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Beyond the Writing Handbook: Exploring All Library Resources for Writing Support: Formats

This guide is a companion to a facultyThe LRC highlights resources to help support writing flag courses in the GC curriculum.

Jargon & Formats--clarity for research assignments

Internet vs. Library Databases

The Internet is a worldwide connection of linked computer networks which provide access to many different types of information. The original uses of the Internet included solely text applications such as: e-mail, file transfer, newsgroups, and bulletin boards.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a part of the Internet that you search using engines such as Google or Yahoo which provide access to multimedia (sounds, pictures, and moving images) in addition to text information available on websites.


library database is an indexed collection of magazine, journal, and newspaper articles; reviews; abstracts; and other information that has been checked for accuracy and reliability by publishers, then licensed for distribution in electronic format.

Databases contain print sources that publishers sell to libraries as subscriptions in electronic format. For example, an article that you find in The New York Times in the New York Times database will be the same article that was printed in The New York Times newspaper.

Peer-Reviewed, Academic, Scholarly--what's the difference

Peer-Reviewed Journals

When it comes to scholarly journals, the terms peer-reviewed and refereed are interchangable.  Before publication, peer-reviewed/refereed journals go through a highly critical and rigorous review process by other scholars in the author's field or specialty.  This review process ensures that the content being published is first being evaluated by the author's peers and also, reflect a solid scholarship in their fields of study.

Scholarly Journals

Although peer-reviewed journals are always scholarly in nature, scholarly journals are not always peer-reviewed.  Scholarly journals are research focused, reporting results of original research and experimentation. They are heavily cited in the form of either footnotes or bibliographies, and written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline. However, whereas peer-reviewed journals require a strict "peer-approval" for publishing, a scholarly journal that is not peer-reviewed only requires the approval of an editorial board.

Resource Formats

Print vs. Electronic Formats

Print refers to physical items such as books, journals, or newspapers that reside on a shelf or in a location in the LRC.  Electronic refers to eBooks, PDF, HTML, and other digitized research resources available in the LRC via a web-based platform such as a library subscription database or the online catalog. Microforms or Microfiche are a flat piece of film containing microphotographs of the pages of a newspaper, catalog or other document that must be read via a microform machine.  This is a less common format in the Georgetown College LRC, however, we do still have some microforms available on the 3rd floor of the LRC. 

PDF file is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else.  A PDF of a book or journal article will look exactly as its print counterpart including graphs, charts, page numbers, etc.  This file format is especially important when considering and interpretting data sets presented in peer-reviewed literature. 

An HTML file is a hypertext markup language, a coding scheme used to format text for use on the World Wide Web.  It will display and look differently from its print counterpart and will not include images, charts, and graphs in a journal artilce as a PDF file.