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8. Using Information: Reading Exercise

Lesy, M. (2007). Visual Literacy. Journal Of American History, 94(1), 143-153.

ABSTRACT: The article reports on visual literacy and the psychological aspects of photography. The author offers his opinions on the complexities of photographs and reports on the various levels of meaning behind picture taking. Particular attention is given to the psychological aspects of photography and photographers. Additional article topics include the importance of historical photographs, the impact of the Internet and digital media on the profession, as well as the importance of preserving photographs.

The following passages are taken from the article (and accompanying abstract) above. Read the passages below and identify the most likely role (background, exhibit, argument, or method) of each featured source. Expand answers to see our take on it:

Passage 1

Solving one scholarly problem - the need to sort out an image's multiple meanings - opens a clear view of others. No matter how mundane, utilitarian, or circumscribed a photograph's origins may be, an image is not a sentence. Images are forms of sensory data, processed by the right brain. No matter how judicious and objective a historian fancies herself, a photograph will elicit projections and associations in her, stir her imagination, before she even notices what is happening to her. A photograph "is a function, an experience, not a thing," said Minor White, a mid-twentieth-century photographer whom Walt Whitman would have recognized as a fellow poet. "Cameras are far more impartial than their owners and employers, " White went on to say. "Projection and empathy [are] natural attributes in man...   the photograph invariably functions as a mirror of at least some part of the viewer."

SOURCE CITED: Minor White, "Equivalence: The Perennial Trend," PSA Journal, 29 July 1963), 17. 20.

Our Answer:


Passage 2

The problem is not that there are too few images, but too many. Historical photographs exist in huge numbers, in well-ordered collections, presided over by knowledgeable curators. More and more of the collections are being digitized. Overload and saturation are only a mouse click away.

One example: in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress there are 164,000 black-and-white photographs made between 1935 and 1945 by photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information.

"America from the Great Depression to World War 11: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1955-1945," Library of Congress: American Memory, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsowhome.html

Our Answer:

Where to Go From Here

Now that you have a better understanding of how sources are used in a paper, go check out this related tutorial on planning and structuring your paper.

If you're interested in integrating sources into your paper more effectively, go check out this OSU Writing Center tutorial on summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting.

Section Bibliography

Bean, John C. Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2011. Print.

Bizup, J. "Beam: a Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing." Rhetoric Review. 27.1 (2008): 72-86. Print.

Blehert, D. S., Hicks, A. C., Behr, M., Meteyer, C. U., Berlowski-Zier, B. M., Buckles, E. L., Coleman, J. T., ... Stone, W. B. (January 01, 2009). Bat white-nose syndrome: an emerging fungal pathogen?. Science (new York, N.y.), 323, 5911.)

Booker, M. Keith. "Manufacturing Taste: The Culture Industry, Children's Culture, and the Globalization of American Values." Pop Culture Universe: Icons, Idols, Ideas. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 19 June 2012..

Ge, X, G Haubl, and T Elrod. "What to Say When: Influencing Consumer Choice by Delaying the Presentation of Favorable Information." Journal of Consumer Research. 38.6 (2012): 1004-1021. Web. 20 June 2012.

Khandekar, Rajiv. "Screening And Public Health Strategies For Diabetic Retinopathy In The Eastern Mediterranean Region." Middle East African Journal Of Ophthalmology 19.2 (2012): 178-184. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 June 2012.

"Unraveling the Citation Trail," Project Information Literacy Smart Talk, no. 8, Sandra Jamieson and Rebecca Moore Howard, The Citation Project, August 15, 2011. http://projectinfolit.org/smart-talks/item/110-sandra-jamieson-rebecca-moore-howard


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