Dakota County Technical College Library

Visual Communications Research Guide

About This Guide
Welcome to the DCTC Library's Visual Communications 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.

Art by David Zero

Some rights reserved

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 15,000 online videos in Films On Demand, which you can also find in our catalog, MnPALS Plus.


There are more than 131,000 ebooks in our EBSCOhost eBook Collection, which you can also find in our catalog, MnPALS Plus.

EBSCOhost eBooks

Magazine, Journal, & Newspaper 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.

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


Search over 1,100 newspapers and news sources with ProQuest Newspapers.


Find full-text articles, legal information, and business content from more than 15,000 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, see the style guides listed on the right side of this page.


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.

Style Guides
You'll find these citation style guides in our Reference collection:

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.
Call Number: Reference BF76.7 .P83 2010

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
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*


Fall & Spring Semesters: 
Monday - Thursday: 
7:30 AM to 6:00 PM
7:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Summer Sessions: 
Monday - Thursday: 
8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Follow the Library on Social Media
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The DCTC Library has put together some great boards with YOU in mind! We have boards reflecting our majors as well as helpful boards with pins for Career Development, Community Resources, and more. Check out our boards and send us pins that you think would benefit the DCTC community. We're always adding new pins, so check back often!
  Visit DCTC Library's profile on Pinterest.
Your Librarian
Barbara Tuttle
Reference & Instruction Librarian


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


All of our online resources and librarian-approved web sites are bookmarked in Delicious.



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

PALSconnect Linker


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 Visual Communications in the DCTC Library

Here are some books you'll find either in our reference collection or on reserve.

2015 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market - Mary Burzlaff Bostic (Editor)
Call Number: N8600 .A746 2015
ISBN: 9781440335686
Publication Date: 2014
Cover Art
The Designer's Lexicon - Alastair Campbell
Call Number: NC1000 .C28 2000
ISBN: 0811826252
Publication Date: 2000
Cover Art
The Glossary of Digital Photography - Blair, John G.
Call Number: TR267 .B55 2008
ISBN: 9781933952048
Publication Date: 2008

Credo Reference Ebooks for Visual Communications

Here are some reference ebooks from Credo Reference.


The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists Herbert Edward Read; Nikos Strangos Publication Date: 1994

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 through Thursday, Friday 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM Fridays
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 Librarian
Areas of responsibility: collection development, instruction, reference, research assistance
Regular hours: 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
Barbara.Tuttle@dctc.edu , 651-423-8345

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