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.
- MLA handbook for writers of research papers (print version)
- MLA Style - Quick Guide by Eric Garcia
- Sample MLA-Style Annotated Bibliography (PDF) by Dr. Karin Durán
- MLA Style Guide (PDF) by Eric Garcia
- MLA - Frequently Asked Questions
- EasyBib MLA style bibliography composer
- Citing Archival Materials in MLA
- 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 can be even more challenging to evaluate because dates and authors are not always readily available. Plus, we all know that anyone can create a website. Using the CRAAP test will help you thoroughly evaluate your source, but the following are some important things to consider when reviewing internet sources.
Who Created the Information?
Websites do not always have authors so you'll need to find information on who or what organization is responsible for creating and updating the webpage. The following are links to look for on webpages that should provide more information on who is behind the website.
- "About Us": usually provides information about the organization or company that is responsible for the webpage.
- "Mission Statement": this will provide information on what the organizations values or goals are.
- "Contributors": provides information on who contributes content to the website, sometimes they'll even list the qualifications of their contributors. This section may also provide information on who funds either the website or the organization. *Beware of websites like Wikipedia where anyone can create an account and edit webpages.
Finding the date a website was created or last updated can be difficult sometimes. If you can't find a date on a particular webpage, click around and look at the other resources on their website, can you find a date anywhere? Are there links to other sources that are out of date or dead links?
URL Domain Extensions
The following is a list of the most popular domain extensions, which can be used to help determine authority and objectivity. However, domain extensions alone cannot determine if a web source is quality or if it's right for your research.
.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. *Look out for student work or papers that haven't been published in an authoritative source.
.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. *For more information about the organization check out Idealist.org.
.net - Network, usually personal Web pages. The intent of the site is as varied as the individual(s) responsible for the content. *Usually not scholarly in nature, so if it is a personal page then make sure you research who that person is and what their qualifications are.
A more complete list of top-level domains is also available.
When to be skeptical?
- There is no author or organization associated with the website.
- There are a lot of advertisements and pop-ups. Just because a website looks professional does not mean that it's authoritative.
- Websites that ask you to take some sort of action: donate money, sign a petition, give your email, etc.
- A website that only cites itself, providing links that only lead you to other resources within 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.