Mortgage Pathfinder 1
Running head: MORTGAGE PATHFINDER
Resources for Learning About Your First Mortgage
Emporia State University
Online Information Retrieval
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.
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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: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/EvalSrcW/
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: www.slcpl.org
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
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.)
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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.
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
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e-book format. There are only a few returns, but they seem like good general information
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 http://mortgage-x.com/
The Star: Loan Descriptions http://www.mtgeinfo.com/kansascity/loan_list.htm
Home Buyer’s Information Center http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/
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
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
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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
The databases I recommend you use in your search are:
General Reference Gold Center
Expanded Academic ASAP
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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: http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/glossary.html
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
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
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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 http://www.mtgprofessor.com/Default.htm
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
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:
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
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.