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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Communication 111/112

A guide for library resources and research information for students in Communication 111 and 112.

Evaluate your sources

Determine If Your Source Is Published

How Do I Know if My Source is in Print?

Step 1: Locate the Publication Information

Printed sources will have certain types of publication information that electronic sources may not. Look for the following to help determine if your source has a print equivalent:

  1. Source
  2. Volume and/or issue number
  3. Page numbers
  4. Publication date
  5. Author information

Step 2: Use Library Resources to Find Publication

Search for an article in a library database, or use the other resources listed to locate your publication.

Library Databases

Using databases such as Academic Search Ultimate or Access World News will ensure that any source you find is published, meaning it has a print equivalent.


Access information about newspapers, magazines, and journals published throughout the world, covering all subjects.

  1. Enter your journal or newspaper title (not the article title) in the search box.
  2. Look to see if your source lists a publisher. This can be either a database or the name of the company.
  3. Verify that the status is “active.” If yours does not have an active status, the newspaper or journal may no longer be publishing.
  4. Check the serial type. You’ll want something that is a magazine, newspaper, or journal.

Note: Ulrich’s will tell you if a source is in print, but not if your specific article is in print. To verify this, search library databases for the specific article. You can start with the databases mentioned above.

University of Illinois Library Newspaper Database

Often you will find newspaper articles on the internet through credible sources such as the New York Times. Just because you find it on a newspaper’s website does not mean that every article has a print version. Use this database for electronic access to print newspapers from the United States, ranging from local to national.

  1. Enter your newspaper title (not the article title) in the search box.
  2. You can specify the year to make sure you are finding recent issues.
  3. You will see the name of the newspaper, available formats, place of publication, and available dates.
  4. Click on the format link next to date range that best fits your needs. “Online” means U of I students have on- and off-campus access.
  5. Choose a database. Make sure to check the date range.
  6. Once in the database, you can search for your specific article.

Note: Some newspapers and magazines delay online access for anywhere between one day and several weeks. If you’re looking for something very recent, you may need to find the print copies which are available at the Undergraduate Library and other libraries on campus.

Is My News Real?

Is My News Real?: Tips for deciding if your news story is fake

Because: “A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy”   -Craig Newmark (Trust Project)

What makes a news story "fake"?

  1. It can't be verified. Fake news does not supply traceable sources.
  2. It targets your emotions, provoking more than informing.
  3. The authors are not credible experts on the topic. Fake news authors can be anyone, but they probably aren't authorities.
  4. It can't be found anywhere else. Fake news stories are often unique.
  5. It comes from a known fake news outlet. Websites like or The National Report have a history of fake news.

How can I determine if my news is real?

Evaluate your news sites as you would any other source:  

  • Read past the headline. Does the headline represent the article's content? Or is it just clickbait?
  • Check the author's credentials. Are they qualified to speak on the subject at hand?
  • Check the article's sources. Do the authors' citations come from credible places? 
  • Look for bias. Does the article have an obvious lean to it? Could there be another side to the story not included?
  • Judge for yourself! Does the article seem believable? If not, it may be worth looking further into the story with other sources.

The Information Cycle: INFOGRAPHIC

The Information Cycle (Accessible View)

The Day of an Event

Television, Social Media, and the Web

  • The who, what, why, and where of the event
  • Quick, not detailed, regularly updated
  • Authors are journalists, bloggers, social media participants
  • Intended for general audiences

The Day After an Event


  • Explanations and timelines of the event begin to appear
  • More factual information, may include statistics, quotes, photographs, and editorial coverage
  • Authors are journalists
  • Intended for general audiences

The Week or Weeks After an Event

Weekly Popular Magazines and News Magazines

  • Long form stories begin to discuss the impact on society, culture, and public policy
  • More detailed analyses, interviews, and various perspectives emerge
  • Authors range from journalists to essayists, and commentary provided by scholars and experts in the field
  • Intended for a general audience or specific nonprofessional groups

Six Months to a Year or More After an Event

Academic, Scholarly Journals

  • Focused, detailed analysis and theoretical, empirical research
  • Peer-reviewed, ensuring high credibility and accuracy
  • Authors include scholars, researchers, and professionals
  • Intended for an audience of scholars, researchers, and university students

A Year to Years After an Event


  • In-depth coverage ranging from scholarly in-depth analysis to popular books
  • Authors range from scholars to professionals to journalists
  • Include reference books which provide factual information, overviews, and summaries
Government Reports
  • Reports from federal, state, and local governments
  • Authors include governmental panels, organizations, and committees
  • Often focused on public policy, legislation, and statistical analysis

Understand the Information Cycle: VIDEO