Keeley Library Student Pages:

Taking Notes

  • Take all notes on 5 x 8 index cards or pieces of paper.
  • Place each note on a separate card. You will find that the same source of information will provide different points that you will want to use at different times in your paper.
  • Write on only one side of the card. (It's easy to overlook information written on the back of a card.)
  • Avoid plagiarism! Don't copy sentences from a source without showing you are using a direct quotation.
  • Put quotation marks around all quotes.
  • Remember to paraphrase or summarize most of your notes. Save direct quotations for particularly important or powerful passages.

Arrange your index card in the following way:
  • Use the top line for the subject of the quote or information.
  • Use the middle of the card for the information.
  • Use the bottom for the source of the information (book, periodical, or other source.)

Sample note card:

Government Policy about Wetlands

The government has not always been in the business of protecting wetlands. Until the 1960's, government policies encouraged - and even paid for - turning wetlands into other uses. Draining and filling these water soaked lands provided fields and pastures for farmers and gave cities room to grow.

Bedford, Barbara. "Wetlands: Mired in Controversy," 1993 Science Supplement. World Book Annual Science Supplement. Chicago: World Book, 1992. p. 13

The sources at the bottom of your note cards will be used for your bibliography. It is important to make a note of all your sources while you are taking notes, so that you won't have to retrace your steps later to locate the sources.

Sample bibliography:


Bedford, Barbara. "Wetlands: Mired in Controversy." 1993 Science
       Supplement. World Book Annual Science Supplement.
       Chicago: World Book, 1992. 13-14.

Smith, Robert Leo, "Wetlands" in World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 21
        Chicago: World Book, 1990. 255-257.

The subjects at the top of your note cards will be used to develop an outline for your research paper.

Rough Outline:

 Saving Our Wetlands                              (Title of your report)

I  Introduction

II  Kinds of Wetlands
    A. Bogs
    B. Fens
    C. Marshes
    D. Swamps

III Government Policy about Wetlands        (See note card example above.)
    A. Before 1860
    B. Recent Policy

IV. The Role of Environmental Groups
    A. Public Awareness
    B. Legislative Action

V. Conclusion

Bibliography                                                 (List of sources used for this report)

Notes can also be taken using electronic tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint, etc. (see Which Office program should you use for note taking?).

Internet Resources

Library Catalog

To locate items in the library catalog, search in iBistro. You may want to limit your search to search only the Keeley Library, instead of all of the SAILS libraries.

SAILS Databases

As members of SAILS, Durfee students and teachers can access journal and newspaper articles as well as online reference books, from the library's computers and from home. Simply go to the online catalog page, access the online catalog, and click on Online Resources button.

Selected Reference Books

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Last Updated: May 25, 2014