At the Library

If you aren't familiar with your library's resources, call in advance, explain your purpose, and ask for a tour. Even if you know the library pretty well, go to the Reference Room and introduce yourself. Describe your project and ask if they have resources you might not be aware of. Ask experts you've interviewed (including professors) where they get their information and follow the trail.

When you find a good source, check it out or photocopy it. If you photocopy it, be sure to copy the publication information (date, volume number, etc.) so you can document the source later. (See Documenting Your Sources.) If the book or article you've found contains a Bibliography or Works Cited, use it. Find and read the works listed there. Stay on the information trail.

Activity

8.4 Use the library to locate as much information as possible on one of the following topics, or use a subject you're currently interested in writing about. When you're finished, write up a short report telling how the experience went: what you wanted to learn, what difficulties you experienced, what you did learn, and how the information might be useful. Possible subjects: nuclear submarines, Charles Mingus, the great vowel shift, passenger pigeons, biodiesel fuel, Florence Nightingale.