Subject Directories & More

Subject Guides

Comparative Literature Guide from Harvard

A subject guide (or research guide) lists various research sources on a particular topic. Librarians create subject guides to help college students get started in their research. Usually, some of the resources they point to—books and particular electronic databases—might not be available through the SCC Library. But subject guides today usually also list freely available Web resources (the image on the right shows an example; click for a larger view). This means that you can see subject guides as yet another likely route to finding pre-evaluated citable sources.

search results

To find subject guides, you can try an advanced search using keywords from your topic, the phrase "subject guide," and the domain .edu (in order to limit it to academic library websites). Click the image to the left to see the results of such a search.

Subject guides should indicate when they were created or last updated. If the guide is more than a few years old, the Web resources it lists may be out of date—look for a newer guide.

The fact that Google and similar services are so useful for so many purposes doesn't mean you need to depend upon them for all your needs. Search the Web, but also rely on work other people have done. Use subject directories and subject guides, but also use people.

Ask your professor if he or she knows of good Web resources to check. Ask your librarians. Ask your classmates. If you keep the evaluation criteria in mind when you find new sites, you will succeed in finding excellent sources for your papers.

Now, you can move on to the final quiz.