Google is great. I’m not going to lie. The web, however, is filled with content that was purposefully written to attract attention, i.e., clickbait. While I always encourage participants in my courses to use Wikipedia as a starting point, I also encourage them to go beyond an encyclopedia entry or two. The easiest next step is to find something in a specialist encyclopedia. The steps that follow are looking up topics in journals and in finding them in books.
Using the Library in Person
If you are on campus, it may be easier simply to use the library: Dupré Library is open, is also with some limits.
Using the Library Virtually
Please note that, in most cases, the direct link to the original source of an article or other kind of resource is posted in course materials: it’s important that you understand for yourself from whence information comes and it is expected that you will take some time to chart the network of sources for yourself. In some cases, the linked material will be openly available and accessible to you. In other cases, the link will be to one of a number of content aggregators for which the university has subscribed to make access available to you. (Please remember that servers cost money, both in terms of hardware and in terms of the people who maintain the hardware and the software. The university’s subscription helps to underwrite those costs and makes the business of science and scholarship possible.)
Quite often, a link will take you to JSTOR, if only because that is where a number of folklore studies journals are archived. The links look like this if you hover over them or if you right- or control-click to copy them:
If you are on-campus, you will be taken directly to the JSTOR, or Project Muse, page, because most providers have registered the university’s IP address and honor all requests coming from the university automatically.
If you are off-campus, you will need to do a bit of legwork. You will need to go through the university’s proxy server, which essentially authenticates you as being a part of the university and thus able to access the requested material. Once you are logged onto the server, it can often be easier to copy the DOI portion of the JSTOR URL into the proxy address. (Easiest way is to click on the link to JSTOR.) In most instances it looks like this:
Do you see where the identifying number of the article is located? There are two sets of numbers at the end of the URL:
Together they make up the DOI for this article. The alternative, of course, is that you simply use the citation information to search for the article yourself, which is never a bad idea.