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Geography: GEO 211 Global Sustainable Futures

Site link for class session

Best Bets for Finding Scholarly Information

Miami subscribes to several databases that may be useful for you when trying to find scholarly information for your short papers. Some of them are listed below. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have trouble finding relevant information, or if you hit any other roadblocks in your research.

Evaluate stuff you find on the web

Guide created by Laura Cohen and Trudi Jacobson, State University of New York, Albany.  It includes guidelines for specific types of sites or media, including social networking and multimedia sites.

Tips for searching

Just because you find it doesn't mean that you have permission to use it!

Look for copyright ownership or conditions attached to use!

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluate information (books, articles, websites, etc.) using these criteria:

Authority:  Prefer acknowledged authorities to self-proclaimed ones. What are the author's qualifications for publishing on this subject? Do other experts in the field acknowledge this person? Are there any reviews available of earlier works?  Is the authority (writer) working within his/her field of expertise? Or is it someone who is addressing a subject outside his/her field? 

Scope:  Coverage, or scope, refers to the comprehensiveness of the information.  Does the information provide wide coverage of the subject matter?  Does the information identify a target audience? 

Proximity:  Is the account first-hand? In other words, did the individual responsible for the information actually witness the events described? Or is the account separated by time and/or space from the event? 

Objectivity: Is the information presented with a minimum of bias? Or does the writer of the source have a motive for influencing the way you see the event? If you sense that the writer is trying to sway your opinion one way or the other, use caution.  You may need to use opinion, but you need to know what is opinion and what is a basic fact. 

Specificity: In general, accounts that are exact and complete are more reliable. Writers who are vague and evasive should be used with caution. 

Currency: Is the information up to date? Some research topics require fresh information: e.g., technology, science and current events. For other topics, it will be acceptable to use dated material: historical, biographical or literature.  In historical context, is the account contemporary with the event being described? 

Accountability:  Many websites don’t have accountability.  How do you know you can trust them?

Believability: Is the evidence credible (believable) on its own terms? Or is the evidence internally inconsistent or demonstrably false to any known facts?  The issue of objectivity may come into play here.

Relevance: Does the information or analysis support my thesis?  How can I use the source to support the points I make in my project?


Finding Video Clips

Creative Commons Searches
Search for pictures/videos which can be used for non-commercial use
Google Video Search and YouTube
OhioLINK Digital Video Center
Includes 1,000 plus videos from Films for the Humanities and Social Sciences
TED: Ideas worth sharing
Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world
YouTube Educational videos

More video search tools


Finding Images (and sometimes some other stuff)

AICTS: Art Images for College Teaching
A royalty-free image exchange resource for the educational community
American Memory
Multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library of Congress' Americana collections.
ARTstor is a digital library of nearly one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes.
Creative Commons Searches
Search for pictures/videos which can be used for non-commercial use
Selection of photographs, audio, graphics and text from the Associated Press
iStockphoto is the internet’s original member-generated image and design community. Find your inspiration on the world's leading royalty-free stock destination.
Google Images Search
Wikimedia Commons
A database of 4,000,000+ freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.

Geography Librarian

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Kristen Adams

If you have questions or need help with research, please contact me at

To schedule a meeting, please email me and let me know your preference for day/time and for in-person or virtual.

209 King Library

Environmental Sciences Librarian

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Ginny Boehme

My appointment scheduler is open for you to meet with me virtually. The default platform I use is Zoom, but if you prefer Google Meet or WebEx, that's not a problem at all.

202 King Library