collage of ports

This site will be taken down June 30, 2018.

The Penn Online Research Tutorial (PORT) site was built with old software that is neither sustainable nor secure.
The pages have not been maintained, but they can be consulted for historical reference on the Internet Archive.
Printer-Friendly Page
Currency of Information
(This section is adapted from part 4 of Duke University's Guide to Library Research) Information about an event will appear over time in different types of resources. This time line indicates the minimum amount of time after an event takes places or an idea is developed that information about it filters into various types of media.
Day-Days Week Months Year-Years
Newspapers Popular Magazines Scholarly Journals Books
Reference Works

Currency is particularly important when your research:
Involves current events
  • Research about events occurring in the present or very recent past must rely on media with a short information cycle
  • Information about events that happened less than a week ago may only be available on the Internet, in newspapers and on radio transcripts.
  • Scholarly resources about very current events might not be available.
Focuses on topics that require current data and theory
  • Research is the sciences and social sciences often requires access to the most recent empirical studies, data sets, and theoretical developments.
  • Fields that demand current data and theory typically emphasize journals and prepublication archives as primary sources of scholarly communication
  • Researchers in these field should be wary of resources with a long publication cycle, which might provide dta and theory that is no longer current.
Focuses on a particular historical era or event
  • Historical research often involves find resources that were produced contemporaneously with an event being studied.
  • Resouces that fall in different places on the currency scale provide different sorts of information and appeal to different audiences.
For example: I am taking a course on the history of music in the 20th century
We were assigned an interesting article about Jazz.
I am from New York and have always been interested in its history.
I did some searching for 'Jazz' in the Encyclopedia of American Studies.
I looked through some articles about the history of Jazz in Ebsco Megafile.