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RHET 219: Communication, Culture, and New Media: Popular Articles

What is a Popular Source?

Popular sources are written for a general audience and are intended to inform readers on a broad range of topics, such as news events, topics of current interest, and the business and entertainment worlds.  Examples include newspapers, magazines, best-sellers, and consumer-oriented websites. They can be useful for getting ideas for a topic or for background information. When used to document historical events, cultural practices, or public opinion, popular sources may be valuable to researchers as primary source material. 

Typical characteristics of popular sources:

  • informal in tone and scope, with language that is easily understood by the general public
  • often include illustrations or advertisements
  • content usually written by journalists, staff writers, or free-lance writers
  • do not report on original research, are not peer-reviewed, and rarely include citations

Finding Full Text

Many databases offered on the library's website include the full text of articles.  Click on the pdf or html icon to download the article.

If full text is not available, click the Find It or 360 Link icons to see if there is access from another source.  Look for:360 Link Find Full Text button icon or full text finder icon displayed for each item in the databases offered from the library's website.  In Google Scholar, look for Find Full Text @ Oberlin.  Access at publisher's websites is generally limited to subscribers.

Full-text is not always accessible for immediate download.  The 360 Link may lead to an intermediary page that offers access through Interlibrary loan.  If you have trouble, consult library staff.


New York Times Pass

Institutional access to the is provided to all current Oberlin College students, faculty, and staff.  
If you are new to campus or have not previously registered for Oberlin's institutional NYTimes access

  • While on campus and connected to the Oberlin’s network, visit
  • Create an account (claim a Pass) using your email address.
  • You have successfully claimed a Pass when you see the Start Your Access screen.
  • The Pass will be good for 364 days (at which time you can reactivate your Pass).
  • Once registered you’ll be able to access by logging into your account from any computer/tablet/device you use.

If you have previously registered for Oberlin's institutional NYTimes access

  • 364 days from when you first registered for your Pass it will expire, and you will need to reactivate your Pass. 
  • For many on campus this will be on or soon following 9/30, which is when the announcements of this service went out last year - but you'll know when your pass expires, since you won't have full access any longer. You may not reactivate your Pass until your previous access has expired.  

To reactivate your Pass:

  • While on-site and connected to the Oberlin’s network, visit
  • Make sure you are logged into the account with which you activated your last Pass.
  • You will be granted a new Pass and see the Start Your Access screen.
  • The new Pass will be good for 364 days.

Please contact Jessica Grim - - with any questions.