Before the Internet, before electronic catalogs and networks, how did researchers find the locations of books they needed? They relied on printed union catalogs – tools that listed the combined holdings of libraries. The largest one produced was nicknamed “Mansell” in honor of the publisher who produced the massive 754-volume The National union catalog, pre-1956 imprints ; a cumulative author list representing Library of Congress printed cards and titles reported by other American libraries. The title, however, is a misnomer; it was not a truly a “national” catalog but rather a guide to the holdings of major public and private libraries. This is not the place to have found what your town library held. But it was of immense help to scholars trying to track down copies of needed works; we can personally attest to its importance. An article detailing the history and the continued usefulness of this paper product in the electronic age can be found here.
Archive for Research Tips
Etymology: A borrowing from Latin. Etymon: Latin plagiārius. < classical Latin plagiārius person who abducts the child or slave of another, kidnapper, seducer, also a literary thief (Martial 1. 52. 9), in post-classical Latin also (adjective) concerning plagiarism (15th cent.) < plagium kidnapping (see plagium n.) + -ārius -ary
-“plagiary, adj. and n.”. OED Online. March 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/144942 (accessed March 29, 2016
Charges of plagiarism are not limited to education. Historians, journalists, politicians, and government officials have all been accused of plagiarism; even rock gods are not immune from these accusations. In some areas, plagiarism is rampant – check out this June 5, 2016 article from The Atlantic.
Avoiding Plagiarism (from the respected Purdue OWL – Open Writing Lab)
Plagiarism (from the American Historical Association. It is slightly dated, but it contains of wealth of information)
Plagiarism (selected articles from InsideHigherEd)
Plagiarism (selected articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Plagiarism (University of North Carolina – Writing Center)
Retraction Watch (among other areas of chicanery examined, plagiarism ranks high)
At the behest of Congress, the library produces legal reports on various topics; they “… provide commentary and recommended resources on issues and events. These reports are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.” The reports can be heavily footnoted and links are provided where available. The documents range from Bitcoin practices in forty countries to Japan’s constitutional prohibition against waging war. If you need to research various subjects from a legal viewpoint, you might want to stop at this site.
Did you ever want to look up a nonprofit’s financial health, how much it pays its officers, what expenses it incurs? What is the general financial health of a nonprofit? This database from ProPublica – Nonprofit Explorer – gives one access to almost 2 million filings and 8 million documents dating back to 2001. You can search by name, state, category or organizational type; the results are listed in reverse chronological order and supply some relevant data in case you do not want to download the entire filing. However, while private higher education institutions must file (and their filings can be quite voluminous – here is Yale’s 300+ page filing), state colleges/universities are exempt from filing: “State institutions: A state institution that gets a free tax ride because it provides essential government services (a university for example) doesn’t have to file a Form 990.” (ref here or if you want to, you can go through this portion of the Internal Revenue Code. Good luck with that.) So you cannot look up our sister schools, but you can look up their foundations. This database site also provides links to additional valuable resources on investigating nonprofits.
Much like the Congressional Research Service or the UK Parliament Research Briefings, the European Parliamentary Research Service provides unbiased reports, in this case to the European Parliament. The publications range from in-depth analyses and studies to briefings on a wide variety of topics. Recent reports have touched upon higher education in the EU and asylum in the EU. In addition, its graphics warehouse contains a plethora of informative graphs. Another worthwhile source for authoritative information, this time with a European-centric flavor.
Chronicling America is a site hosted by the Library of Congress where you will find over 6 million newspaper pages from 1836-1933; hundreds of titles are represented. Searching through that many pages can be a daunting experience, but the good folks at LC have come up with a handy search tool – Topics in Chronicling America. Here you will find an alphabetical listing of historical events/people found in the newspapers; each heading provides the same outline: historical timeline, suggested search strategies, and sample articles. For example, Female Spies in World War One starts out with a chronology covering 1915-1922, followed up with suggestions for more searches (gives names of female spies), and ends up with a sampling of newspaper articles covering the aforementioned time period. This is a great way to explore this wealth of primary source documents.
During the month of October, free access is available to a multiplicity of SAGE publications; i.e., 750+ journals, 1.3 million articles, hundreds of major reference works. To register, read this announcement with links at the bottom. We know what we are doing this month!