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Libraries continue to provide services in an online environment. Virtual service hours today: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Physical locations remain closed. You can return your books to the exterior book drop on the East side of the TFDL. More information on the Covid 19 page.

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


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". 

Peer Review Process

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