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Traditionally published sources

Publication method

undefinedIn categorizing sources, we have talked about the audience to which a source is directed. But there are other perspectives to consider as well.

One possible perspective is the way in which a source is published - how and by whom is the source made available to the public? 

What are traditionally published sources?

Traditionally published sources come from a commercial or academic publisher.



Books/e-books, focusing on different audiences:

  • popular books; 
  • professional/trade books;
  • scholarly books.

Periodicals (publications that are published regularly: daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly), again focusing on different audiences:

  • Popular periodicals:
    • newspapers:
      are usually based in a city and provide local news, as well as domestic and international news (e.g., The Washington Post);
    • magazines:
      some magazines provide news articles just like newspapers (e.g., Time, Newsweek). Other magazines focus on business or economic news and analysis (e.g., Forbes, The Economist, Fortune). Several well-known magazines focus on providing celebrity news (e.g., People, Entertainment Weekly). There are fashion magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan and magazines that focus on a particular (sometimes very serious) topic (e.g., Psychology Today, Environment). 
  • Professional/trade periodicals may use the name journal or magazine. They provide content that's of interest to anyone working in a particular profession or industry (e.g., Law Practice Magazine, Advertising Age).
  • Scholarly periodicals are typically called journals, with only a few exceptions (such as the scientific magazines Nature and Science). Examples of scholarly journals include Psychological Bulletin, European Economic Review, Journal of the History of Ideas, and Modern Theology. 


Publishers manage the editing, layout, printing, advertising, and distribution of traditional sources such as books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. They are widely available from public libraries, university libraries, (online) bookstores, but also from supermarkets and gas stations.


Newspapers, professional/trade journals and many magazines are available online as well as in print form. Nearly all scholarly journals have established digital versions (called e-journals). Any new quality journal will almost always be online-only these days, for economic reasons. Print books are also increasingly available as e-books.

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