Friday, February 8, 2008
Student-Tested, Professor-Approved Web Resources that Work
Librarian says tapping into the “Hidden Web” helps students make the grade
With the help of general websites such as Google and Ask.com, students have become savvy online searchers. But are they finding the research that’s going to help them make the grade?
Kim Barclay, LBCC Library Department Head says that even the most agile Internet searchers might be spending their time gathering research that their professors find questionable if they’re using general search engines alone. The problem lies in the fact that these popular services just can’t get at the right content, and should only be one part of a student’s research arsenal. She says that general search engines search what’s free on the Web, but often the relevant, most accurate (and professor approved) information resides in what insiders call the “Hidden Web”— expensive password-protected databases typically consulted by professional researchers and, more to the point, faculty.
“Free search engines are great for finding quick answers to simple questions, but when the answers really matter — for a research assignment or team project… when it’s going to impact your grades — we recommend using something more authoritative,” says Barclay. “Professors expect students to use research that’s relevant, reliable information vetted by scholars in the field, and the general Web doesn’t necessarily deliver that. But we do and it’s free to students, just as it’s free to our faculty.”
Barclay says you just need to add the library’s home page to your “Favorites” list. The library has dozens of educators’ most sought-after Internet resources — information sources that would typically cost thousands — available free to students. Whether your academic major is in the natural sciences, social sciences, literature, business, or other discipline, the information professionals at your library have selected databases that support your research. Tapping in through the library’s website means finding information that can help with late-night or 11th-hour research, from anywhere on or off campus.
Once on the library home page, click on the “Articles and Databases” tab on the left side of the screen. Each of the resources will be listed and will have a brief description of what you can do there. If logging in from off campus, click the “off campus access” link to “authenticate” yourself as an LBCC student or faculty member.
While used by faculty and professional researchers, Barclay says these Internet sources are easy to use, but it may take a visit or two to learn the ropes. “It’s like going to a grocery store if you’ve only shopped at the gas station’s food mart. It might take a few minutes to understand the layout, but once you do, you find the selection and quality knock the socks off the gas station’s convenience,” Barclay says.
“And if you really want some personal service, just visit the ‘live’ librarians at LAC in Building E or at PCC in Building GG,” Barclay invites. “They can provide expert advice on the ins and outs of research that can make all your reports and papers that much better in the future.”
For more information contact: Kim Barclay firstname.lastname@example.org
Library Update #49