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Favorite tools? October 5, 2006

Posted by heyheypaula in Library Stuff.
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Whether you are a reference librarian, or someone who works in other areas of librarianship, chances are you are often called upon to find information for patrons, friends and family.  What are your favorite sites/books/search engines/tools/etc. to use?  Personally, I get a lot of use out of Snopes, the Urban Legends Reference site.

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1. julia - October 5, 2006

LOL. About half the e-mails my MIL forwards me I refute with Snopes. She thinks I’m brilliant.

Frankly, I love Wikipedia as a starting resource, though I always confirm what I find there.

2. heyheypaula - October 9, 2006

I really do use Wikipedia also…it’s a good starting resource for developing search terms and related ideas I’ve found, and also for finding information that is either not controversial, or that doesn’t need to be exact. For example, yesterday someone told me there was a religious cult that believed the world was flat (!). I didn’t need specifics, only to read a little more, so the Wikipedia entry did the job for me. It’s not the best source to cite for accurate numbers, but it’s great for big picture ideas. Another site I use often is ehow.com…it has the same pitfalls as Wikipedia since it’s all user based, but if you have some thing you want to get a general idea how to do (wax a car, cook a roast, weave a rug, change your air filter) then it will give a good starting point.

3. sezed - October 12, 2006

I find myself using IMDB a lot. It has become THE source for any information about movies and television shows.

Of course Amazon comes in handy when looking for information on books that don’t appear in the OPAC. I often use amazon to see if there is such a book and when it was published.

4. Drum Phil - October 18, 2006

To answer questions about international happenings, such as the latest disaster to hit the news, I turn to ReliefWeb. (www.reliefweb.int) They have a virtual map room with situation maps, and lots of links to related information and news sources on all areas of the world.
For general info on countries of the world, I go first to the CIA World Factbook, at http://www.cia.gov. I visit the State Department (www.state.gov) for up-to-date news and foreign travel advisories, and there’s always Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com).


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