication) Engage and build on previous research on the same subject (see next bullet) Always cite all sources quoted or referenced (non-scholarly sources aimed at a non-academic audience don’t normally do this)

50 What is a Scholarly Source? Are generally published by a university press or publisher specializing in scholarly works

51 What is a Scholarly Source? Are generally published by a university press or publisher specializing in scholarly works Make a contribution to the field (present an original argument or interpretation)

52 Evaluating Web Sources For more information on evaluating web source and for distinguishing scholarly from non-scholarly sources, see sections 5 and 6 of the course guide for links to: – Guides to help you distinguish scholarly from non-scholarly sources, and – Evaluating Web Sources Guide

53 Wikipedia? Good enough? Good enough for scholarly work? Good for “presearch”? A more egalitarian way of sharing and presenting information? Embodies/enacts collaboration, cooperation, decentralization... Accountability? Credibility? Subject-knowledge and expertise? Do Wikipedia articles improve or decline over time? Two views…

54 “Among my friends and acquaintances, everybody distrusts Wikipedia and everybody uses it…. Wikipedia is the ultimate open source repository of information. Everyone is free to read it and everyone is free to write it…. The information that it contains is totally unreliable and surprisingly accurate. It is often unreliable because many of the authors are ignorant or careless. It is often accurate because the articles are edited and corrected by readers who are better informed than the authors.” Dyson, Freeman. “How We Know.” NYRB 10 Mar Web. 24 Feb

55 Do Wikipedia articles improve or decline over time? “Over the long term, the quality of a given Wikipedia article will do a random walk around the highest level of quality permitted by the most persistent and aggressive people who follow an article.” Sanger, Lawrence. “The Fate of Expertise After Wikipedia.” Episteme 6 (2009): (Sanger is co-founder of Wikipedia and founder of Citizendium)Wikipedia Citizendium

56 Searching the Web Web search engines work differently from library catalogues and databases For example: Google ranks search results using a proprietary algorithm that factors in things such as popularity of a site, your location, sites you have previously visited Type "restaurants" in Google and the search results direct you to the Marshlands, Vinh's Wok, and other Sackville eateries. Google knows where you are.

57 Ranking search results by popularity: implications? Newer, lesser known, more obscure works (but works that may be very relevant to you!) may not be as easy to find as works that are already well known The already popular (or mainstream) stays popular; the marginal stays on the margins

58 Personalized search results based on your previous searches and web activity: implications? Good for shopping and targeted advertising, perhaps, but not necessarily good for learning: some scholars suggest that personalized search results can lead to information bubbles, where only sites you are likely to agree with (or like) are presented to you. This means you are less likely to be presented with new ideas or ideas that might challenge you to reconsider your current views or opinions.

59 Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) __________ The examples that follow in the next two slides are from the Boolean Searching on the Internet Guide, (a OR b) AND (c OR d) finds: ac, ad, abc, bd, etc. ≠ (a AND b) OR (c AND d) finds only: ab OR cd

60 OR: College or University

61 AND: Poverty and Crime

62 Example music AND (pop OR rock) AND (encyclopedia OR history) Every item found will have: “music” either/both “pop” or “rock” either/both “encyclopedia” or “history” Finds titles such as: Canuck Rock : a History of Canadian Popular Music Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock, Pop & folk Music


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