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Body Image and the Media

Books at Nicholls

Ellender Memorial Library’s Online Public Access Catalog is called e-Library. To search for books, videos, periodicals, etc., simply click on the link from the library’s homepage. You may click on either e-Library or on the e-Library Power Search. The simple search allows you to search by author, title, keyword, subject, or periodical title. If you know the author or title of a source, or it is a simple keyword search, such as media representation, beauty, or body image, then the simple search will suffice.

However, if you wish to compose a complex search, such as finding books about the how the media influences our ideas about body shape, personal image, and beauty, you would be better off using the Power Search. For example, to find either of the first two, you could try something like the following:

word or phrase=beauty AND word or phrase=media
word or phrase=body image AND word or phrase=media
word or phrase=body image AND word or phrase=magazines

The important thing to remember is that searching effectively involves coming up with a search strategy, and that strategy will probably involve using various synonyms and similar terms to maximize effectiveness. By the same token, if you wanted to find videos on this topic in our library, you might try something like the following:

word or phrase=body image AND type=audio-visual
word or phrase=beauty AND type=audio-visual

Databases: Other Books

If you want to find titles on body image and the media, the best database in which to begin your search is WorldCat, which searches for books and materials in libraries worldwide, including here at Nicholls. Remember that the advantage of WorldCat over Amazon, is that WorldCat finds only books that are already published and housed in libraries. The WorldCat Advanced Search screen will allow you to limit your search by language, number of libraries, audience (Adult vs. Juvenile), content (Fiction vs. Non-Fiction), and year of publication.

You might want to try as one of your search terms the keywords body image and media. When you get your result list, click on the title of the text in question. Book housed in Ellender Memorial Library will be indicated as such..

Databases: Articles

To look for articles on this topic, begin by searching WebFeat (linked from the Library homepage). WebFeat searches every Library database simultaneously, thereby allowing you to see which databases give the most, and most relevant, hits. In some cases, WebFeat will even allow you to access the full text of an article.

Other than WebFeat, the best databases for this topic are the following:

Academic Search Complete, a large multi-disciplinary academic database that contains over 5,300 full-text titles. Over 4,400 of these titles are peer-reviewed.

Lexis Nexis Academic, which indexes newspaper articles.

MAS Ultra, designed for use by high school students, with access to 253 full text reference books, nearly 100,000 biographies, 76,000 primary source documents, and an image collection of 116,000 photos, maps and flags.

Newspaper Source , which also indexes newspaper articles.

Primary Search , which provides full text for more than 60 popular magazines for elementary school research.

The Web

You can also find useful information about on body image and the media by searching the internet. By far, the best search engine on the World Wide Web is Google, which is located and maintained at Stanford University. Google allows for phrase searches, for combination (boolean) searches, and for domain limitations. For example, you could type in any of the following (including spaces and punctuation):

“body image” media site:.edu
to get websites from universities and educational institutions

“body image” media site:.org
to get websites from non-profit organizations

“body image” media site:.gov
to get websites from government agencies

“body image” media site:.mil
to find out that even the military takes this topic seriously

The Google command for domain limitation is site: followed by the domain you wish to limit results to, such as government agencies (.gov), universities (.edu), not-for-profit organizations (.org), and military sites (.mil). By typing site:.edu or site:.org in the above search, you are telling the search engine to return only those sites that come from universities and educational institutions or organizations. The Google command for a phrase search is enclosing the phrase within quotes. So when you typed “body image” (in quotes), you tell the search engine not to return sites with the word body in them, unless that word is immediately followed by the word image. The space between the commands takes the place of the boolean operator AND, thus allowing you to combine terms.

Of course, you can also click on Google’s Advanced Search options, which would allow you to more graphically envision your search strategy. And as always with the web, keep in mind that site evaluation is important, as this web tutorial instructs.

The other excellent search engine on the web is called All The Web. However, it is not as intuitive as Google. You have to click on Advanced Search in order to get it to handle phrases correctly, or in order to limit your results by domain extension. Still, alltheweb.com allows some commands that Google does not, so if you need to do an expert search, give it a try. Where both Google and All The Web allow you to search for images, only All the Web will allow you to find relevant video and audio files.

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