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USD Information Literacy Lessons: Page 10

The broad focus of these lessons is understanding sources of information, including examples that can help you learn how to access information sources at USD. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific element of information competency.

Finding Periodical Literature

Periodicals are publications that appear in parts, over time. They include academic or scholarly journals, trade journals, magazines, and newspapers. Periodical literature is published more quickly and more frequently than books, so it is generally more up-to-date than book literature. Use periodical literature to update the information you find in books. Do your book research before your periodical research so that you have sufficient background knowledge of your topic to understand the more specialized information and terminology you will find in periodicals.

To find periodical literature on your research topic, consult an online research database, which is available from the I. D. Weeks Library's homepage under the link "Databases" ( The University Libraries currently provide over 240 databases for research purposes. (The Database Lesson covers using the research databases.)

The Research Gateway page allows you to filter the databases by subject or discipline ("Business," "Education," "English," "Physics," etc.). If you know the name of the database you need to access (this happens as you do more research, especially in your major), you can click on the "Full alphabetical list," then on the first letter of the database name. Find your database on the page that comes up. Some of the most commonly used databases have permanent links located on the upper right corner of the Research Gateway home page.
Another way to find periodical literature is to consult print indexes or bibliographies, which are located either in the Reference Area (University Libraries, first floor) or in the main collection on the third floor. For some fields like Communication Studies (Speech Communication), an effective means of finding high quality periodical literature is an index or bibliography.


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