COMM 2343 Introduction to Small-Group Communication

A resource guide for Small Group Communication

Choose Your Tool

Choose your tool: sometimes a simple Google search works best; sometimes you need the depth and breadth of coverage offered by the library
  Open Web / Google Search Library Content / Databases
Best for everyday questions, navigating daily life
"Is Hugo's open tonight?"

surveying the published record of scholarly inquiry
"What are the historical themes of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables?" 

Authority varies; no editorial review, no quality control a high proportion of peer-reviewed and fact-checked content
Search Technique

natural language:

"What volunteer opportunities are near me?" 

Topic keywords and synonyms with connectors:

"college students" and (volunteer* or "service learning")

Relevancy and results Often the first page is highly relevant but lack of filters makes it difficult  to focus your results.
Advertising and marketing can affect ranking.

Results can be filtered by type of document, year, subject terms, and more.
Specialized subject databases pull together content from the most important journals and books in a discipline.

Selection Bots and crawlers examine web page content and metadata of websites; not publications.
Search engines can be gamed.
Human editors choose the articles and books as part of the scholarly conversation within academic disciplines.
Depth and Breadth Picks up websites and blogs that search engine bots can crawl. Databases index articles, books, journals, newspapers, conference proceedings, and even streaming video and music;
most of this material is not available through an Internet search.
Access Websites come and go and have paywalls. The Library pays for your access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks and e-journals.

With thanks to the Yale University Libraries, University of Maryland, HASTAC, and many other library instruction programs for sharing these concepts.