When it comes to outsmarting the content establishment, your library may be your best accomplice.
Libraries are offering more free search services, database access, articles, photos, eBooks, audiobooks, music and museum passes than ever. Chances are you are buying, subscribing to, or stealing something you can get for free with a library card.
While general search engines may seem more convenient, pointed search tools can provide more reliable information more quickly than repeated searches in which the user tries out different terms. According to Gary Price, founder and editor of the ResourceShelf
blog and director of online resources at Ask.com, casting that wide Web net can pick up spam and unreliable information presenting itself as an authority. It may also be burying or missing good information.
For example, do you call it soda or pop? The soft drink industry or the beverage industry? Databases have a structure to take care of that problem. Many have a controlled vocabulary of terms that a human indexer assigns to each article, said Price.
While indexes of articles from both general publications and academic journals can be found on the Internet, users are often brought to an abstract summary of the article including publication info, but not the full text. The majority of library databases offer full texts of articles, so when you do find what you are looking for, you can immediately have access to all of it.
Searching in an academic realm has also become more user friendly. You no longer have to bother with Boolean search terms or complicated retrieval options. Database search methods have been replaced with easy point and click filtering in addition to the usual time frame option. Results offer links.
All of the information in this post is taken directly from an article written by Candace Lombardi, CNET News.com dated 23 July 2007. The entire article is available by clicking on this link.