What're You Looking At?
When you're researching, knowing that you're looking at a record or citation for a book, a journal article, or a book chapter, etc. will help you:
- decide if the source will be useful for your assignment
- get the item more quickly
- follow the citation style that your professor requires
Say you were searching a database and found this:
Title: Sex and the Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer for the Buffy Fan
Author(s): Jowett, Lorna
Source: Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP; 2005. (ix, 241 pp.)
ISBN: 9780819567581 (pbk.); 9780819567574 (hbk.)
Big hints that this is a record for a book:
- It includes a location and name of the publisher in the Source field
- It has 241 pages.
- The "B" in "ISBN" stands for "book"
Knowing that it is a book:
- You know that it will be an in-depth treatment of the subject. It will be good for understanding the broad scope of the subject and particular aspects of it.
- You can use the library's catalog, FRANCIS, to search by the title or the author's name to find it in the library.
- You will consult the book format for citing it in your paper.
Now, let's say you found something like this:
Title: Frustrating Female Heroism: Mixed Messages in Xena, Nikita, and Buffy
Author(s): Magoulick, Mary
Source: Journal of Popular Culture 2006 Oct; 39 (5): 729-55.
Big hints that this is a record for a journal article
- This item has two titles--there is a journal title (Journal of Popular Culture) in the Source field and an article title in the Title field (Frustrating Female Heroism...)
- It has a volume number (39)
- It has an issue number (5)
- It lists a month (Oct) (some journal articles have a season instead of a month)
- It's 27 pages long
- ISSN means International Standard Serial Number; a serial is a publication that is published frequently like a journal, magazine, or newspaper.
Knowing that it is a journal article:
- You know that it will be short treatment of the subject. It may focus on a very specific aspect of the subject instead of a more general overview of the subject.
- To find it, you can use the Find Text button in the database (if available), or search the library catalog, FRANCIS, by the journal title. You cannot find article titles or article authors in the library catalog.
- You will consult the journal format for citing it in your paper.
Finally, what would you have if you found something like this?
Title: Of Creatures and Creators: Buffy Does Frankenstein
Author(s): Rose, Anita
Source: pp. 133-42 IN: Wilcox, Rhonda V. (ed.); Lavery, David (ed. and afterword); Bacon-Smith, Camille (foreword); Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield; 2002. (xxix, 290 pp.)
ISBN: 9780742516816 (pbk.); 9780742516809 (hbk.)
Big hints that this is a record for a book chapter
- This item has two titles-- there is title in the Title field (Of Creatures and Creators: Buffy Does Frankenstein) and a title in the Source field (Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) Having two titles makes it look like a journal, but the other aspects point out that it is from a book.
- The word "IN" in the Source field indicates that it is a smaller work in something larger.
- It has a publication place, publisher name, and indicates how long the book is, but pp. 133-42 tells you that this record is only for a piece of the book.
- It has editors listed in the Source field.
- It has an ISBN again pointing out that it is a book, not a journal which would have an ISSN.
Knowing that it is a chapter in a book:
- You know that it will be short treatment of the subject. It may focus on a very specific aspect of the subject instead of a more general overview of the subject. However, there may be an introduction to the collection that provides the overview and other chapters that focus on other aspects of the subject.
- To find it, you can use the Find Text button in the database (if available), or search the library catalog, FRANCIS, by the book title. Book chapter titles and authors generally are not searchable in the library catalog, unless there is a table of contents in the record.
- You will consult the book chapter format for citing it in your paper.