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COMP 101 - Judith Funston: COMP 101 Funston

Carol Franck


phone: 267-3310  .

Remote Help on Library Projects


Here is some help on completing some of the library projects remaining.  I'll tidy and tailor suggestions more specifically once I see the current assignment:

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature is a paper resource located in the Index collection (2nd floor, second row of shelves on the left under the low ceiling) at call number Ref. AI3 .R48.  Each volume covers a limited time period - generally one year - and lists alphabetically by topic the articles that appeared in certain popular periodicals during that time.

How it is used:

  1. Locate the appropriate volume(s) (Index collection, call number Ref. AI3 .R48)  for the time period of interest, e.g. the volume for 1952.
  2. Find the closest subject listing for your interest. 
    • Note that large topics have subsections for subtopics.  If your guess as to the topic label is correct, great.
    • If your first guess is not correct, you might find listed "See......" with a suggested alternate term.
    • If no close topic is listed for the term you chose to look up first, think of synonyms or broader terms that might be listed.
  3. Once you are at the correct topic area, you will see a number of citations in abbreviated form.  That look like this:



  4. You MUST DECODE THE ABBREVIATIONS to figure out which magazine the article comes from!!!  The PDF document shows what some of the abbreviations mean- it is a copy of the page at the beginning of the volume.  The full list of all the magazine title abbreviations is several pages long and can be found at the beginning of each volume. The critical piece for the next step is to determine which periodical the article was published in.
  5. Once you have the FULL AND COMPLETE NAME of the PERIODICAL, then you will go to our Search for Journals by Title tool to see how you can get access to the article.  Pay attention to the dates available in each database or format.

Finding an ad from a popular magazine in the 1950’s:

  1. Go to the Internet Archive and search for a particular magazine title and year (example “Life Magazine 1950”  or else “popular mechanics 1952”). 



  2. This will not get you a tidy, perfect list of results, but as you scroll through the options, you should see some possibilities for advertisements from the early 1950’s.  



  3. Select a likely candidate and use the paging feature to flip through the magazine.



  4. Use a screen capture tool to grab an advertisement.


Finding an Article from a popular magazine from the 1950's and also from more recently

The one popular magazine that we have in one of our databases from the 1950s is Time Magazine.  To get to it, do the following:

  1. Go to the library home page and select the Academic Search Complete database from the dropdown list



  2. In the first search box, type JN "TIME Magazine" and in the second search box, type your topic search words (such as McCarthy or else McCarthyism or else Communism or else Hollywood blacklist...)



  3. Once you have a set of results, look for the limiters to set the date range you're interested in (often on the left, but might be in a menu on a phone).  For the older material, limit to the early 1950's.



  4. For more recent material, you could choose to clear the top box and look for more than just TIME magazine, but if you do this, be sure to limit on the left to the format "magazine".  Remember to reset the date limiters to a more recent date range.



Library Session #2

Third Library Project: Using the American National Biography (ANB) set at call number: Ref. CT213 .A68 1999 for known (but deceased prior to 1996) authors.  Also comparing and evaluating website(s) on same.

Forthcoming assignment: Paper #2 and Library Project #4: a rhetorical analysis of a recent piece and its author from a recent issue of the New Yorker.  The assignment involves considering 1) the author, 2) the publication (that is, The New Yorker magazine), and 3) the writing.

Finding Biographical Information on a living author:

  1. Using our subscription services focused on literary figures, such as Literature Resource Center.
  2. Use our general reference biographical sources such as Current Biography (in paper at call number Ref. CT100 .C8).
  3. Follow-up on the suggested reading lists and/or reference lists from the previous two types of sources
  4. See if the publishing houses that produce that author's works have biographies of their authors on the web.
  5. Judicious and carefully evaluated free web searching

Finding information on a periodical:

  1. Look for the website of the publisher (not always the same as the name of the publication)
  2. Look for articles on the periodical/publisher by using our subscription services, such as MLA Bibliography or the Literature Resource Center for Literary publications or, if it is a popular magazine, use a general search database such as Academic Search Complete.
  3. Some larger publishers and more notorious publications have books written about them; use BearCat or WorldCat.
  4. Judicious and carfully evaluated free web searching

Finding information on a particular work (such as a book, article, or poem):

  1. Use our subscription services for literary criticism such as MLA Bibliography or the Literature Resource Center
  2. For popular works, also consult a for general search database such as Academic Search Complete for book reviews
  3. If current, look at the publisher's webpage or amazon to direct you to other formal review sources (note that these two generally only include positive reviews)
  4. NOTE:  The article you are reviewing for this assignment was only published itself within the last month.  THERE IS NOTHING IN THESE FORMAL SOURCES FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENT - you must do the analysis yourself.  But you might find material on other things this author has written that could help inform your analysis.


Library Session #1

Second Library Project: "Consult at least 4 sources on how to write a sound argument"

Start by reviewing the "Research Process" in the box immediately below.

1.  Two sources can be from the [free] internet

Remember that you want to get GOOD results, not just any results.  Always expect that your teacher may ask you to explain and justify WHY you picked that resource.  So be sure to try a variety of different searches in your favorite search tool (Google, Duck Duck Go,...) and see how your results change.  Try comparing the results in more than one search tool; why might you get different results in different search tools for the same search terms?  What does that say about the search tool?  How did you decide which pages to use?  Learn about techniques for evaluating Google searches and evaluating web sites.  Searches you might try:

  • argument
  • argument and writing
  • argument and composition
  • argument and english
  • argument and logic
  • argument and writing center
  • argument and writing center

2.  You already posses one source - use it!

2a.  By implication of #1 and #2, you will have to find at least one other "edited" source either on our shelves in the library or through one of our library databases

BearCat and Academic Search Complete:

  • Review "Searching Techniques in Bibliographic Databases" (bottom of the page)
  • In class you will be shown example searches which will give you good words to search with

3.  Make a list of the common points your sources give for writing sound arguments

4.  Compose three guidelines for revising paper 1 based on the research you've done on writing arguments

5.  List all sources consulted using MLA format

Help with citing sources can be found at the library page on Citing Sources.

6.  Finally, discuss in detail the differences between the topic of an essay and the thesis of an essay

It can be helpful to actually go out and compare some definitions.  Our best resources for this are in paper (such as The literacy dictionary : the vocabulary of reading and writing in the Reference section at call number Ref LB1049.98 .L58 1995.)  If you choose to do a free web search to help you with this, your best bet is to look for pages from college writing centers.  Be sure to cite any outside resources you use in MLA style

Research Process

1.  Topic Analysis

  • development of a research question which matches the scope of the project (may include background research)
  • consideration of information needed relative to the scope of the project (minimum expectations may be set by the professor)
  • brainstorming of initial vocabulary for searching including synonyms, related terms and variant terms

2.  Resource Types/Selection of an appropriate search tool

  • consideration of what types of information are needed and what format they might take.
  • determination of which search tool will locate the desired information


  • Web pages - Use Google or another web search tool
  • Videos - Use Youtube, Netflix, etc.
  • Books - use a library catalog such as BearCat or WorldCat
  • Articles from periodicals (see our Online Resources page for tools locating articles and newspapers)
    • Newspaper - use a newspaper search tool such as Newspaper Source Plus
    • Magazine - use a general article search tool, such as Academic Search Complete
    • Scholarly Journal - use the search tool listed on the appropriate Subject Articles page

3.  Searching a database

  • Understanding of Databases/Records/Fields/Data
  • Understanding of how the search terms you enter are manipulated to match the data and generate results
  • Skill set of search techniqes such as Boolean operaters and connectors (AND/OR/NOT), adjacency operators (W/#), phrase searching (" "), wildcard/truncation characters (*)
  • Understanding of how the results lists are presented (by relevancy, date, alphabetical...)
  • Ability to manipulate the results list (limiting by date, language, journal source, etc)

4.  Evaluating Results.  Here's an example of a guide to evaluation of information resources:

5.  Physically/Electronically obtaining items

  • For articles, use the Find It button
  • For books or articles only available in paper, knowledge of the Library of Congress Call number system
  • For items not immediately available, understanding the Interlibrary Loan system

Searching Techniques (for "bibliographic" databases)


  1. Try a title or keyword search
  2. Some databases have a list of suggested subject words on the initial results page.  Look at them and copy the useful ones.  If there is no list, then look at a number of potentially useful records and copy down words and phrases from the “subject” or "descriptor" area of single records.  Some databases provide a thesaurus of terms which can lead to broader, related, or narrower terms you may not have thought of.
  3. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT/DESCRIPTOR using the words you learned about as a result of your first search. 
  4. Be sure to connect search terms correctly using the following techniques:
  • Boolean connectors
    • AND connects different concepts and narrows a search: Fish AND chips
    • OR, with parentheses, combines synonyms/related terms and broadens a search: Fish AND (chips OR fries)
  • Use quotation marks for phrases: Fish AND (chips OR "french fries")
  • Use the asterisk as a wildcard character to retrieve variations on a common stem: educat* retrieves educate, education, educating, educated, etc.  Very useful for capturing plurals


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