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 available. The best place to start on campus is the improvised collection of reference works 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" island in HAS). 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.