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Information Spectrum

The information spectrum shows the range of sources, why they’re useful, and how quickly they are published. 

If you are looking for what’s happening now or up to the minute news, try social media and blogs. 

If you are looking for current daily info, popular events, general opinion, or crowd-sourced info, try online news sources, general websites, Wikipedia, or online magazines. 

These sources are published online and moment to moment.  They are the quickest forms of publication.

If you are looking for original research focused on a topic, data, or statistics, try searching in scholarly journals, books, .gov sites, .edu sites.

If you are looking for in-depth look at topics or historical info, search in books, scholarly journals, historical newspapers, magazines and trade journals, or general websites. 

If you need credible background information or a broad overview of topics, search in subject encyclopedias or reference books.  These sets of sources take months to years to publish.  They can be found in print and digital formats.