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Stony Brook University

The History and Future of the American Press


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Reference Librarian
Central Reading Room

Frank Melville Jr., Memorial Library C-1600


Library Lingo

What did she say? Decoding some library lingo...

Indexes only provide citations for articles. You can search the indexes by keyword, title, author, source, etc. but you will always need to look elsewhere for the actual text of the article.

Abstracts are really called Indexes and Abstracts because they both index the literature and provide a brief summary of the article; i.e., an abstract. As with the Indexes, you will need to look elsewhere for the text of the article.

Full Text databases provide the indexing, and sometimes also the abstracting, but are especially useful because the contain the full text of the articles. Some databases, like LexisNexis, have only the text where others like Factiva contain images of the articles.

Related Guides

Research Tips for 108

Links on this site may require that you log in with your Stony Brook NetID.

For this class you will need to use a wide variety of resources, both online and in physical format (print, video, etc.). You will also need to consult indexing and other resources in subject areas beyond  journalism, newspapers, or communication to find articles in those particular areas. If, for example, you are looking for information about Citizen Kane, you will want to check the theatre/film, history, and sociology resources as well as the library catalog for books, articles, reviews, and other materials.

Check out this tutorial that illustrates the Flow of Information to get an idea of how information develops over time (Five Colleges of Ohio research Tutorial).

SOJ News

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How To Use This Guide

Use the tabs on the side to find resources by type or for a specific course. The individual course guides have been tailored for the specific needs of the course. If you need help or have a comment you can contact me -- my information is on the left sidebar.

Where to Get Ideas

When selecting the  journalist you want to research, think about the areas of journalism you are most interested in and pick someone who does that type of work. That will allow you to have more energy and interest for the project, and make it easier for you to research and write the assignment.

Are you interested in reporting, broadcast news, investigative, literary or sports journalism? Are you interested in minority journalists? Are you interested in historical or contemporary figures? 

Think Creatively About The Assignment

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources refer to documents or other items that provide first-hand, eyewitness accounts of events.
A newspaper article written at the time an event took place (Pearl Harbor, for example) is a primary source. Or a memoir and recollections by someone who was involved in an event, such as an interview with a woman who took part in the Civil Rights Movement.

Some examples of primary source materials are:

  • Printed texts, including books, newspapers, diaries, pamphlets, magazines, and journals
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Paintings
  • Artifacts
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Dissertations
  • Government documents

Primary sources are different from secondary sources, which are written later and usually comment on or analyze historic events or original documents.

Current News - Free Fulltext

The University Libraries maintain online subscriptions to a number of newspapers. The databases below provide access to the most popular titles, such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsday, and the Washington Post. If you are having trouble finding a specific title, use the IM widget to ask a librarian if we subscribe to that newspaper.

LexisNexis Academic: Finding an Obituary