Gavilan College Library


AH 43 Medical-Surgical/Mental Health Nursing



An encyclopedia will give you background information and a short overview of your topic. We are going to look at the online Merck Manual. Begin by clicking on its link and a new screen will open up. In the search box provided at the top of the Merck screen type in your term, depression and click on the arrow button near it. On the next screen click on the first link to Psychiatric Conditions in Childhood and Adolescence. In the box below, list 3 symptoms of childhood depression:


Books from a library are a good source for in-depth information on specific subjects or people. Let's look for books on the topic of depression in the Gavilan Library online catalog.

Note: When you click on a link, your browser should open up a new window for the link. To get back to your assignment page, just close the window by clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the window. You never X out of this assignment page unless you are finished. Otherwise, you will lose all your previous answers.

  1. Go to the Gavilan College Library home page.
  2. Find the Online Catalog icon that looks like the books pictured at the beginning of this section and click on it.
  3. In the catalog's search box, type in your search term, depression. The pull-down menu's keyword option has been pre-selected for you.
  4. Then click on the Search button.
  5. From the resulting list of books, select a relevant book and click on the title's underlined link.
  6. Answer the following questions:
What is the book's title and call number.

What is its status?

The APA (American Psychological Association) has published guidelines for writing research papers. Research papers are often required to follow this format.

  1. Click on the website, APA-Style Documentation.
  2. Scroll down to the section entitled, STUDENTS' QUESTIONS ABOUT REFERENCES.
  3. Click on some of the links to see correct APA formatting for various forms of print and non-print materials.

Pay particular attention to referencing books because we will return to the Gavilan Library catalog, select a book and write an APA citation for it.

APA format requires the title of the book to be underlined. Since you won't be able to do this on the computer, simply start the title with an underline, and at the end, put another underline. A sample APA format citation for a book would look like this:

Kesey, K. (1962). _One flew over the cuckoo's nest_. New York:

          New American Library.

(Note that in a bibliography you would type the citation in a hanging or paragraph indention format and it would be double spaced between the lines.)

  1. Go to the Gavilan College Library Homepage.
  2. Click on the Online catalog icon.
  3. Search for a book on "male depression" by typing your phrase within quotation marks to search for those words next to each other.
  4. Use the pulldown menu to select the keyword option if not already selected.
  5. Click on the search button
  6. Then type your citation below:


In this next example, we will look for information in a subject directory or subject tree which is a list of web resources grouped alphabetically or by broad subject categories. Most subject directories are put together by professional experts in their fields. The sites they link to are established, proven sites and usually don't disappear.

National Institute of Mental Health sponsors a subject directory that is keyword searchable.

  1. Click on the link, National Institute of Mental Health.
  2. In the search box provided, type the word, depression and click on the search button.
  3. Look through some of the links and click on a few to get answers to the following questions:
List 2 signs ofr symptoms of depression:
List 2 possible treatments for depression:


When you are interested in exploring a subject, but you don't know any specific sites to start with, you can use a search engine. A search engine is a software program that goes out on the web, seeking web sites and cataloging them. A search engine constantly visits sites on the web to create a catalog of web pages and keeps them current. Many search engines support the use of Boolean logic. Boolean logic provides a means for combining terms using the "and" "not" "or" words in between your terms to refine your search. Keep in mind that when you use words with "and" or "not" you reduce the number of results.

Hotbot is one search engine that supports the use of Boolean logic. In this next example, we are looking for information on the hormone, depression which is resistant to treatment.

We want to find records that combine all three terms, depression and resistant and treatment. In this diagram, the resulting list are those records falling into the yellow intersection of the 3 circles. Every time you add another search term, and another AND, your result list will be smaller.

boolean diagram

  1. Go to the search engine, alltheweb and click on the button, Boolean and type in your terms in that second search box as follows:


  2. From your results list, select the link with the title: Treatment-Resistant Depression sponsored by the MDDA. (Hint: In the results list, look for MDDA in the green URLs. It was about the first screen's results for me).
  3. Read the article and find the answer for the question below:
According to this article, what is the definition for treatment-resistant depression?

Remember that if you do not find what you are looking for with one search engine, try another. It is also recommended that you read the help or search tip links at the search engine site, as some search engines do not support all the Boolean operators ("and" "or" "not").


Anyone can publish anything on the Internet. Some questions to ask yourself as you look at information are:

  • Who wrote the information?
  • Who is paying the bill to publish the information?
  • Is there an inherent bias?
  • Do the authors quote research that can be checked or repeated?
  • How recent is the information?

To find out who was supporting a site, we we need to understand where Internet information originates. Major contributors of Internet information can be organized into four large categories:

  • Government sites: including 3 huge federally-funded national libraries
  • Educational institutions: universities, colleges & research institutions
  • Commercial enterprises: everyone trying to sell you something
  • Nonprofit organizations

You can tell which of these four categories is posting the information by looking at the URL, or address of the site. In the last website we accessed, the URL (directions to the computer on how to get to the website you want) was:

The first part, http://, tells the computer what protocol to use. The second part, is the domain name and tells the computer what system to look for. The next part tells the computer which document to load.

It's that second part, the domain name, that tells us from which type of institution this document is coming. Fortunately for researchers, each one of the four big contributors uses a different domain name ending:


Hint: In addition to evaluating the web document itself, its important to also go to the homepage to learn about the sponsor/author. To do this, click on the location bar (URL) once and the bar should be darkened. Click again and you will see your blinking curser in that bar. Place the curser directly after the domain name and delete what follows the domain name. So in our example, you would delete everything after the ".org". Then hit enter and that will take you to the homepage of the site we just viewed.

Return to the web site Treatment Resistant Depression. In the box below, write an evaluation based on the five evaluation questions.

  • Who wrote the information?
  • Who is paying the bill to publish the information?
  • Is there an inherent bias?
  • Do the authors quote research that can be checked or repeated?
  • How recent is the information?


In this exercise we covered:
  • Finding encyclopedia articles for background information, short overviews and major names that are associated with your topic
  • Locating library books to provide in-depth information
  • Writing APA format citations for books
  • Finding information in subject directories
  • Utilizing search engines with Boolean logic connectors (AND, OR, NOT)
  • Evaluating the source of your information for credibility and currency



You've almost finished. Now comes the most important part:

 Your Name:

Your Class Section #:

 Your e-mail address:

Time spent on this assignment:

And now you can click on the submit button


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For questions or comments, please send e-mail to
Susan Turner at
Last updated on Aug.18, 2005