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Syracuse University Libraries

PRL 206 - Public Relations Principles and Concepts (Spring 2022)

Research starting points from SU Libraries for PRL 206 students

Physical Book Locations @ Syracuse

Circulating physical books on public relations reside primarily on Bird Library’s 3rd Floor {Call numbers beginning with HD 59}.  Additional PR titles can be found on Bird Library's 4th Floor {Call numbers beginning with HM 263}

Other locations may also hold titles of interest.  For example, titles with a health focus may be at the Carnegie Library; titles with a primary focus on sport management may be located with call numbers relating to recreation (call numbers beginning with GV on Bird Library's 3rd floor) or shelved with communications management books (call numbers beginning with HF on Bird's 3rd floor, intermixed with a great many books on business and commerce).

Remember also that SUMMON can be used to retrieve ebooks.  To limit to the ebook format as a search result, after getting a list of multiple content types in reply to keywords you type in relevant to public relations, apply BOTH of these two refinements from the left column of the SUMMON search results screen:

  • Book/eBook
  • Full Text Online

More Books in PR...via SUMMON searching

Want to browse or search all book collections of the SU Libraries?


CONTENT TYPES (BOOKS):  After getting search results in SUMMON - apply a content refinement called "book/ebook." Add the further refinement - "Full Text Online" - if interested solely in ebooks.

RESULT SORT ORDER:  Switching the results sorting from "relevance" (with large result sets) will get your very current book titles near top of your list, but may be only tangentially relevant.  ||  Often it is recommended when dealing with results sets of 300, 400, 4000 or more - to leave the sort on relevance, but use the left margin refinement for "publication date" to specify a range(s) or time period of greatest interest.

Summon screenshot

Summon Search Tips


  • Combine a search phrase like "public relations" with another meaningful term(s) that implies or indicates the particular sub-field within PR you are exploring  (e.g., "public relations" AND tourism; "public relations" AND history).
  • In all searches you enter in SUMMON or any database, enclose search phrases of more than one word in quotation marks ("public relations").
  • Combining search terms with the AND connector narrows search results. Combining with the OR connector broadens search results.
  • Remember too that any word or phrase indicative of an important concept for your topic may have synonyms and closely related terms you also wish to search.
    • For example, "compensation," is a closely related term to words like "salary" or "salaries."
    • "jobs" is a closely related term to "careers."
    • Use of a search word like "vocational" may also be helpful in retrieving relevant results (especially when seeking full length books via SUMMON)
  • Also keep in mind and be on the look out within books, article and websites you peruse about your PR specialization for any specific proper name words or phrases typically assigned to those who perform a public relations function in that industry section.  Those words are phrases can be excellent search terms, and they may not always literally empoy the exact phrase, "public relations."
  • In most search engines and databases adding the asterisk symbol (*) to the end of the root of a word brings back both singular and plural endings.
    • a search for salar* brings back mentions of "salary" as well as the plural, "salaries."


  • Prior to entering a search, or after results are generated, apply SUMMON "content type" refinements indicating types of source content you’d like to review.
  • Examples of leading content type options pertinent to PRL 206 assignments include, among others:
    • book/ebook
    • reference*
    • journal article**
    • trade publication article* *
    • magazine article

*The Summon content type refinement called "reference" will limit results to reference style topical overview sources, such as encylopedias, handbooks and directories.  Many are available online as ebooks.

**A weakness in SUMMON when it comes to professional/careers research is that often a great many trade publication articles (i.e., business and industry magazines) are sorted together with more formal, academic journal articles.  So be sure to review the journal article category in SUMMON if seeking industry magazines.  Article databases like Business Source Elite and ProQuest do a better job with accurately separating out the "trade" literature, which can be quite important for PR research.  Once again, content type refinement options usually appear at the left or right margin of search results screens.

Sage Knowledge

Business Expert Press