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Information Literacy for Undergrads

Advice and Best Practices to Insure Obtaining and Using the Best Resources Available.

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What Are Scholarly Resources?

Scholarly Information

  • Has been written by a scholar or expert in a specific field of knowledge.
  • Has often been reviewed by a board of experts in that field.
  • Includes extensive background information.

A journal that has been refereed has been reviewed by an editorial board of experts in a field before being accepted for publication. It contains a list of references or bibliography of other notable sources.

Google or OhioLINK?

Rio tuition allows for access to reputable OhioLINK databases that contain credible information: Scholarly Articles.

Rio Professors and future employers expect you to use and know about professional sources available through OhioLINK.

Avoid wasting time sorting through advertisements and misinformation that lurks on the web through a free Googler or Yahoo search. 

Use OhioLINK!

Why Not Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a popular free online encyclopedia that is written collaboratively through contributions from its readers. While it may be a useful tool to to help familiarize you with certain topics, Wikipedia is NOT a reliable source to cite when doing academic research. Investigations at the college-level require that you consult the scholarly community and respect established standards set by your field of study.


Below is a video tutorial created for Cooperative Library Instruction Project (CLIP) --a partnership between Chemeketa Community College, Lane Community College, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, and Willamette University whose mission was to design and develop sharable, web-based tutorials to assist in library instruction and information literacy--that offers some suggestions on how to use Wikipedia in early stages of the academic research process.

Popular Sources

Popular Sources

  • Fancy Formatting
  • Bright Colors
  • Photographs
  • Use Simple Language
  • 1 to 2 Pages in Length
  • Few If No References
  • Usually Not Divided Into Sections
  • Examples: Time, Cosmopolitan, Maxim

Scholarly Resources

Scholarly Sources

  • Usually Contain Black and White Text
  • No Pictures (Except Charts and Graphs)
  • Use Complex Language
  • 10-30 Pages in Length
  • Contain Numerous References (Often 10 or More)
  • Divided Into Sections That Have Labels
  • Title of Source Often Starts with Journal of...

Local Public Libraries

We are lucky to have such great public libraries in our area!  But for your class assignments: Use Davis Library Resources.

Use Davis Library's LibGuides

Davis Library Research Guides for Rio students.

Wildcard and Truncation Symbols

Generally: Use the wildcard and truncation symbols to create searches where there are unknown characters, multiple spellings or various endings. Neither the wildcard nor the truncation symbol can be used as the first character in a search term.


The wildcard is represented by a question mark ? or a pound sign #.

To use the ? wildcard, enter your search terms and replace each unknown character with a ?. The database finds all citations of that word with the ? replaced by a letter. 

For example, type ne?t to find all citations containing neat, nest or next. The database does not find net because the wildcard replaces a single character.  

Note: When searching for a title that ends in a question mark, the symbol should be removed from the search in order to ensure results will be returned.

To use the # wildcard, enter your search terms, adding the # in places where an alternate spelling may contain an extra character. The database finds all citations of the word that appear with or without the extra character.

For example, type colo#r to find all citations containing color or colour.

Note: Searching the U.S. spelling of words will also include some spelling variations (i.e. colour or odour) but not all spelling variations.

When using the pound/hash (#) wildcard, plurals and possessives of that term are not searched. For example, when running a search for the term colo#r, the terms "colors" and "colours" will not be searched (which they are by default when using the singular "color" or "colour" without a wildcard operator).


Truncation is represented by an asterisk (*). To use truncation, enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with an *.The database finds all forms of that word.

For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.

Note: The Truncation symbol (*) may also be used between words to match any word.

For example, a midsummer * dream will return results that contain the exact phrase, a midsummer night’s dream.

Google vs Google Scholar

Google searches broadly across all of the Internet, including commercial sites, while Google Scholar searches primarily academic content--scholarly articles, book chapters, books, etc.. 

Do not pay for access to articles you find in Google Scholar!  Rio and OhioLINK will have the sources that you need.

Google Scholar

AND Boolean Operator

AND - Limits the Search

Strawberry AND Vanilla AND Chocolate

OR Boolean Operator

OR - Expands the Search

Strawberry OR Vanilla OR Chocolate

NOT Boolean Operator

NOT - Limits the Search

(Strawberry OR Vanilla) NOT Chocolate

Why Can't I Just Google?

From Library La Trobe University

State of Ohio Funded Online Resources

Public Library or Public School Affiliation May Be Required.  Contact Davis Library for More Information:


Telephone: 740-245-7005

An evolving collection of thousands of online publications and research resources provided to Ohio residents by the Libraries Connect Ohio (LCO) partnership. Proof of residency may be required for access (public library card and/or zip code information.)