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Laptop Day: Information Literacy and Film

Names 1. 2. 3.

Directions: You can work on your own, or you can work in a group of 2-3 other people. Write your name(s) at the top of this sheet, since you'll be handing it in at the end of class.

For today's laptop day exercise, you'll investigate and evaluate scholarly sources online. All the materials below are linked online at http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/findfilm.htm .

As you look at sources, remember:

1. Begin with the most recent sources and work your way back, since recent sources will incorporate previous ones.

2. Not all web sources are created equal. How credible is the author or hosting site? What evidence of omissions or bias can you see? For example, if a site claims that Twain was an ancient alien placed on earth to make the human race laugh, what evidence does the site provide, and how credible is the author?

Please search these resources in order.

General Searches

1.First, identify the topic you wish to search (i.e., film noir, screwball comedy, the title of a film, etc.) and write it in the space below:


2. Try your search in Google, as you'd normally do anyway. How many hits did you get?

How useful were they?


3. Now try Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) and Google Books Advanced Search http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search. What did you find?


Subject-specific Searches

1. . The MLA Bibliography is the gold standard for literary studies, and it indexes film studies journals as well. What did you find when you put your search terms in there? How many references?


How could you save those to a list and mail it to yourself for future reference?


How could you incorporate those into your bibliography?


How can you get an article if it's not at WSU?



Film Resources

1. The popular site imdb.com includes brief descriptions and cast lists of films, but it is not always accurate. Look up a film that may be rare, such as London After Midnight or Greed. What information do you find there?


2. Go to the American Film Archive Catalog of Feature films http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/ and search for the same film. When was it released? Where are copies of the film available, if the film still exists?


3. How can you find out what audiences originally thought of a film? Look up your film at these sites and write down what you find:

1. Digital Media History Project: http://mediahistoryproject.org/


2. Historical New York Times: Go to http://griffin.wsu.edu and type Historical New York Times in the keyword search box.


3. Archive.org has many public domain films as well as film magazines. Is your film online there?


4. How else might you legally find your film online?

Library Resources


The WSU library has a number of resources for finding books, articles, and films.

5. Try your search term in the Griffin Catalogue (http://griffin.wsu.edu/). What resources do we have for your subject?


6. Try your search term in Summit (http://summit.worldcat.org/), where you can borrow books and DVDs for free using your WSU ID card. What did you find there?



7. The library has an English and American literature research guide available at: http://libguides.wsulibs.wsu.edu/englishandamericanlit. Try the resources from that link or at least two of the resources below. What did you find?

What looks most useful for your project?



Summary: What resources seemed the most promising for your topic, and why?