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Gender and Sexual Diversity: Websites

Guide to library and information sources in gender and sexual diversity

Evaluating web sources

Anyone can put information on the web, so how can you tell if it's reliable and accurate?

Ask yourself:

  • Who is the author?  Do they have qualifications/a reputation in the relevant area?
  • Is the web site affiliated with anorganisation?  If so, what is the mission of that organisation?
  • Has the information been properlyreferenced?  Are the references authoritative?
  • When was the site last updated?
  • Is there any reason for bias on this web site?
  • Has the website been well presented in an appropriately academic style?
  • Has anyone recommended this web site to you?
  • Does the information match what you have learned from other sources?

Using websites to find information in your field

Useful websites that are relevant to gender and sexual diversity include

African-American Women: Online Archival Collections
http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/collections/digitized/african-american-women/
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
American Memory is a gateway to primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items. Hosted by the Library of Congress

Lavender Legacies Guide
http://www2.archivists.org/groups/lesbian-and-gay-archives-section/lavender-legacies-guide
Comprehensive guide to primary source material held by repositories in North America, published by the Society of American Archivists' Lesbian and Gay Archives Roundtable.

National Archives
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/gay-lesbian-history/
A guide to researching gay and lesbian history in the UK National Archives

Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/survivingandthriving/index.html
An online exhibition from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The title comes from a 1987 book by and for people with AIDS that insisted people could live with AIDS, not just die from it. This exhibition presents their stories alongside those of others involved in the national AIDS crisis.

Transgender Oral History Project
http://transoralhistory.com/
Project founded in 2008 by André Pérez.

Women's Library @ London School of Economics
https://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/collections/thewomenslibrary
Digital artifacts on historical views of women and of the women's rights movement in England.

 

 

Finding information on the internet

There is a huge range of information on the Internet, but you need to be vigilant about the quality of what you find. Using subject gateways and sites which are created by subject specialists will ensure that you find information that has been evaluated for its academic quality.

Wikipedia - good or bad?

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, written collaboratively by anyone who wishes to contribute. Many people are constantly editing Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour. For more information, seeAbout Wikipedia.

Anyone with access to the internet can edit almost every page, and this is both the strength and the weakness of the site: 

  • Because there are so many people willing to freely give their time and expertise to Wikipedia, the content can be an excellent introduction to a topic, well-referenced, and mistakes are often corrected quickly. 
  • However, because edits can be made anonymously, we cannot know whether the author is an expert on the subject or whether they have a particular agenda to push.

Wikipedia is not considered to be a suitably authoritative source of information for academic study.

It is not a good idea to reference Wikipedia in your assignments. If you choose to use Wikipedia as a starting point for your topic, however, the article will introduce you to the key vocabulary for the topic which will be useful for further searching in Findit@Bham.ac.uk and bibliographic databases.

For guidance on how to evaluate the quality of Wikipedia articles, see Evaluating Wikipedia article quality.