For many students, the term paper is done when the bibliography – or list of resources cited – is completed. But few students realize they can also start their research with the bibliography – and save literally hours of time!
Good students know they should do a little research before diving into their topics. They check the library catalog, search the Internet, perhaps explore an index or two to make sure that ample resources exist to support their thinking. Better students consult lists of “works cited” appearing in books, encyclopedia articles, or even textbooks, to identify such resources.
But excellent students know a secret: entire books, articles, and websites have been written that are nothing but lists of topic-specific resources! Scholars (and others) devote their careers to compiling these bibliographies – on topics from the everyday to the esoteric. For example:
The Baseball file : a comprehensive bibliography of America’s national pastime (Sport Information Resource Centre, 1992).
Bob Dylan, American poet and singer: an annotated bibliography and study guide of sources and background materials, 1961-1991 : with a supplemental checklist of studies on the 1960s and the folk revival (Eadmer Press, 1991).
Or this gem, cited in INSPIRE‘s Academic Search Premier:
Rock journalists and music critics : a selected bibliography (Cooper, B. Lee, Popular Music and Society, v. 33, No. 1, Feb 2010, p. 75-101). Imagine: 28 pages of sources on rock-n-roll journalism!
Finding bibliographies is easy: search for your topic together with a keyword search for “bibliography” (in title or subject fields) in the library catalog. You can find them in Google, too. Lucky you if you discover an “annotated bibliography” – have one look at this online example of Holocaust resources and you’ll see why. For more help, contact Scholar’s Secret anytime.