Dakota County Technical College Library

Composition I Subject Guide

Your Librarian
Barbara Tuttle
Reference & Instruction Librarian


Contact Info:
DCTC Library
1300 145th St. E
Rosemount, MN


Reference books and online resources like Britannica Online and Credo Reference are great for improving your background knowledge on almost any topic. These resources also provide images and videos, which you can use to liven up your papers and presentations.

Britannica Online

Credo Reference

Helpful Reference Books for Composition I
Cover Image
Research and Documentation in the Digital Age - Hacker, Diana
Call Number: ZA4375 H327
Publication Date: 2015
Cover Art
Rules for Writers, 7th ed. - Hacker, Diana
Call Number: PE1408 .H277 2011
ISBN: 9780312647360
Publication Date: 2011

Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog - Badke, William.
Call Number: Z710 .B23
Publication Date: 2011

Reference Ebooks

Here are some reference ebooks from Credo Reference and EBSCOhost.

The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style Publication Date: 2005


Cover ArtAmerican Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th ed.
ISBN: 9781784022778
Publication Date: 2011
Cover Art
Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well - Rozakis, Laurie
Call Number: ebook
ISBN: 9780585249391
Publication Date: 2000
Style Guides
You'll find these citation style guides in our Reference collection:

A Pocket Style Manual: APA Edition

Pocket Style Guide: APA Edition
Call Number: MAIN  PE1408 .H26 2016

MLA handbook for writers of research papers, 7th ed.
Call Number: Reference LB2369 .G53 2009

The Chicago manual of style, 16th ed.
Call Number: Reference Z253 .U69 2010
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Contact Us

Contact All of Us

Use the e-mail address or phone number below to reach us as quickly as possible:


These are shared by all library staff, so whoever checks their e-mail or answers the phone first will help you.

Contact a Specific Librarian

Danielle Hoveland, Circulation Technician
Areas of responsibility: circulation, interlibrary loan (ILL), course reserves, weeding
Regular hours: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday throughThursday, 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM Friday
Danielle.Hoveland@dctc.edu , 651-423-8654

Michael Kirby, Head Librarian
Areas of responsibility: budget, collection development, policies, subscriptions, systems, web site
Regular hours: 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday
Michael.Kirby@dctc.edu , 651-423-8406

Barbara Tuttle, Reference & Instruction Librarian
Areas of responsibility: collection development, instruction, reference, research assistance
Regular hours: 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Mon., Tues., Wed. and Friday
Barbara.Tuttle@dctc.edu , 651-423-8345

About This Guide

Welcome to the DCTC Library's Composition I research guide. This guide will help you to

  • use reference books and online resources
  • find books, videos, ebooks, and online videos
  • find magazine, journal, and newspaper articles
  • find trustworthy information on the web
  • and cite your sources

For a basic introduction to the resources and services available from the DCTC Library, please see our DCTC Library 101 research guide.

Photo by Hakan Dahlstrom

Find Books & Videos

MnPALS Plus: Our Catalog
Use our catalog, MnPALS Plus, to find books and videos in our collection, as well as ebooks and online videos.

The best way to begin a search in MnPALS Plus is to enter one or two keywords on your topic. To focus your search, use the Refine your search links that appear to the left of your results. You can also click on a relevant title and look for Similar Items on the right side of the screen.


Our collection is organized by Library of Congress call numbers. If you like to browse, most books and videos about SUBJECT are shelved in the CALL NUMBER (SUBJECT), CALL NUMBER (SUBJECT), and CALL NUMBER (SUBJECT) call number ranges. Ask a librarian if you need help finding anything.

Interlibrary Loan

If you don't find what you're looking for here, you can expand your search to include all libraries in the MnPALS system. Items from other libraries can be requested through interlibrary loan (ILL). The items will be delivered to the DCTC Library and you'll receive a notice when they're ready to pick up.

Films on Demand
There are over 44,000 online videos in Films On Demand, which you can also find in our catalog, MnPALS Plus.

There are more than 160,000 ebooks in our EBSCOhost eBook Collection, which you can also find in our catalog, MnPALS Plus.

EBSCOhost eBooks

Pro/Con Issues
Social Issues Databases
​If your assignment is to write an 
argument or persuasion paper, you'll be interested in two databases that specialize in social, political, and controversial issues. These databases cover similar topics but in different ways, with a different mix of articles, reports and weblinks. Each provides impartial, reputable coverage representing all points of view.

Opposing Viewpoints


Opposing Viewpoints In Context is an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues. Drawing on the acclaimed Greenhaven Press series, the solution features continuously updated viewpoints, topic overviews, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites organized into a user-friendly portal experience. 

Points of View
Points of View Reference Center compiles articles and reports from magazines, newspapers, TV and radio broadcasts, and other sources under a wide range of subject headings, from Abortion to Zionism.
Points of View Reference Center

SIRS Researcher
SIRS (Social Issues Research Series) 
provides a wealth of articles, reports and background on a huge range of subjects. It's also a good place to check if you're having trouble coming up with an article topic.


Magazine, Newspaper & Journal Articles

These are just a few of our Online Resources for finding articles. The best way to begin searching a database is to enter one or two keywords on your topic. Each database is different, but there will be ways to limit and focus your results so that you find the most relevant and useful articles available.

Please visit the Library or contact us if you have any questions about our databases or if you'd like help finding articles on your topic.

See PALSconnect Linker for a list of magazines and journals you can access online, with links to full text.

PALSconnect Linker

Our EBSCOhost databases are an excellent place to search for magazine and journal articles.

EBSCO databases

Our Gale databases are another great place to find magazine and journal articles.


Search over 1,300 full-text newspapers and news sources with ProQuest Newspapers.


Find full-text articles, legal information, and business content from more than 11,000 sources using LexisNexis Academic.

Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writing help to all DCTC students, including help with citing your sources. You can schedule an appointment by e-mail, phone (651-423-8420), or in person at the Learning Center (room 2-141).

How to Cite Your Sources

There are different styles for citing the sources you use in your assignments. Your instructor will let you know whether to use APA, Chicago, MLA, or some other style.

Here are some introductory guides to these styles from the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

For more details and examples, check these style guides.


Our catalog and many databases can provide citations for the books, videos, and articles you find in them. Just look for a link that says Cite or Citation while the catalog or article record is on the screen, then select the appropriate style. It's easy to copy and paste citations into your bibliography! Be aware that these citations aren't always 100% accurate, so check them before turning in your assignment.

To cite sources from LexisNexis Academic, see this guide from the McGraw-Page Library at Randolph-Macon College.

Evaluating Web Sources

Here are some useful guides from other universities to help you evaluate information you find on the web.

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet (Johns Hopkins University)

Evaluating Print vs. Internet Sources (Purdue University)

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask (UC Berkeley)


Avoid Plagiarism​

"Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment."

This definition of plagiarism comes from the DCTC Student Code of Conduct, which you'll find on page 31 of the 2012 Student Handbook. See how easy that was?

Citing your sources is an essential step in the research process. This allows others to verify your information and gives credit to previous researchers and writers for their hard work.

Academic & Career Development

LearningExpress Library is a massive database of academic and career development resources, featuring hundreds of online tutorials, practice tests and ebooks. Features include:

Online Tutorials

  • downloading ebooks

Practice Tests

  • college entrance exams
  • occupational exams
  • joining the military


  • reading
  • writing
  • math
  • becoming a U.S.citizen
  • computer

Career Development

  • job searching
  • writing resumes
  • preparing for interviews

Click HERE for more information.

The following logo links to the Dakota County Library's listing of online resources (not a direct link to Lynda.com). You can scroll down the page to access Lynda.com.

Dakota County Library offers free access to Lynda.com. All you need is a library card! The library website says that Lynda.com is:

Easy-to-use video tutorials to help you learn software, technical, creative and  business skills — anytime, anywhere. Log in with your Dakota County Library card, create your profile and you are ready to start learning.  The Library’s contract allows for 75 simultaneous users – if that number is reached, you may be asked to wait until a seat is free to use.
Funded by MELSA*

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