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Learn the Library Session B: Read, write, cite!

Information: Commodity and Privilege

Publishing Access Intellectual Property
  • Method of disseminating ideas, scholarly or not
  • Scholarly works are published via traditional academic means (books, journals)
  • Grey literature is everything not published in a traditionally academic manner (news media, Youtube, conference proceedings, government documents)
  • Self-publishing
  • University Presses
  • Consider how you access materials.
  • Should all information be free? Why? Why not?
  • Open Access?
  • Licensed material? 
  • Privilege (Research Gate)
  • Legal and social construct 
  • Patents
  • $$$
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Creator and consumer


  • Ideas in scholarship formed through debate and discussion
  • Ideas are weighed against each other over time
  • Writing an original piece with supporting evidence does not just report or reiterate but rather enter a larger ongoing scholarly conversation with your own ideas
  • Perspectives change over time and thus crediting the ideas of others before you gives the appropriate attribution to this contribution
  • Self-citing: sometimes necessary (niche topic) sometimes biased


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Types of Sources

Books offer:

  • a comprehensive view of a topic
  • writing by credible authors
  • work that has gone through and editing and review process

Encyclopedia and other reference materials offer:

  • a quick overview of your topic
  • citations of more comprehensive work (usually, but not always - think Wikipedia!) 
  • information that may be very useful in specific fields (e.g. sciences)


Newspapers offer:

  • short, topical articles
  • easy to read (written for the general public)
  • covering topics of general interest
  • no citations or references

Databases offer:

  • access to subject-specific resources including scholarly articles; searches across many (even into the 100's) journal titles
  • options to filter/limit search criteria
  • tools for research chaining (links: subject, author, etc.)

Magazines offer:

  • shorter topical articles
  • appeal to the general public
  • glossy pictures and graphics
  • often no references

Scholarly & Peer Reviewed Journals offer:

  • research articles and studies written by experts
  • peer-reviewed: work that has been vetted by a committee of experts in the field
  • in-depth and subject specific information
  • long articles with references, abstracts, literature reviews, methodology, etc.


Trade Publications offer:

  • news and reports, forecasts, and reviews from a specific industry or profession
  • may provide highly specialized information and statistics
  • frequently used in areas like business and law

Conference proceedings are oral presentations, posters and papers on a specific topic, often related to a professional or personal interest association. Conference proceedings are often schoalrly in nature, but not always. It is common for research results to be in-progress or not yet completed. As they are not published in traditionally scholarly means, we call this type of resource "grey literature". 

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Peer Review Process

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