School of Information Management & Systems.
142 Access to American Cultural Heritages.
Buckland. Fall 2000.
Assignment 1: Finding "Culture". Due Sept 7.
We use the words "culture" and "cultural" quite freely and
satisfactorily in everyday conversation. But suppose we try
to be a bit more rigorous in defining what the word "culture" means.
This assignment is not to attempt to define "culture",
but to take a look at how others have fared in attempting to
explain what culture is.
1. Examine a variety of dictionaries, encyclopedias, or other
sources to see what they say about "culture".
2. Take a look at at least one large general dictionary and
at least one large general encyclopedia.
3. Look at one or more specialized dictionaries or encyclopedias
in the social sciences, humanities, whatever.
4. Prepare a short summary (two or three pages, single-spaced)
of what you found. Feel free to add your own comments.
For each source mentioned, give enough of a citation for us
to be able to find the source and the page.
Plan on at least two hours collecting the material.
Where to look? Unfortunately the libraries reference collections
have not yet recovered from a series of building remodelling projects.
This is, however, an opportunity to get some idea of the range of resources
The best place to start on campus is the improvised collection of
in the "Information Center" (INFO), the room with many terminals
immediately to the left as one enters the monumental north
entrance to the MAIN library (and west of the circulation desk).
After that, wander round the large Humanities and Area Studies room on the
floor above and the adjacent Government and Social Sciences reading room (GSSI). Also any
other large or appropriate
specialized library, such as the Anthropology
Library in Kroeber Hall.
Suggestion: Start with a large
general dictionary, and at some stage check the Oxford English
Dictionary, many large blue volumes, at PE1625.O89 1989 (in
INFO and on "Dictionaries"
General encyclopedias are classified at AE.
General English dictionaries are at PE 1625.
In libraries dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference works
(e.g. bibliographies) on any particular topic are assigned the
same classification numbers as other books on the same topic,
but usually with a suffix to indicate that they are a
dictionary or whatever. They usually come at or near the
beginning of a subject section. Not all are located in
a library's reference section. So, within the reference
collections, try BL-BX for religious encyclopedias, H for
Social Sciences, P87-P96 for Mass Media, etc. For example the
Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences H40.A2.I5 (INFO, GSSI,
and MAIN stacks) or The Social Science Encyclopedia at
H41.S63 1996 (INFO and GSSI).
See what you can find on the Internet also, if you wish, but in
addition to, not instead of browsing reference works on paper. If you have
the language skills, try foreign language works.