Open Educational Resources (OER):
Nicolet College Library offers books in print, audio and e-book format. We have bestsellers, fiction and non-fiction. If you need sources for your research project, or if you need a book to tide you over during break, we can help you!
Our online catalog will help you find print and audio books located in the Lakeside Center, third floor library, and some e-books as well:
If you are looking for an e-book, Nicolet College Library offers several options! Check out these databases:
Non-fiction books are usually considered a scholarly source when you are doing a research project or a paper. Typically, a non-fiction book goes through a rigorous vetting process before it is published.
In the Nicolet College Library, most books with a call number starting with P are fiction, except biographies of authors and critical literature.
If the book has a call number starting with something other than P, it is considered non-fiction. However, that does not necessarily mean it is appropriate to use in a research paper.
First, consider the topic. Many topics are considered non-fiction, but the scientific community generally does not consider them valid at this point in time (like cryptozoology, aliens, ghosts, reincarnation, magic, etc., or anti-vaxxing, climate change denial, etc.) If your paper is about a topic like one of these, you should talk to your instructor first before going any further in the research process.
If you are satisfied with your topic and you have found a book that you want to consider further, the next things you should look at are:
What should you look for:
Currency: How old is the book? Have there been recent discoveries in this field since this book was published? In scientific fields like medicine, technology, and engineering, you would probably not want a book older than 5 years if you are looking for current information.
Reliability: Can you tell if the author did research in writing this book? What are the sources the author used? If there are no sources cited, be somewhat skeptical about that book as a source. If the book is nothing more than a collection of Wikipedia articles bound into a book, then it is only as reliable as Wikipedia. Who published the book? If the book was self-published, the vetting process that gives books scholarly credibility may not have taken place. If it was published by a publishing company, look up that company to find out about their reputation in academics and find out about their vetting process if you can.
Authorship: Who is the author of the book? What are the author's credentials? If you can't tell who authored the book, be skeptical about using it as a source. Look up the author before using the book to see what kind of expertise they have in the field.
Purpose: Why did the author write this book? Is this an informational book, or was it written to inflame emotions or to sell a product? If the book was written for any purpose other than to inform, be skeptical about using it as a source.
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