Narrow or Broaden Your Search (Boolean Searching)
Use AND between terms to narrow your search
Use OR and/or truncate (*, ?) words to broaden your search
example: comput* (will find computer, computers, computing, etc.)
example: wom?n (will find woman or women)
Note: check online help for the correct truncation symbol
Annotated Bibliography Samples - MLA
Below are 2 sample annotations in MLA style (7th ed., 2009).
Book citation example with brief evaluative annotation (MLA)
Fryer, Sarah Beebe. "Beneath the Mask: The Plight of Daisy Buchanan." Critical Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Ed. Scott Donaldson. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1984. 153-166. This is a feminist essay that argues that Daisy is trapped in cultural constructions of Rich Wife and Pretty Girl -- she chooses the "unsatisfactory stability" of her marriage because of those constructions. Fryer's only mention of Jordan is a foil to Daisy -- "Like Jordan, Daisy is affected" (156).
Journal article citation example with evaluative annotation (MLA)
Mandel, Jerome. "The Grotesque Rose: Medieval Romance and The Great Gatsby." Modern Fiction Studies 34(1988): 541-558. Mandel argues that Gatsby follows many of the conventions of medieval romance, and analyzes East and West Egg as competing courts, Buchanan as a prince/Lord with Daisy as unattainable queen/fair lady. Gatsby and Nick are both construed as knights; Jordan is only mentioned in passing as a sort of attendant figure on Queen Daisy. This whole analysis seems somewhat farfetched.
- ACM Digital Library (Full Text)
Use Advanced Search to restrict to recent dates of publication, to limit to journals (not conference proceedings), and to restrict to full text.
- IEEE XPlore (Full Text)
Use Advanced Search to restrict to subscribed content only (full-text), to limit to journals (not conference proceedings), and to restrict to recent dates of publication. You can also choose to search the metadata (citation and abstract) or full text.
- INSPEC (Use the button to check for full-text)
Search INSPEC only to be able to select a discipline (information technology or computers/control engineering).
Evaluating Internet Resources
Internet resources should be evaluated to determine their credibility and relevance to your topic before selecting them for a research assignment. Use the criteria below to help you evaluate these resources.
Internet address (URL) domain extensions can be used to help determine authority and objectivity. A more complete list of two- and three- letter URL extensions is also available.
.gov - Government. The intent of the site is to present official information collected by or about the workings of a government.
.edu - Educational institution. The intent of the site is to educate as well as present information collected by or about the educational institution.
.com - Commercial. The intent of the site is to sell goods or services, as well as provide information about the company.
.org - Organization, usually non-profit. The intent of the site is to present information collected by or about the organization. Sometimes, the intent of the site is to promote a particular point of view.
.net - Network, usually personal Web pages. The intent of the site is as varied as the individual(s) responsible for the content.
Who Created the Information?
What are the qualifications of the author or organization responsible for the content of the resource?
What are the author's education and/or experience?
Is it a reputable Web site? Is there an "about us" link on the Web page that provides information about the organization?
Is it a commercial, governmental, educational or personal Web site? Often the URL domain's extension (.com, .edu, etc.) gives you a clue about the site.
Look for the author's biography or information about the responsible organization within the Web page itself or use the sources below to find out more about people and organizations:
Information on People:
- Biography Index 1984 - present
- Gale Virtual Reference Library (Encyclopedia of World Biography)
Information on Organizations:
- Idealist.org - information about foundations
Content & Coverage
- Who is the audience for the Web site (scholarly or general)?
- Is the information primary or secondary in nature?
- Does it provide general background information or in-depth information on a specific topic? Which do you need?
- Does the page link to other reputable websites/organizations? Is there a bibliography or list of cited references and how extensive is it?
- Is there a date anywhere on the Web page, such as date created, last update, etc.?
- How up-to-date are citations, if any? Are the links broken?
- How current does the information need to be for your topic or assignment?
- Is it a commercial, governmental, educational, personal Web site or blog?
- Is it a community site in which any individual can make changes to such as Wikipedia?
- Can you find the same information in another source?
- Determine whether the information is fact, opinion or propaganda.
- Are there links or references to show the source of the facts or quotes?
- Does the Web site have a particular bias?
- Are opinions or propaganda easy to recognize?
- Do the words and phrases play to your emotions or bias the content?
- Are there advertisements that suggest the information might be biased toward selling a product rather than providing objective information?
- Can you determine from the Web site's address (URL) a particular bias? Often the URL domain's extension (.com, .edu, etc.) gives you a clue about the site.
Using Google Scholar
You can find items the Oviatt Library owns using Google Scholar's capabilities. To activate the capabilities for your browser:
- Select Settings in the upper right, then Library links from the left menu.
- In the search box, type "CSUN" and select Find Library.
- Check the box next to "CSU, Northridge (SFX Find It)"
- Then select Save.
Select the SFX Find It at CSUN link (to the right of the article) or the SFX: Additional Options link (located below the article description) for access to online full text, Oviatt Library holdings information, and Interlibrary Loan.