What’s the big deal about sources and references?

Twenty years ago, a scholarly source was clearly different from everything else. Very little was online yet, but many voices were unjustly ignored. 

If you look at newspapers, magazines, or pulp novels, these are meant for daily consumption by anyone. Others, like scholarly journals or books (from novels to dictionaries), take years (decades!) and dozens (hundreds!) of hands. You can feel the effort of editors, authors, and artists. 

Huazi Ribao Newspaper Issue

Huazi Ribao Newspaper Issue

The amount of time, wisdom, and energy invested establishes some of the credibility in dictionaries, encyclopedia, or university press books. This is harder to see today when dictionaries or encyclopedia (whether Wikipedia or Britannica) all look pretty much the same as blogs on your phone or laptop. 

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography volumes

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography volumes

Take the time to learn about the author and publisher. It is a necessary step. Is this subject their specialty? That way you don’t cite someone who has been discredited in the field. Or perhaps you find an authentic voice who merits greater respect. 

Samuel P Massie academic gown

Samuel P Massie academic gown

Three quarter length portrait of Miss Kate Violet Edgerley in academic cap and gown standing

Three quarter length portrait of Miss Kate Violet Edgerley in academic cap and gown standing

You may not have to do this every time. You will start to recognize names in your discipline from your assignments and readings. 

How to access full text articles, streaming films, and ebooks

You may feel frustrated searching Google after finding paywalls or questionable statements. The library has purchased many subscriptions to research, books, and film which may reveal this locked content.  Unfortunately, you have to start from inside the library pages, logged in with you NYU NetID, for the subscriptions to recognize you are connected to our subscriptions.  Let’s see how to do that.

Whenever you have any difficulties with these steps, check Ask-A-Librarian.  You can chat with us across the globe, check if the connections are working, or share screens to see what is happening.

Step 1: Open NYU Shanghai Library Website: https://shanghai.nyu.edu/academics/library                                                                 Step 2: Click the “Articles & Databases” tab

Yellow box highlights second tab from left to open the "Articles and Databases" search box.

Articles and Databases tab on library’s homepage

Step 3: Locate “Content-Specific” databases

Yellow arrow indicates highlighted box of links to content-specific collections.

Highlight the location of Content-specific links

Step 4: Access “Ebook Collections”, “Video Collections” and more

Highlight bars indicate the location to open, in order, the Ebook Collections, the News and Newspapers Collections, and Video Collections, amongst other content-specific database collections.

Location for Ebook, Newspapers, and Video collections

Step 5: Explore our content-specific collections based on your own research needs

  • Ebooks

    Two yellow arrows and highlight boxes indicate "Core Ebook Collections" and "A-Z list of ebook collections"

    Ebook collection webpage

  • Video

    Yellow arrow and highlight bar indicate 91 video databases and a button to remove this filter

    Video Collections webpage

  • News & Newspapers

    Website collection for newspapers with highlighted sections and arrows

    Newspaper collections webpage