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Tampere University LibraryUniversity of Tampere HUMANIKA TERTIO Tampereen University Library
Information Search Process in Humanities


Scholarly information is published in various forms. Books and scholarly articles are significant elements of traditional scholarship. After the research and writing process is finished, the whole approval and publication process takes some time. Nevertheless, books and scholarly articles have gone through a rigorous approval process before they have been published; in other words, even if the publication process is slow, they are reliable sources. Scholarly journals have more up-to-date information because their publication process is much faster than that of books. The articles that have been accepted to publication in scholarly journals also represent the cutting edge of that field.

Information seekers usually retrieve articles through discipline-specific reference or full-text databases. E-journal packages often include articles from diverse disciplines. Tamcat contains references to both printed part of the e-books. E-books have often been purchased in larger batches, that is packages, and they can be accessed through the package they are attached to (e.g. Ebrary).

Reference books, such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries, are best suited for use when the information seeker has to conceptualise a general view on some topic or to get acquainted with the terminology used on a certain discipline. Reference books can be either general or topic-specific. Encyclopedias and handbooks are systematic general introductions to a certain field, and they contain concise information on basics and central research on that field. They can be essential information sources, in particular because of the basic information they contain. Dictionaries can be either monolingual, descriptive or translation dictionaries. Besides common dictionaries, different fields of knowledge have their own specialised dictionaries. In addition to printed versions, many dictionaries are found also in electronic form.

Printed reference books, dictionaries and statistical books can usually be found from the reference library, and electronic materials directly from the Nelli portal. Examples of electronic reference books, dictionaries and statistical books are MOT, and Oxford English Dictionary. Statistics are often published in electronic form, for example Statistical Yearbooks of Finland and EUROSTAT.

It is likely that someone has already studied the same topic as you; in such cases it can be very useful to search for theses that have been made of your topic. Theses can be used as models for your own research and their bibliographies often contain valuable sources for your own research. However, theses are not necessarily the most high-quality sources and it is advisable to search for other sources.

Research reports and conference presentations contain new information. These can be located, for instance, through the web pages of various organisations.

Archival sources are various kinds of source materials that are not lent out. Links to archival databases can be found, for instance, on the webpages of Finnish National Archives. In addition, many organisations have their own archival collections.  

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