Articles from Online Databases, the Internet...
How Do I Choose Which One to Use?
the correct resource to use for your research can be puzzling.
Before choosing a resource, you must define at least a preliminary topic,
or have a general idea of what you need to find out.
There is no "magic formula." Your choices of which resources to use
can change with every new topic you research. A little knowledge about the
differences between these resources and the types of information that they
contain can help you decide. Often, a combination of resources--with a
particular emphasis on one or two--will be necessary for your research.
Ah, the Internet, one-stop-shopping for all your research needs?
"Hardly!" Or, "Absolutely!" It depends on what you are
trying to find.
Here is a short list of free information you can find on the Internet:
- General background information -
on the Web, there are free versions of encyclopedias, like
Encyclopedia.com There are also web directories like the
Virtual Library and
How Stuff Works
is another example of the type of information you can
Sites found by using directories can provide background information, or
very specific information (or both).
- "Reference" type information
- what librarians call
like almanacs, encyclopedias, all types of dictionaries and thesauri,
telephone books, maps, etc.
- Graphics - the World Wide Web is a
graphical creature, and images abound. There are image databases of
- Statistics and Demographics - international
data about population, income, labor, education, economics, health
and other topics are available in many places on the web.
- Company & Industry information -
company websites can have a great deal of information, including the
company's annual report, mission statement, what they do, and how well they
say they do it. Try a search engine to find them, or the old trick of typing
http://www.companyname.com You can
find brief company
information on the web, or
reports. See Gutman Library's
page for company and industry research for additonal ideas and
specific library databases.
- Organizations and Associations -
and their related missions and publications.
- Government agencies- both
- Foreign countries - the Library
has many links under Internet Resources for
of the World
- Biographical information - notable
people from around the globe can be researched easily using either a search
engine or a biographical web database or directory, like
- Obscure information - There are
websites and web pages devoted to just about EVERYTHING, from the French
Revolution to carnivorous plants. Unfortunately, ANYONE can mount a website
for the world to see. Therefore, "The
Absolutely-Ultimate-Definitive-Guide to (you-name-it)" could be
authored by a complete crackpot.