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Writing About the Arts: Best Practices

This Libguide is your place to get access to information to be most succesfull on your research paper for Karen Libby's class Writing About the Arts

Tips and Tricks

Here's a list of best practices to help you along in this process!

  1. Make your citation first! Even if you are taking notes from a book that you may not use, use resources like NoodleTools Express or OWL at Purdue to draft your citation. Write or copy/paste the at the beginning of your notes to help you stay organized.
  2. Write page numbers down in your notes! Don't be that student making up page numbers on your final paper or having to back track in the resources you used to find your pages... Putting page numbers next to each note you take will keep you honest in your use of other's ideas.
  3. Ask before you print! Not sure of margins or headers? Librarians are available to help you with your page before you print. Plus, it helps us save the trees.

If you need help at any stage of this process, come speak to a librarian!

More Than Google

Secret Strategies for Serious Searchers


Search Engine Options 

Carrot2 is an open source clustering search engine. In addition to organizing results into useful clustered categories, it offers nifty visual features. 

Yippy is also a clustering search that searches other search engines. Explode those little plus signs in the left frame to see subcategories. 

Listen Notes: podcast search engine. It's like Google, but for podcasts. You can search; episodes by people, places, or topics—(almost) all podcasts you can find on the Internet. 1.) Video transcript plays in sync with the playing video, enhancing the user experience 2.) Video Search - enhanced and advanced search capabilities, plus hit to hit navigation 3.) Video Clip and Share—instant and automatic sharing of important video clips 4.) Video Transcript Navigation, allowing viewers to jump to any spot in the video.


DuckDuckGo not only offers a clean, simple interface, it prides itself on being a zero-click results page, with all results displaying as one, often very long, scroll. It does not track your searches.

Startpage/Ixquick: this recent merger offers Google-generated and Google-style results, including an easily-accessible Advanced Search with Ixquicks’ privacy features.

Google’s significant other treasures

Google Alert: Instructions on how to create a Google alert.

Google BooksWhile not every book result is available as a preview, Google Books is an underused treasure filled with a different type of content in preview, Google eBooks, and free Google eBooks.

Google Scholaroffers a step into academic research for many users who know of its treasures. It links to many libraries’ database offerings as well as available open access articles with pdf and links to the right of a result.

Google ImagesThe reverse image search allows you to identify image sources or what an image actually is.

Google NewsThis very handy news search offers hidden features. In Settings, students and teachers can manage their news sections, pushing their interests to the front page. 


Credibility Assessment Tools

Not all sources are high quality. How can you decide if what you're reading should be included in a research paper?


Authority is constructed and contextual.


Here is a toolkit for a variety of Credibility Assessment Tools

The CRAAP Test is one source to verify your sources.

Developed by librarians and referenced in Howard Rhinegold's "Crap Detection 101

Currency: The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  •  Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper? 

Authority: The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  •  Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net 

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? 

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases? 
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