Dean Tudor on the importance of the SOURCES Subject Guide:
By Dean Tudor
"How the hell can anybody use SOURCES without first checking the
Subject Guide? To use an alphabetically-arranged directory without
going first to the index is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
"Most of us, even in journalism, have never been
taught to use
everything's laid out in the Subject Guide.
"There's a knack to using indexes. First we need
to express in one or two words the subject we're researching. Take arms race. Look in
the Subject Guide under that word or phrase. Four times out of five it
will be there. Check out the listing. Read the description. Find a
"When the term is not there, it's because either SOURCES' publisher
didn't sell an appropriate listing (so it isn't covered; indexes can
only describe what's there to begin with) or we're suffering tunnel
vision. We should browse around the Subject Guide a little ahead or
behind the word we've looked up. Sometimes adjectival expressions are
spelled differently enough to throw us off the scent (i.e., automobiles, automotive).
"Or think of a related term. People use different
words for the same thing. I might say ghost; you might
your friend says spectre.
"Another strategy is to think of a narrower
term. In the case of gum,
both chewing gum
and bubble gum
are better, more specific terms. Or you can go for a broader term,
since all gum is candy
"It's very simple once we realize that nearly
every term has related narrower and broader words that express the same
"Speaking of ideas, why not turn to the Subject
Guide now and familiarize yourself with it, perhaps testing out its
virtually infallible indexing system!"
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