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LRC103 Internet Research Strategies: Week 3

A course guide of the library's one credit course offered in fall 2014

Week 3

Week 3: Information Cycle and Evaluation (2)

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the differences between primary and secondary sources
  • Learn the trend in the current print and epublishing industry and speculate the future of printing




1. Week 2 homework review – 5 min 

2. Learning outcome (1): epublishing – 25 min

  • Brainstorm three things that the libraries of the future will have that current libraries do not. What are three things in current libraries that won’t make it to the libraries of the future?
  • The history and development of ebooks and ask students: Are all books eventually going to be replaced by ebooks? If not, what will the market look like?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of ebooks and print books.
  • Electronic technologies’ impact on all print applications books, journals, reports…)
  • Guide students to use library ebooks.

3. primary vs. secondary – 10 min

  • Primary: An original source, such as a speech, a diary, a novel, a legislative bill, a laboratory study, a field research report, or an eyewitness account. While not necessarily more reliable than a secondary source, a primary source has the advantage of being closely related to the information it conveys and as such is often considered essential for research, particularly in history. In the sciences, reports of new research written by the scientists who conducted it are considered primary sources.
  • Secondary: A source that comments on, analyzes, or otherwise relies on primary sources. An article in a newspaper that reports on a scientific discovery or a book that analyzes a writer's work is a secondary source.

Research and Documentation Online 5th Edition

-How do you differentiate primary and secondary online?

-What type of sources do you need to make sound decisions about opening a new credit card?

-Looking at the information cycle below, where do you see primary sources? Secondary sources? Both?


4. Homework overview - 10 min



Find one primary source and one secondary source addressing the same topic. (50 points)

You'll be looking through some online repositories of primary and secondary sources--and sometimes their surrogates. Not sure what that means? Then now would be an excellent time to revisit the primary/secondary lecture! Here's what you'll be doing--please be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

For each source:
1. Describe the source (15 points):
URL (web address, if available)

  • Format (is it a photograph, a diary entry, a book, a magazine or newspaper article, etc?)
  • Background information: Who created this and why? What is the context of the source or what is it about?

2. Based on the primary & secondary sources lecture, explain why you think each resource is primary or secondary. (20 points)

3. Identify which source tools you used to find your sources and describe in detail how you located each one (including any search terms or the path you followed to get there). (15 points)

Post your work in Blackboard by Sunday, 10/5, 11:59 PM

Suggested sites for finding primary sources:

Suggested sites for finding Secondary Sources:

Tips for evaluating and identifying primary and secondary sources: Questions to ask

  • How does the author/creator of this source know these details (names, dates, times)? Was the author/creator present at the event or soon on the scene?
  • Where does this information come from—personal experience, eyewitness accounts, or reports written by others?
  • Based on the information available (book record, article abstract, reviews, etc) can you tell if the author's conclusions are based on a single piece of evidence, or perhaps many sources been taken into account (e.g., diary entries, along with third-party eyewitness accounts, impressions of contemporaries, newspaper accounts)?
  • How distant is the researcher from the event or action? Days? Years? Decades?
  • What academic disciplines (English, History, Business, Chemistry, etc.) are most likely to create or use this source?

The assignment is adapted from 

Library Media Resources Center
LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue, room E101
Long Island City, NY 11101
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