Friday, June 17, 2011

Current events: journals or newspapers & magazines?

Someone was looking the other day for information in JSTOR on President Obama's policy on current affairs in the Middle East. The problem though is that JSTOR is a collection of scholarly journal articles, and journals by their nature are analytical, reflective, looking back at the issue or topic after the fact. This thoughtful sort of analysis is why professors often prefer students to use journal articles.

However, if you want information about things happening now, for example Obama and events in Libya, the place to look is in newspapers and magazines. They come out more often, daily or weekly as opposed to monthly or even bimonthly for journals. Their focus is on contemporary events and news. Good sources for this sort of thing would include: Lexis, our biggest collection of online newspapers; Academic Search Complete (but do not check the box for scholarly lit., leave it unchecked to get the newspapers and magazines!), and reference sources like FactsOnFile, an excellent reporting service.

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