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Types of Library Materials

This guide will help you distinguish between different types of library materials, including reference sources, books, and eBooks, trade publications, and scholarly journal articles

Source Overview

Information comes to us from many different sources, and finding highly-quality information sources that are suitable for college may require that you add some new skills to your everyday information approaches and resources. On this page you will find some examples of references sources, books, and various types of articles. The other pages on this guide will go into more detail and provide links to help you use these sources in your own research and writing.

Continue reading below and then on to the pages of this guide to learn more about 

Reference Works (e.g. encyclopedias)

Background sources/Reference works: 
 The best resource to find a concise overview or summary of a topic, written by a topic specialist. This could be a handbook or guide. Subject-specific encyclopedias are a great example, and these resources often lists additional references.  The OC  libraries offer both print and electronic reference works.

Example of a reference source cited in APA:   

Boeing company. (2015). In T. Riggs (Ed.), The Gale encyclopedia of U.S. economic history (2nd ed.). Gale. 

Subject-specific encyclopedias from highly reliable publishers like Gale can help you learn the background of a topic, locate useful keywords and subject terms, and connect you to additional resources.


Books & eBooks:
Books and eBooks offer more depth of focus than reference sources. Some books are scholarly while others are written for a popular audience. 

Example of a print book cited in MLA:

 Robison, Peter. Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing. Doubleday, 2021.

This book was written by an award-winning investigative journalist and was published by Doubleday Publishing. It is a popular source of information which is authoritative and highly credible, but not scholarly. 

Articles from Periodicals

Articles from 1. Newspapers and magazines, 2. Trade publications, and 3. Scholarly journals: 
The libraries offer access to both print and electronic articles. There are different kinds of periodicals, as explained below.


   Example of a newspaper article cited in MLA:

Tangel, Andrew. "Business News: Boeing Nears New Dreamliner Deliveries." Wall Street Journal, Jul 18, 2022.

This short article is written by a journalist and published in a newspaper with a code of ethics, fact checkers, an editorial staff, and a history of publishing retractions when errors are published. News and magazine articles are intended to be read by the general public. Scholars or researchers may be quoted or mentioned and you can locate their scholarly work as a next step.


 Example of a trade publication article cited in APA:

Allegiant Air orders as many as 100 Boeing 737 MAX passenger jets. (2022). Military & Aerospace Electronics, 33(2), 9.

Trade publications are generally written by people in a specific industry and the articles undergo an editorial process. This article was intended for people in the aerospace industry. They are often very timely and can be useful for students. Scholars or researchers are sometimes quoted or mentioned and you can locate their scholarly work as a next step.

    Example of a scholarly article cited in MLA:

Cioroianu, Iulia, et al. “Guilt through Association: Reputational Contagion and the Boeing 737-MAX Disasters.” Economics Letters, vol. 198, 2021, p. 1–, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2020.109657.

This article was written by the principle investigator of a research study, a computational scientist who holds a doctorate and has considerable expertise in this subject. It was peer-reviewed and approved by an editor before being published. The language is complex and it is densely written because it is intended for an audience of experts. Due to the review process peer-reviewed articles should be highly reliable information, written by subject matter experts.