Internet Resource Guide

Overview

It’s very important to become familiar with the online communication resources specific to your field of study, including research tools, professional societies, and other Internet sites that members of your field find useful.

Assignment

In this assignment, you will identify and describe key Internet resources in your field for an audience of other people in your field. You’ll need to make decisions about organization, format, and style as a means of creating a usable document for readers. In addition, you’ll need to write effective abstracts.

Information to include in each entry:

For each resource that you identify, provide identifying information (title, URL, etc.). Also describe the resource in an abstract so that readers will understand its general function and its specific scope. (For example, your paragraph on the index should tell both the purpose of the index and the range and dates of periodicals covered.)

In writing abstracts, assume readers will ask the following questions:

  • What is this?
  • What is in it (content, scope)?
  • How is the information relevant and useful for someone in my field?
  • Are there any particular tips for using the resource efficiently?

Process

  • Identify at least one index to the periodical literature in your major field (remember, this should be an electronic index). You can access such indexes through the E-Resources section of the library website.
    • libraries.psu.edu
    • under “Research,” click “Subject Specialists”
    • find your department
    • click “Subject Library”
    • find your sub-specialty
    • identify and examine a resource from the “Articles and Databases” section
  • Identify one professional journal in your field that is available online and cite its specific strengths and uses.
  • Use the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (http://catalog.gpo.gov/F) to locate a report published by a government agency that relates to your field. Describe the Catalog and its use. Locate the report, provide the bibliographic data, and use it as an example of what the catalog can identify. Include a 1-2 sentence description of the report.
  • Identify two Internet sites that are relevant to your field. Choose from the following categories of information (or propose other relevant categories of information):
    • Directory of information sources/portals
    • Sample reports/documents/research studies
    • Government documents
    • Patents and intellectual property
    • Potential employers and job search services
    • News services
    • Discussion groups, chat rooms
    • Information on professional associations
    • Specialized dictionary
    • Biographical reference
    • Subject guide to the literature
    • Encyclopedia
    • Handbook
    • Bibliography

Format

Provide information about your guide and its use in an introduction. (In technical communication, an introduction is often called front matter.) Consider introducing each section of the guide if readers will not understand why and how to use a type of resource. Be sure to cover these areas in your front matter (you can use them as headings if you want):

  • Cover/Title Page
  • Front Matter
    • Table of Contents (to at least two levels)
    • What’s in the Guide (contents/scope)
    • Who the Guide is for (audience/purpose)
    • What the Guide assumes users know
    • How the Guide is organized for use
    • Tips for using the Guide

Evaluation

Your guide will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Content: The guide is complete (includes all the information requested), and the sources identified are current and significant.
  • Format and Organization: Readers will be able to find the information they need. Related materials are grouped. The guide is usable.
  • Style: Abstracts give specific information in effective sentences.
  • Audience: The guide offers explanatory material or instructions where necessary to help the designated audience conduct research through the Internet.
  • Mechanics: Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct

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