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March Madness Month
A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services!
WOMM Fun Facts:
If you’ve been with Ask a Librarian for any length of time, you’ve probably heard us brag about our incredible evening and weekend staff. They are the Ask a Librarian Virtual Reference Providers, though sometimes – often on Monday mornings or before coffee – we refer to them as simply “the AaL interns”. They are super reference busters and customer service providers extraordinaire, and their high standards ensure that your users get the help they need regardless of whether their libraries are burning the midnight oil. They staffed 325 hours on the Collaborative Desk last month alone, and they mean business!
In light of the high number of hours they staff the statewide desk, we thought it might be helpful to ask them to share a few of their favorite websites. Here’s what they shared:
http://scholar.google.com/ – In Scholar Preferences you can search for a library so that it will link to that library’s resources. This is a big help when you can’t access a libraries databases but need to help one of their students.
http://www.khanacademy.org/ – A great source of instructional math and science videos with worked problems.
http://www.teachparentstech.org – More instructional videos but these pertain to very basic tech tasks like how to resize a picture or stop getting an email newsletter.
And just for fun…
http://bacolicio.us/ – Adds a piece of bacon to any website.
www.moma.org – You can browse the MoMA’s collections and exhibits online without having to make the trip to New York City! A really stunning display of digital preservation and online presence.
www.openj-gate.com – Open. Access. Scholarly. Journals. Need I say more?
www.knowthis.com – One stop shop for marketing information. This even has resources for non-profits like libraries.
www.votesmart.org – Information about local, state, and national politicians, both incumbant and candidates. Project Vote Smart is not affiliated with any special interest group, political party or corporation. Their About Us page is truly inspirational from an organizational standpoint.
www.wolframalpha.com – Wolfram Alpha; A ‘computational’ search engine, this is one of my favorites when someone comes in with a math question. Just enter the problem in WolframAlpha and voila! The answer is given, often with steps included. The site also goes well beyond math – with science, geographic info, country data, finance, nutrition, linguistics and more. I find new options each time I visit – like the option to ‘compute the current value of a historical quantity of money.’
www.ipl.org – IPL2; Part of the IPL’s collection development policy states that “The site should contribute current, accurate information about the topic. The source of the material should be trustworthy and the website should have affiliation with recognized authorities in the field.” Searching through the IPL is a good filter to help find informative and usable sites quickly for those without access to database resources.
www.usa.gov – A one-stop shop for .gov data – what’s not to love? Searching Medline, the Library of Congress, Census and other government information sources – all from one access point.
www.wikipedia.org – Wiki got such bad publicity years ago that many people miss out on a great resource. At least in the wiki, sources are cited (or not) which isn’t the case for most general web sites. The source citations and external links at the bottom may provide students with links to excellent primary source material they can use in their research.
http://flelibrary.org/ – Florida Electronic Library; This site is a favorite, especially because it provides many of the same online databases to students who may be unable to access their own library’s databases, because of issues with passwords, and PINS etc. I think this is a great “stress” reliever, for students in a crunch, when that paper is due “tomorrow”. From the web site: “The Florida Electronic Library is a gateway to select Internet resources that offers access to comprehensive, accurate, and reliable information. Available resources include electronic magazines, newspapers, almanacs, encyclopedias, and books, providing information on topics such as current events, education, business, technology, and health issues.”
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ – The Free Dictionary; Often, a student or patron just needs a good definition, as a place to begin. The free dictionary provides more links (thesaurus, etc). Example: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/philosophy
http://books.google.com/ – Google Books ~ previews online; It’s so easy to search and locate keywords within the context of the page, and allows the user to preview portions of the text to gain information, and to see if it is a resource that would be helpful for further research. Example: http://bit.ly/f771dv The keywords are highlighted, and there’s a search box to access more specific content within the book; and there’s a “Find in Library” link, that allows the user to locate the item in the nearest library (WorldCat, another favorite, offers Google Books Previews).
https://www.familysearch.org/ – FamilySearch; The Genealogy database from the Mormon Church; search tools to help patrons who are researching records and family history; There’s lots of extra research assistance available, such as contact information, and learning resources.
http://www.findhow.com/ – … is a “How-To search engine, brings trust back into the equation by focusing on indexing only high-quality How-To’s, typically from well-known, recognized brand names or individuals. Many of these sources (often companies, government entities, or educational institutions) have other motives for providing information besides pure profits, and most have trusted, off-line brand name reputations to protect – which encourages them to focus on providing trustworthy and high-quality information.”
* bonus… a compilation of several free (mostly) Ready Reference: http://www.socc.edu/library/pgs/databases/ready-reference.shtml
http://www.doaj.org/ – The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has categorized, searchable links to free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals with the objective to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 6276 journals in the directory. Currently 2718 journals are searchable at article level. As of today 533818 articles are included in the DOAJ service. This is another great like besides the FEL when patrons cannot access their library’s research databases and online journals.
http://ufdc.ufl.edu/fdnl1 – The Florida Digital Newspaper Library exists to provide access to the news and history of Florida. All of the over 1,000,000 pages of historic through current Florida newspapers in the Florida Digital Newspaper Library are openly and freely available with zoomable page images and full text. The Florida Digital Newspaper Library builds on the work done in microfilm within the Florida Newspaper Project<http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/flnews/>.
http://www.bjpinchbeck.com/ – BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper: Great for those who do not have access to Live Homework Help, Tutor.com through their library, this page provides links and resources for a variety of both school and college topics. Includes help in Art/Music, Computer Science, English, foreign Languages, Health & P.E., Math, News, Recess, Reference, Science, Search Engines, Social Studies, and even a College Companion.
http://www.thesearchenginelist.com/ – The Search Engine List: When all else, fails, what search engine do you use? This comprehensive list of search engines not only includes links to the numerous sites out there, but also provides a little background and description for each one.
I find that a lot of the homework help questions are for science projects or math equations. Here are a few sites I’ve bookmarked for those special questions in math:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/ – Wolfram|Alpha introduces a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers – not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.
http://www.myalgebra.com/algebra_solver.aspx – MyAlgebra – A Free Algebra Problem Solver (another site that will solve algebra problems that you type in)
http://www.algebra.com/ – An online community of mathematicians who put together a comprehensive list of lessons and guides. Algebra, math homework solvers, lessons and free tutors online in areas that include: Pre-algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Physics. The free tutors have created solvers with work shown, written algebra lessons, all in the hope to help you solve your homework problems. There are even interactive solvers for algebra word problems as well as a community discussion/question board.
When speaking to users, please keep in mind these important talking points:
• If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
• Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
• Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
• You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
• If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.