Go back to the broad search ("American Indian" without the "AND"). Find and click any link to the article "American Indian."
We'll talk about other evaluation techniques in a minute, but for now, notice some details. Most articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online end with sections called "Additional Reading." These are useful, selective bibliographies that often make good starting points for library research. Also notice that many encyclopedia articles are signed by their authors; in the Britannica, these author signatures appear immediately before the "Additional Reading" section. The author signature is an active link that enables us to evaluate the author's credentials. (Notice that the Britannica supplies sample citations but these are often incorrect, omitting the name of an article's author.)
Now scroll back up to the Encyclopaedia Britannica online "search" box and use it to search for "Native American" (again without the "AND"). This time, skip over the first article list, and scroll down (using the "More Articles" link at the bottom of the page) to find the article titled "Native American." Here is a second article, far more extensive than the first. (The Encyclopaedia Britannica often contains both a short overview and longer, more detailed article on the same subject. While I'm whisking you through these steps by taking you directly to a source and pointing out its usefulness, take the time to realize that in real life, it takes patient browsing to find the best sources.) This longer article is a good overview, and the article ends with an entry titled "Additional reading." An authoritative list of sources is exactly what we're looking for. Click "Additional reading." This list will help you identify classic studies. But how up-to-date is it? What is the most recent source listed ? Some of the sources are more than twenty years old. How accurate are they likely to be in their coverage of the peopling of the Americas?
Summary: The Encyclopaedia Britannica online is reputable and helpful, but we've already some common problems in finding and evaluating sources, including out-of-date material and confusing subject headings. (Incidentally, both of the main Britannica articles tell pretty much the familiar story of the Bering Straits migration and date it at 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, admitting that it might have been much earlier. Actually, the Clovis remains [11,000 years old] were long accepted as the earliest reliably dated ones in North America, but now some remains in Pennsylvania are thought to be between 14,000 and 17,000 years old.) We're going to have to dig deeper to get a really current overview of this challenging topic.
General encyclopedias, incidentally, may not list the very latest research, but they can be useful for that very reason: they selectively list well recognized, classic books and articles. Despite some limitations, an encyclopedia's bibliography of classic studies is an excellent starting point in most source hunts.
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