Foregrounding background resources

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In some instruction sessions I mention background resources–often in passing, as the focus is usually on scholarly articles.  Though scholarly articles are part of the information landscape, let’s give background information some long-overdue attention.

The libraries have a variety of specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias.  CredoReference is a great place to search many of them at once.  The entries provide terminology we can use in our searches.  Searching may be iterative (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2014, p.9).  Still, better search terms lead to better initial searches.

Let’s not forget newspapers or current events sources, such as CQ Researcher.  From a news article we can move on to more scholarly treatment of an issue.

These resources are familiar enough.  All the same they deserve their moment in the foreground.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from