Tuesday, July 8, 2008

CompPile: One-Stop Shopping for Composition Research

This summer, I’m exploring a variety of Web sites and tools that you can use in the classroom and/or for your own professional development. Each week, I’ll talk about how it works, point out related sites, and discuss classroom connections. This week, I explain why writing teachers at the secondary or college level should know about CompPile.

So what is it? As CompPile is a database of 94956 records that catalog books, journal articles, and other publications in composition, rhetoric, technical writing, ESL, and discourse studies. The collection has a full range of search capabilities. Just take a look at the screen shot of the homepage below:

And because the materials in CompPile have been catalogued by composition and rhetoric teachers, they include keywords and other information that you probably won’t find if you simply use Google to search for resources. The site catalogues articles from 306 journals, review essays, books, dissertations, and articles in edited collections or anthologies.

Let’s say that you wanted to know more about using portfolios, but you need to do a bit more research before you settle on your final plans. Go to CompPile and do a Quick Search for the word portfolios. In no time, the database will return the first of 627 entries that discuss using portfolios in writing instruction. You'd probably want to narrow the search down. Go back to the CompPile homepage and you can narrow things down by date, specific journal, authors, and words in the entry’s annotation. Once you focus and find the best resources, you an export a list of resources or print entries as you find them. You will streamline your research time by finding the best resources quickly, and you’ll have a ready list for your trip to the library!

If you teach writing, you should spend some time playing with CompPile. You’ll find new resources to read and a great new tool. When you visit, be sure to check out CompFAQs, the site’s collection of answers to frequently asked questions about composition and writing instruction.

The site is a live and growing thing, always adding more information and resources for writing teachers. To see the latest additions to the collection, simply visit the site blog, and you’ll find details on recently catalogued items, information on site upkeep, and other interesting information. If you’d like to contribute the site, check out the details on how you can help on the Volunteers page.


fran said...

Tracy, Another good tool, and one which returns the actual articles, is www.iconn.org. This was set up by Connecticut libraries for access to many otherwise expensive databases. You don't actually need a Connecticut library card to use it, and you can even email many of the articles to yourself. Couldn't do without it.

Kyle said...

Just a friendly note: the screen shots show that the resource is called CompPile, with two p's. If people try to go to compile.org they'll end up at the wrong site, though comppile.org works. It's a play on words--a pile of comp!

Traci Gardner said...

Edited the entry to correct my misspelling of the site name. D0H! Thanks Kyle =)

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