Ms. Information answers your questions
Most people love Wikipedia, and librarians are no exception, nor are professors. People like it because it's easy, and most of the time they find decent information. However, we're all versed in why its not a good idea to use it in academic research (see this previous post). So, students wonder
"Is there anywhere I can go that is this easy, but where the information is credible?"
Many students, after learning about the pitfalls of Wikipedia, or similar sites or search engines find themselves at a loss. It can take the wind out of your sails when you learn that what has always worked effectively for you in the past is no longer really acceptable; that you can't trust it . I can recommend one database that works as seamlessly as Wikipedia.
Credo Reference is one of the library's newer databases, (click the highlighted Credo Reference to be taken directly there. From off campus, you'll need to enter your student ID) and one of my favorite. This source is clean, and simple, and searchable, but instead of searching web pages potentially edited by millions of people, none of whom might be experts, you're searching actual, published reference sources. (find out more about credo here).
This is a great source for clarifying information, rather than researching a topic. For example, you might be reading for class and come across a theorist, an art movement, a German president, the molecular structure of crystal, or a Native American tribe that you don't really know anything about, but you need to understand to understand the reading. When understanding these concepts is this important, you want to use a trustworthy source. Credo links easily between entries. When you're reading about one concept and another is mentioned in the same entry, there will be a highlighted link allowing you to jump around like you're used to doing online.
Another reason to access this source is for field-specific definitions. When you've started studying within a certain discipline, the definitions in a regular dictionary just don't cut it anymore; you need a field-specific dictionary. For example, a biologist doesn't want Webster's definition of DNA replication, she wants one from a biology or a science dictionary, which you can find on Credo. Similarly, a psychology student doesn't have much use for a high-school dictionary definition of 'psychopath', but he needs a psychological definition - and may even want to compare this to definitions in criminal justice dictionaries or medical dictionaries.
I encourage you to experiment with Credo, and maybe even bookmark it so that next time you're studying at your friend's house, at a coffee shop or at home you can click over as easily as you can to Wikipedia.
Wishing you luck with your research,
Do you have a question for Ms. Information? Ms. Information welcomes your questions about research, libraries, and how to find all kinds of information. Submit your question to mhaller [at] roosevelt [dot] edu
To find out how to log on to Credo click 'continue reading' below:
I've heard from some readers that they weren't able to figure out how to log on to Credo.
If you access Credo on campus, it should automatically recognize Roosevelt's license. If that's not working for any reason, or to access Credo from off campus, you can start at the library homepage. Under 'Books' click on 'Online Reference Sources', and the third choice down is Credo Reference. From off campus the system will prompt for 'user authentication' which is a student or faculty ID number (the entire number from off the card, which starts with 23311, not a 9). I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. You can email me or leave them in the comments.