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Roots of Contemporary Issues (Hist 105/305) Research

This page provides links to short videos demonstrating databases required for the Roots of Contemporary Issues research assignment

Access Policies

"The right or opportunity to use a resource that may not be openly and freely available to everyone."

"In computing, the privilege of using a computer system or online resource, usually controlled by the issuance of access codes to authorized users. In a more general sense, the ability of a user to reach data stored on a computer or computer system."

(from ODLIS' definition of access, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


"A brief note, usually no longer than two or three sentences, added after a citation in a bibliography to describe or explain the content or message of the work cited or to comment on it."

(from ODLIS' definition of annotation, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


"A collection of extracts or complete works by various authors, selected by an editor for publication in a single volume or multivolume set. Anthologies are often limited to a specific literary form or genre (short stories, poetry, plays) or to a national literature, theme, time period, or category of author."

(from ODLIS' definition of anthology, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


"A self-contained nonfiction prose composition on a fairly narrow topic or subject, written by one or more authors and published under a separate title in a collection or periodical containing other works of the same form. The length of a periodical article is often a clue to the type of publication--magazine articles are generally less than five pages long; scholarly journal articles, longer than five pages. Also, journal articles often include a brief abstract of the content."

(from ODLIS' definition of article, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Bibliographical References

"In the context of scholarly publication, a list of references to sources cited in the text of an article or book, or suggested by the author for further reading, usually appearing at the end of the work. Style manuals describing citation format for the various disciplines (APA, MLA, etc.) are available in the reference section of most academic libraries and online via the World Wide Web."

(from ODLIS' definition of bibliography, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


A system of logic developed by the English mathematician George Boole (1815-64) that allows the user to combine words or phrases representing significant concepts when searching an online catalog or bibliographic database by keywords. Three logical commands (sometimes called "operators") are available in most search software:


The OR command is used to expand retrieval by including synonyms and related terms in the query. 
Search statement: violence or conflict or aggression
The AND command is used to narrow search results. Each time another concept is added using "and," the search becomes more specific. In some online catalogs and databases, the "and" command is implicit (no need to type it between terms). In other interfaces, keywords will be searched as a phrase if not separated by "and."


Search statement: violence and television and children
The NOT command is used to exclude unwanted records from search results.
Search statement: television not news
When two different Boolean commands are used in the same search statement, parentheses must be included to indicate the sequence in which they are to be executed (syntax). This technique is called nesting.


Search statement: television and (violence or aggression) and children
(from ODLIS' definition of Boolean, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Call Number

"A unique code printed on a label affixed to the outside of an item in a library collection, usually to the lower spine of a book or videocassette (see these examples), also printed or handwritten on a label inside the item. Assigned by the cataloger, the call number is also displayed in the bibliographic record that represents the item in the library catalog, to identify the specific copy of the work and give its relative location on the shelf.

In most collections, a call number is composed of a classification number followed by additional notation to make the call number unique. This gives a classified arrangement to the library shelves that facilitates browsing."

(from ODLIS' definition of call number, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Check Holdings

"The total stock of materials, print and nonprint, owned by a library or library system, usually listed in its catalog. Synonymous in this sense with library collection."

(from ODLIS' definition of holdings, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


"A brief note at the bottom of a page explaining or expanding upon a point in the text or indicating the source of a quotation or idea attributed by the author to another person. Footnotes are indicated in the text by an Arabic numeral in superscript, or a reference mark, and are usually printed in a smaller size of the font used for the text."

(from ODLIS' definition of footnote, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Full Text

"An electronic resource that provides the entire text of a single work (example: Britannica Online) or of articles published in one or more journals, magazines, and/or newspapers. For example, a bibliographic database that provides the complete text of a significant proportion of the works indexed, in addition to the bibliographic citation and (in many cases) an abstract of the content (example: JSTOR). Also spelled full text and fulltext."

(from ODLIS' definition of full-text, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Historical Monograph

"A relatively short book or treatise on a single subject, complete in one physical piece, usually written by a specialist in the field. Monographic treatment is detailed and scholarly but not extensive in scope. The importance of monographs in scholarly communication depends on the discipline. In the humanities, monographs remain the format of choice for serious scholars, but in the sciences and social sciences where currency is essential, journals are usually the preferred means of publication. "

(from ODLIS' definition of monograph, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


"Also refers to an open-end finding guide to the literature of an academic field or discipline (example: Philosopher's Index), to works of a specific literary form (Biography Index) or published in a specific format (Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature), or to the analyzed contents of a serial publication (New York Times Index). Indexes of this kind are usually issued in monthly or quarterly paperback supplements, cumulated annually. Citations are usually listed by author and subject in separate sections, or in a single alphabetical sequence under a system of authorized headings collectively known as controlled vocabulary, developed over time by the indexing service."

(from ODLIS' definition of index, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Modifiers (Search)

Also called "commands" or "operators." See Boolean.

(referenced ODLIS' definition of Boolean, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Primary Source

"In scholarship, a document or record containing firsthand information or original data on a topic, used in preparing a derivative work. Primary sources include original manuscripts, periodical articles reporting original research or thought, diaries, memoirs, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, posters, film footage, sheet music, songs, interviews, government documents, public records, eyewitness accounts, newspaper clippings, etc."

(from ODLIS' definition of primary source, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)


Also known as "limiting" as in a search.

"A feature of well-designed online catalog or bibliographic database software that allows the user to employ various parameters to restrict the retrieval of entries containing the terms included in the search statement. Limits may be set before a search is executed, after results are displayed, or both, depending on the design of the system. Limiters are not standardized but typically include: publication date, material type, language, full-text, peer-reviewed (journal articles), and locally held."

(from ODLIS' definition of limiting, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Subject Headings

"The most specific word or phrase that describes the subject, or one of the subjects, of a work, selected from a list of preferred terms (controlled vocabulary) and assigned as an added entry in the bibliographic record to serve as an access point in the library catalog. A subject heading may be subdivided by the addition of subheadings (example: Libraries--History--20th century) or include a parenthetical qualifier for semantic clarification, as in Mice (Computers)."

(from ODLIS' definition for subject heading, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Thesis Statement

"A sentence or brief paragraph at the beginning of an academic thesis or research paper, giving the central idea or issue explored in the subsequent text."

(from ODLIS' definition of thesis statement, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

Volume/ Edited Volume

"In the bibliographic sense, a major division of a work, distinguished from other major divisions of the same work by having its own chief source of information and, in most cases, independent pagination, foliation, or signatures, even when not bound under separate cover and regardless of the publisher's designation. In a set, the individual volumes are usually numbered, with any indexes at the end of the last volume. For a periodical, all the issues published during a given publishing period (usually a calendar year), bound or unbound. The volume number is usually printed on the front cover of each issue and on the same page as the table of contents. In bound periodicals, it is impressed on the spine. Abbreviated v. or vol."

(from ODLIS' definition of volume, see ODLIS link at bottom of page)

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