Monthly Archives: February 2011

My Favorite Web Resources: Part I

As part of my coursework I have been charged with exploring and a evaluating a multitude of print and online reference resources. I’m doing this work in 3 batches, so for each batch of resources I’d like to share my favorites with you. Since you’re reading this blog, I’m assuming you’re a fan or at least a user of the internet. That being said I will focus on valuable web resources that will make your everyday information quests easier. You may be wondering, “Can’t I just google what I’m looking for?” Well–yes. Yes you can. I’ve found that the resources listed below offer more credible and relevant results than my typical Google search. So, here are some of my favorite web reference resources to date:

WorldCat
To library types, this resource may seem like an obvious pick. Before I began library school I was not familiar with WorldCat, so I’m assuming some of my readers may not have used this resource. WorldCat is a compilation of catalogs from member libraries from around the world. Users can conduct general searches to see what materials are available on a particular subject. By clicking on an entry you see standard bibliographic information as well as a listing of libraries who own the resource (in order of geographic proximity). If you really like buying books the entries also link to web retailers who will sell it to you. Attention scholars and students–entries also include citation information in APA, MLA and Chicago style among others. Just so we’re clear, WorldCat catalogs more than books. The catalog captures everything from DVDs, downloadable audio books to full text journal articles and web resources.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia
I may end up eating my words, but I’m done with WebMD. A.D.A.M medical encyclopedia is now my preferred source for self diagnosis (yes…that was a joke). But seriously, at some point we all need to know about health and wellness issues. A.D.A.M., a service of the National Library of Medicine, is a user friendly, reliable resource for health information. Articles include information on causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment. Articles also give recommendations for when to consult a physician. The best part– articles list their contributors and their sources, so you know where the information is coming from.

ipl2
By definition, ipl2 is a guide. What does this mean? You can search ipl2 (like you would with google) or you can browse for resources by topic. Because ipl2 is a guide and not a search engine website listings include a brief description of the website’s content. ipl2 includes sections for kids and teens on their site, providing a safe haven of searching and researching for younger users. The site is developed and maintained by library and information science students within consortium schools like Drexel University and the University of Michigan–so the information can be trusted.

Go ahead– try out these resources as part of your everyday web searches. Hopefully you will find that they provide you dependable and relevant results.

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Mr. Darcy on my Mobile

Last night I watched the beloved BBC miniseries version of Pride & Prejudice with a couple of my gal pals. Admittedly, Pride & Prejudice is a gap in my literary knowledge so I’m catching up. Disc 1 ended right where I am in the book, so we called it a night. If you’re familiar with the series, at the end of disc 1… stuff gets real. As I communicated to my friends how excited I was to see disc 2, they implored me to finish reading the book. While we were on the topic of reading I shared that I am reading Pride & Prejudice on my phone using the Kindle for Android app– Gasp! Like good friends and Austen fans my gal pals gave me my choice of three print copies to read from. I explained that reading the book on my phone is a personal growth exercise. While I may not be an avid e-book reader, I have to come to understand why others love the format. Why not learn through experience?

E-readers and mobile readers have arrived. While they may never replace books in print (at least not anytime soon) people are finding the format extremely useful and appealing. From my personal perspective, the Kindle app comes in handy when I’m on a crowded train. Sometimes I have to choose between reading a book or holding on so as not to fall. Reading on my phone allows me to do both. E-readers and mobile readers allow users to have their books without the bulk. If you are reading this and you drive a car, you may not get it. If you’ve ever been on a CTA Train at 8 a.m., you know where I’m coming from. Others may like the appeal of instant downloads, customizing font sizes or having their personal library on hand at all times. You may be a print diehard, but many readers find e-books to their liking.

Why does this matter to libraries and librarians? I believe that some people will only read if it’s really easy. E-readers add a level of ease and convenience that print materials can’t always compete with. For libraries to capture and keep the attention of these types of users, we have to play in the e-book space. While Kindles can’t offer the same services as a library (see Merrimack Public Library’s blog post “What A Librarian Can Do That A Kindle Can’t”) libraries must strive to offer the same service as a Kindle in order to retain these users.

I currently have 6 days to finish Pride & Prejudicebefore my friends and I continue to disc 2. With plenty of crowded trains in my future, finishing the book shouldn’t be a problem.

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