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IDS 101: Who is Bob Dylan?: Using the Library

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Reference Books

Below are key reference books that provide a general overview of a topic or help identify synonyms, related terms, or basic data. These sources often include references and lists of further readings.

Authoritative Reference Sources vs Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a great resource for getting general info about something, but because anyone can contribute or change its content it is considered unreliable.  College faculty typically do not consider Wikipedia a credible information source. 

Instead, use the library's print or electronic encyclopedias, dictionaries, or other reference books to backup the basic information of your research paper. These resources have gone through an editorial process to check for accuracy. To the right and below are some resources that may be of use.

Humanities and Fine Arts Librarian

What Librarians Can Do for You

You can set up an individual research consultation with a subject librarian for research help. Here are a few other things that we can do for you:

  • Show you the best places to begin your research.
  • Locate the information you need within our library or elsewhere.
  • Help you cite information correctly (e.g. APA style).
  • Judge the quality & reliability of information.
  • Teach you how to use information ethically (e.g. avoiding plagiarism).
  • Determine whether something is peer-reviewed.

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A personal Librarian is your "go-to" person in the library. First-year students are paired up with a librarian who will be your individual contact person within the library from day one. Find your Personal Librarian here.

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Mark O. Hatfield Library Building

Course Description

 Bob Dylan is the only popular recording artist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and is quite possibly the United States’ most revered living songwriter. Across a 60-year career, he has written over 600 songs, released 39 studio albums (among dozens of other releases), played nearly 4,000 concerts, and continues to tour at the current age of 81. Dylan’s music is popular, selling more than 125 million albums. His music has also been influential, with musicians around the world citing him as an inspiration for their own work. Cover versions of his songs have been recorded by artists as varied as Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Adele, Los Lobos, Stevie Wonder, Cat Power, Sonic Youth, Johnny Cash, Weyes Blood, Antony & the Johnsons, Ministry, the Roots, Nico, and Caetano Veloso. Despite (or perhaps because of) decades in the public eye, Dylan remains an intensely private person, an enigma, a subject who intentionally throws interviewers and fans off his track, and a creator and constant manipulator of a slippery, mercurial persona that likely contains both truth and fiction. We will focus primarily on Dylan’s creative products, both lyrics and recordings, to pose questions about him both as a creative artist and as a person. Along the way, we will investigate how he has drawn on his own influences to author an astonishing array of songs that span many genres. We will draw upon a multitude of sources to deepen our understanding, including biographies, a psychobiography, literary and other scholarly appraisals of Dylan’s creative work, music criticism, documentaries and movies, interviews of both Dylan and his close associates, and his memoirs and other writings. Finally, we will apply theories and frameworks from personality psychology to form a deeper conception of him as an individual.