Regardless of where you are getting your information, you need to be aware of a few simple attributes about whatever information you are using.
When evaluating information, here are five helpful considerations:
Currency: timeliness of the information.
Relevance: importance of the information for your need.
Authority: source of the information.
Accuracy: reliability, truthfulness, correctness.
Purpose: reason that the information exists.
The terms Academic, Scholarly or Peer Reviewed are frequently used interchangably. In nearly all cases they mean the same thing. They are used to indicated a scholarly (adheres to a common 4-6 part format to report research findings) article that has been peer reviewed (by others with knowledge of research in the field) that appears in an academic or research publication (few or no advertisements).
Characteristics of a Scholarly Resource:
Getting a basic overview on a particular topic is a great first step in learning about the major issues, trends, sub-disciplines, standard works or ongoing research efforts in the field.
Pre-prints are the latest "pre-published" research findings in many science related fields. Many pre-prints eventually find there way into the formal scholarly journal literature several months to a year (or two) later after they have been further refined and editorially polished.
Selected examples, for more examples, see the ACM Journals Word Style Guide.
For a paginated article in a journal:
Patricia S. Abril and Robert Plant. 2007. The patent holder\u2019s dilemma: Buy, sell, or troll? Commun. ACM 50, 1 (Jan. 2007), 36-44. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1188913.1188915
For an enumerated article in a journal:
Sarah Cohen, Werner Nutt, and Yehoshua Sagic. 2007. Deciding equivalances among conjunctive aggregate queries. J. ACM 54, 2, Article 5 (April 2007), 50 pages. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1219092.1219093
For a monograph (whole book):
David Kosiur. 2001. Understanding Policy-Based Networking (2nd. ed.). Wiley, New York, NY.
For a multi-volume work (as a book):
Donald E. Knuth. 1997. The Art of Computer Programming, Vol. 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd. ed.). Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc.
For a (paginated proceedings) article in a conference proceedings (conference, symposium or workshop):
Sten Andler. 1979. Predicate Path expressions. In Proceedings of the 6th. ACM SIGACT-SIGPLAN symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL \u201979). ACM Press, New York, NY, 226-236. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/567752.567774
For a technical report:
Greg Turk and David Banks. 1996. Image-guided streamline placement. Technical Report I-CA2200. University of California, Santa Barbara, CA. 453-460 pages. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/237170.237285
For an online document/WWW resource:
Harry Thornburg. 2001. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics. (March 2001). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jos/bayes/bayes.html
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