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Mortgage Pathfinder


									                                                        Mortgage Pathfinder 1


                           Mortgage Pathfinder:
             Resources for Learning About Your First Mortgage

                             Tiffany Herbon

                         Emporia State University

                                LI 812XU
                       Online Information Retrieval
                             Martha Talman
                                                                    Mortgage Pathfinder 2


       The purpose of this project was to create a pathfinder for a real or fictional client

for a specific search topic. My “client’s” search topic evolved from my own personal

interest in looking into buying a home. As the topics involved with buying a home are

varied and extensive, my client decided to focus on one aspect. She is interested in

mortgages, what they are, how they work, mortgage calculators, and just any mortgage

information that would be needed or helpful for a first time homebuyer in the United

States. My proposed research path is to start with general mortgage information in a

variety of resources including books, web sites, journal articles, etc. and then progress

towards more specific and advanced topics regarding mortgages that will be helpful in

her search for mortgage information as a first time homebuyer. My client already

understands basic Boolean searching so I don’t have to explain why and how I use it in

the sample searches and results that I have provided.
                                                                    Mortgage Pathfinder 3

                                   Mortgage Pathfinder:

                   Resources for Learning About Your First Mortgage

       I know you already have a pretty basic understanding of Boolean or logical

operators and searching techniques, so those will come in handy. If you would like

further information or even just a brush-up on the information I would recommend you

check out the following sites:

Once you feel comfortable with these techniques then you can get started on your

information searching process. In this pathfinder I will provide you with several

different types of resources, how to search for them, and also some specific suggested

resources. Because there is such an extensive amount of information, I would

recommend that you critically evaluate each resource you find throughout your search

process for accuracy, relevance, timeliness, etc., so that you get the best and most useful

information possible. For further information regarding critical evaluation I refer you to

the Online Writing Lab:

So enjoy this pathfinder, please be sure and ask me or your local librarian if you need

help to refine your search and happy hunting!
                                                                     Mortgage Pathfinder 4


         The first place I would suggest you start your search is at either your local public

library or if you have access, at an academic library. The following call numbers will

help you find general information:

         Dewey:         332.72 and 332.72 – Mortgage Loans

                        338.338 – House Buying

         Library of Congress Subject Headings:

                        Mortgages – United States

                        Mortgage Loans – United States

You can also search for titles using keywords or subject headings.

I recommend the Salt Lake City Public Library’s website:

Click on the tab in the top left corner that says Library Catalog. Use the drop down box

to select either subject or keyword and enter the term: Mortgage* Depending on which

search you use you will find a variety of resources, most of which are applicable to your

information need.

Sample search:

Keyword: Mortgage* not mortgaged

(The asterisk denotes truncation, which will find records containing the keywords

mortgage or mortgages or mortgaged, and then we eliminated mortgaged.)
                                                                    Mortgage Pathfinder 5

Sample results:

       As you can see below in Figure 1, the top 3 results look interesting and address

either the general topic of home buying which would include information on mortgage

loans or on the topic of mortgage loans themselves. Most of the results are books, but

there are a few exceptions such as videos, book-on-tape, and CD-ROMs.

Figure 1

If you wish you can further limit your results to publication date, material type, language,

or available copies.

       If e-books are more convenient to you, the William Allen White Library has a

collection and you can do a subject or keyword search and then limit the results just to
                                                                   Mortgage Pathfinder 6

e-book format. There are only a few returns, but they seem like good general information


Internet Sources:

       There are thousands of internet sites dedicated to mortgage loan information,

calculators, applying for a mortgage, etc. In addition many web sites that provide general

information for first time homebuyers also have excellent information regarding

mortgages. Some sites I recommend are:

       Mortgage-X: Mortgage Information Service

       The Star: Loan Descriptions

       Home Buyer’s Information Center 

You can also do your own search for additional sites by using a search engine. I

recommend the Advanced Search feature on Yahoo or Google. Instead of lumping all of

your information together I would use this feature to focus on specific aspects of


Sample Search:

Mortgage* and calculator*

       I then limited it only to pages updated in the past year and only those in English,

and this provides you with sites that include mortgage calculators. Many of the sites you
                                                                      Mortgage Pathfinder 7

come across will have information on all of the aspects your interested in, so this process

isn’t required to find the information, but I think you will find it helpful to search this

way in order to not become too overwhelmed.


       You will use databases to search for articles. There are some scholarly articles

regarding mortgages, but as a first time homebuyer I wouldn’t recommend them.

Articles that will be of interest to you are more for the consumer and general public. I

recommend that these articles be read after you have done some exploring of your own in

the other resources. You can also find several interesting and useful newspaper articles

from database searches. Some sample journals that will frequently contain information

regarding mortgages and can be found in print or online include:

       Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine

       National Mortgage News

       Money Marketing


The databases I recommend you use in your search are:

       General Reference Gold Center

       Expanded Academic ASAP
                                                                    Mortgage Pathfinder 8

Sample Search: General Reference Center Gold

        Access Infotrac’s General Reference Center Gold through the Salt Lake City

Public Library’s research center. Using the subject search type: Mortgage* and loan*

You will get an extensive list of various subject headings that you can explore if you

wish, but you will find the most relevant information in the second category under

“Mortgage Loans”. From there you can explore the newspaper and journal articles in

depth. If you just type in the search term: mortgage* you will get an even more extensive

list of subjects.

        As you can see this database can be used to explore more in depth and you can

experiment with finding articles regarding specific aspects of mortgages using the

Boolean search methods. You can also alter the sample search I provided by changing it

to a keyword search instead of a subject search, but the results you get will not be as


        Hopefully this pathfinder has helped you find the general information you need

regarding mortgages. For a good glossary of terms, see the Home Buyer’s Information

Center website:

Using this vocabulary you can even further refine your searches and explore more in

depth within the subject. As always, please let me know if I can be of any assistance in

your information searching process. It has been a pleasure to create this pathfinder to

assist you with your information needs.
                                                                    Mortgage Pathfinder 9

                                 Annotated Bibliography

Esswein, Pat Mertz. (2005, August). A Mortgage for Every Buyer. Kiplinger’s

      Personal Finance Magazine, 59(8), 85. Retrieved March 8, 2006, from

      Expanded Academic ASAP database (A134116758).

      Short and succinct article that explains the differences between the basic

      mortgage types, their pros and cons, and what risks they carry. Esswein as

      assistant editor of Kiplinger’s has been writing in this field for sometime, though

      her background didn’t start in finance. I believe that the common person’s

      perspective comes through in her writer and is beneficial to the reader.

Fannie Mae. (n.d.). Fannie Mae. Retrieved March 8, 2006, from

      This website was helpful though a little boring. The homepage is not inviting and

      the links for first-time homebuyers are not prominently placed. Once I got past

      that and explored the site a little more, I did find that it has useful and valuable

      information for first time homebuyers including basic information, brochures,

      property searches, mortgage searches, calculators, and even suggested financial

      counselors. Fannie Mae is recognized as one of the foremost companies in

      providing affordable housing and home ownership opportunities for minorities.

Guttentag, Jack M. (2004). The Mortgage Encyclopedia: an authoritative guide to

      mortgage programs, practices, prices, and pitfalls. New York: McGraw-Hill.

      This book was a nice reference source to refer to. It includes not only definition

      of mortgage terms A to Z, but also explanations and examples in some cases. It
                                                                 Mortgage Pathfinder 10

      doesn’t make for fun reading from cover to cover, but I found it very valuable to

      refer to when coming across unfamiliar terms. Guttentag is a Professor of

      Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and has written numerous articles and

      books regarding the home loan market.

Guttentag, Jack M. (2006). Mortgage Professor’s Website. Retrieved March 8,

      2006, from

      This website is from the same author who wrote The Mortgage Encyclopedia, but

      this website provides much more in-depth information. At first glance this

      website looks fairly uncomplicated, but upon further perusal, it is a monster. Just

      browsing the Table of Contents link is proof. Other nice features include being

      able to leave questions for the author and recent columns by the author. Some of

      the content has not been updated in several years, so I wonder about overall

      accuracy and currency, but for an overall look at mortgage both basic and more

      in-depth, this is an excellent site.

Heavens, Alan J. (1996, June 8). A mortgage is no simple matter anymore.

      Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 8, 2006, from General Reference

      Center Gold database (CJ18370689).

      Heavens has been a reporter for 35 years, and has been writing about home

      buying issues for 14 years. This article provides a nice overview of the

      background and history of the mortgage industry and how and why it has changed

      over the years. He also explained the evolution of the different types of

      mortgages in a very concise and understandable manner.
                                                                Mortgage Pathfinder 11

Johnson, Randy. (2001). How to Find a Home and Get a Mortgage on the Internet.

      New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

      This was a great book that explains in layman’s terms the intricacies of finding a

      home and obtaining a mortgage over the internet. It even gives examples and

      evaluates different websites and provides screenshots. Even if you’re not

      planning on purchasing a home or obtaining a mortgage online, it is an invaluable

      source for providing basic information and you can use what he teaches to find

      information online.

Reed, David. (2004). Mortgages 101: Quick Answers to Over 250 Critical Questions

      About Your Home Loan. New York: American Management Association.

      I liked that each section of this book was prefaced with a question and then

      proceeded to answer it. This book explained more of the process involved in

      obtaining a mortgage from beginning to end. Though it doesn’t go as extensively

      into mortgage information, it is an excellent source for beginners and even

      explores how the internet has changed the mortgage business.

Steinmetz, Thomas C. (1995). The Mortgage Kit. [Computer Software]. Chicago:

      Dearborn Multimedia

      This software is based on the book by Steinmetz. Although I found the software

      cumbersome and hard to use, it is a good resource for those with different

      learning styles. Unfortunately, the version I had was not the most current, so I felt

      like much of the information was outdated. It mostly contained guidelines,

      checklists, and tables, to help the patron decide which mortgage is best for them.
                                                                 Mortgage Pathfinder 12

Tyson, Eric, & Brown, Ray. (1998). Home Buying for Dummies [Cassette

      Recording]. New York: Harper Audio.

             Based on the book, this abridged, 90-minute version is a nice resource for

      those on the go, to gain basic information, but it is not as extensive or in-depth as

      the book. I found it hard to listen to and pay attention. Also, I think the format is

      outdated and it would be nice if they had an unabridged version on CD. I did find

      out that you can purchase and download a PDF version from Amazon.

Wiggins, Carly M. (n.d.). Internet Public Library: Buying Your First Home

      Pathfinder. Retrieved March 1, 2006, from

      This pathfinder was a nice starting point and example of a pathfinder. Although

      most of the resources it provided were for home buying in general, many of which

      also contain information regarding the mortgage process itself, there were a few

      listings that were specific to the financing process. I would have like this

      pathfinder to be more extensive in its list of resources as well as providing

      examples of sample searches and techniques.
                                                                    Mortgage Pathfinder 13

                                  Concluding Statements

       I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating this pathfinder. I did choose a

fairly broad topic and because of that my searching examples were not very complex, but

I did try to give a sense of being able to narrow the search and refine it once my “client”

was ready to delve more in depth within a specific subtopic. The search process for

finding the different resources was not difficult at all. Perhaps because I now have a firm

grasp on search techniques, but I believe also because there is such a wide variety of

resources regarding mortgages. I was truly astounded at the amount of information there

was available, and I definitely had a sense of “information overload” at the beginning.

Seeing the amount of information also brought it home for me on how important it is to

critically evaluate each resource for relevance. More than anything, I think the purpose

of this pathfinder was not to just show how to find the information, but also to suggest

valuable and worthwhile resources. Overall this was a fun and enjoyable assignment and

I only wish I had started on it earlier, so I could have explored and developed my

pathfinder even further.

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