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Syracuse University Libraries

COM 634: Trendspotting in Digital Media (Fall 2022)

SU Libraries research starting points to consider when seeking source material for the COM 634 course

Librarian for the Newhouse School of Public Communications

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Michael Pasqualoni
Bird Library -
Room 200 (Waverly Avenue Side, Floor 2)
Schedule A Thirty Or Sixty Minute Consultation
To request times not listed on the bookings calendar, email me

Short Tutorial - Searching with Summon

  • A three minute video screencast with starting point tips on searching SUMMON (the general search engine for SU Libraries licensed collections).  Expand the video player to full screen size for the best viewing experience.  
  • All COM 634 students should keep in mind that entering the proper name of a word or short phrase (enclose phrases in "quotation marks") relevant to the technology or trend or person or company you are exploring - into an advanced Summon search, opens up many possibilities for subsequent filtering of your results by content type (newspaper articles vs trade publication articles vs results classified under book/ebook or book chapter, etc.), or filtered by ranges of desired publications dates or by a classification in Summon called "area of study" (for instance, perhaps one wishes to see articles about "virtual reality" from the past year - but only those in fields (areas of study) related to public health or medicine but not the field of education.
  • In addition to other search terminology one may enter into Summon (e.g., name of a technology or tool or person or organization or even a place name) - one of the "subject" entries that is an available search result refinement is called "forecasts and trends."  Thus, one can at times see trends directly by querying a term(s) and sorting results chronologically, OR ALTERNATIVELY, drill down more efficiently into the content that represents the presence of secondary treatment and mention of a forecast or a trend by applying the "forecasts and trends" subject phrase as a search refinement filter.

General News Databases

Some of the library's strongest third party news aggregator databases, if one simply wishes to track mentions of a named technology, person, company or other named trend - in sources from published journalism.  This can also be done in Summon and some of the other databases, but efficiency is greater with these if one specifically seeks news sources

Welcome COM 634 Students [Fall 2022]

SU Libraries offers numerous research tools and information sources to assist you when investigating the trends and technologies that intersect with any number of forms of digital media.  Explore the linked sections of this COM 634 library course guide to complement what you may be uncovering on the open web, and on Google or Google Scholar [course section during Fall 2022 taught by Professor Sean Branagan]

COM 634 Database Best Bets at Syracuse University Libraries

What is "best" for a given technology, trend or topic will vary, but here is a short list of licensed databases to consider:

Both large and more targeted databases that focus on communications or business also can bring back discussion of trends, in trade publications as well as more scholarly journal sources.  Try searching words relevant to your subject matter or short phrases (phrase enclosed in "quotation marks") in one or more of these databases


eBooks can also be uncovered by applying these Content Type refinements to the result of one's advanced Summon search:

  • Book/eBook
  • Book Chapter

Additional Tips On Accessing Sources - Opportunities and Obstacles


  • NOT ALL COMMERCIAL RESEARCH FIRMS MAKE REPORTS AVAILABLE IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLIENT RELATIONSHIP:  Recall that SU Libraries, like most academic libraries, may not have a client relationship (often will not) with commercial firms like Gartner, Forrester, or 451 Research (formerly "Yankee Group) - the latter, 451 Research, which is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence
  • CHECK THE LIBRARY'S "BROWSE ALL DATABASES" LIST:   When in doubt, see if the name is listed at the SU Libraries databases A to Z list (many of those working mainly with private sector clients will not be listed - although the library continually works with SU faculty and students to explore adding access that is feasible and affordable, and also evaluating the range of licensed databases we support now  (not all such information providers license access to their full trends reports to entire university campuses via an academic library) 
  • NOT ALL SUCH PROVIDERS LICENSE THE ENTIRE CORPUS OF THEIR REPORTS TO THIRD PARTY RESEARCH LIBRARIES ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES (VERY UNCOMMON):  In cases where the library does offer access to any such firm's research output, that is not a guarantee the nature of a subscription for a university campus opens up 100% of the research reporting the firm(s) are generating for commercial clients (this is generally not the case).  In other words, if the library enters into some access arrangements for content from Forrester or S&P Global Market Intelligence, this usually will not mean a university has access to 100% of research reporting the firm is generating.  Competition over the technologies themselves is generally too heated and the research firms quite guarded about opening up all of their work product.  Academic libraries, including here at SU - do remain on the look out for access opportunities we can license when feasible (e.g., feasible as to cost and also as to access for our full community at the university and not just a handful of persons)
  • USE FREE CONTENT TO ITS FULLEST:  Make the most of what you do learn from "freely available" segments of any of those research firms.  Some content may be fee, albeit usually quite limited
  • USE PROPER NAME TERMINOLOGY AT OTHER DATABASES AND SEARCH ENGINES:  Mine as best you can specific proper name terminology of the types of technologies in which you are interested, names of innovative companies or names of entrepreneurs, names of groups closely tied to invention or diffusion or distribution of a technology, and/or buzzwords or catch phrases employed by those research firms on their websites
  • Recall that same terminology and any proper named words or short phrases (enclose phrases in quotation marks) can be searched in library databases that have a focus on communications, information technology, business, and the like - and searched in the main SU Libraries search engine, Summon
  • While the entirety of reporting from Gartner or Forrester may not be immediately available for a university library, searching one (or more than one - individually and one at a time) of the names of these firms, combined with a named technology of interest OR combined with the word "trend" OR simply searching the research firm's name, itself alone - and doing so in large multidisciplinary databases like ProQuest or Ebsco or in a technology database like ACM Digital Library - may frequently uncover helpful secondary literature
  • Searching the name alone of any digital technology and sorting results from ProQuest or Summon or other databases also itself will reveal trends as one scans across the nature and frequency of published articles over time.  One of the subtle but always powerful differences between search results from licensed databases or Summon as compared to queries in Google is the ability to create genuine chronological sorts of your search results, which Google is quite imperfect in doing
  • REACH OUT TO THE NEWHOUSE SCHOOL LIBRARIAN:  When in doubt, consider contacting the Newhouse School Librarian, if there concepts and starting points leave you hitting too many dead ends

Help With Citing?

Need help on formatting the sources you cite in your academic writing (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.), visit SU Libraries Citation Support website,  or want access to full-fledged online bibliographic management systems-like "Mendeley" or 'Zotero?"  Visit SU Libraries site for Citation Management.