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Summary: This presentation will discuss methods for adapting
traditional reference skills to a digital environment. Ms. McDermott
will address the sudden appearance of the World Wide Web the at
the reference desk and will discuss the advantages and disadvantages
of this new technology for librarians. She will also suggest a
number of sturdy and reliable Web sites that can be used to answer
McDermott Starts Luminary Lectures (LC Gazette Article; October
11, 2002 - Available to LC Staff only)
the Internet: Irene McDermott Suggests Strategies for High Tech
Reference Desk (LC Gazette Article; November 22, 2002 - Available
to LC Staff only)
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Irene E. McDermott is a Reference Librarian and the Systems Manager
at the San Marino Public Library in California. Before she received
her library degree from UCLA, McDermott served as Associate Research
Editor for Salem Press for over ten years. During that time, she
worked at night to hone her skills as an actress, comedienne,
and theatrical director. McDermott abandoned the theater for a
career as an information professional because she was so excited
by the possibilities of the emerging World Wide Web. McDermott
lives in Pasadena with her husband and son. Her column, "Internet
Express", appears monthly in Searcher magazine. Her
Librarians' Internet Survival Guide: Strategies for the High-Tech
Reference Desk, was published in September by Information
Surviving the Internet
By Irene E. McDermott, San Marino Public Library
Three Basic Web Survival Tools
- Google [http://www.google.com/]
This is an uncannily precise search engine. Use for almost everything,
including spell checking and finding quotes.
- Librarians Index to the Internet [http://www.lii.org]
You need quality information from the Internet? You will find
it here, searchable, classified, annotated, and signed.
- About.com [http://about.com]
Here is a great place to get the hobbyist's view of "popular"
topics on the Web.
- The Internet Public Library (IPL) [http://www.ipl.org]
Every link in this searchable collection have been carefully
selected, cataloged, and described by a member of the IPL staff.
Use their reference section for current links to quality resources.
Visit "Youth Resources" to answer those pesky homework
- InfoPlease Almanac [http://www.infoplease.com/]
This is a great destination for quick answers to many questions.
Find maps, definitions, and brief biographies here.
- Merriam-Webster [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary.htm]
It's a dictionary and a thesaurus. Keep it open always.
- SuperPages [http://www.superpages.com/]
Use Verizon's interface to do nationwide searches of white and
- Worldpages.com [http://global.wpz.com/]
Click into the phone books of over 235 countries through this
- The Ultimates [http://www.theultimates.com]
The Ultimates will run a name through several telephone directories
without forcing the user to retype.
- Search Systems [http://www.pac-info.com]
Here is a directory of links to over 1,250 searchable, freely
accessible public record databases.
- KnowX [http://www.knowx.com]
Search its business, people, and professional license databases
for free. If you find your person, pay a minimal fee to view
Full Text Online
- On-line Books Page [http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/]
This definitive, searchable directory to books freely readable
over the Web will help you find any copy of a classic you might
- FindArticles.com [http://www.findarticles.com/PI/index.jhtml]
Need articles? Search this free archive of full-text articles
dating back to 1998 from more than 300 magazines and journals.
- MagPortal.com [http://magportal.com/]
MagPortal collects and classifies links to those newsletters
and magazines that offer current, interesting, yet free content
- Hoovers Online [http://www.hoovers.com]
This is the best site for reliable, and often free, business
information on the Web.
- Thomas Register [http://www.thomasregister.com/]
In return for a free registration, find out who manufactures
what where in the U.S.
- Yahoo! Finance [http://finance.yahoo.com/]
This is a comprehensive portal for current and historical company
data, investment information, stock quotes from major U.S. and
- CorporateInformation [http://www.corporateinformation.com]
Register for free to find information about companies in 65
- Nolo [http://www.nolopress.com/]
For 30 years, Nolo Press has been "putting the law into
plain English". Use their "Law Centers" for free
information on everyday legal topics.
- FindLaw [http://www.findlaw.com]
This is the first-stop, premier law resource on the Web. It
features a legal subject index, access to cases and codes, information
about law schools, law reviews, and legal associations and organizations.
- Legal Information Institute at Cornell University [http://www.law.cornell.edu/]
Find state laws, federal laws, and laws from around the world.
This is the research tool of choice to find the text of laws.
- The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy [http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual]
Completely searchable, this online publication lists the causes,
symptoms, and prognosis of just about everything that can go
wrong with you. Too hard to understand? Check out its sister
site, The Merck Manual Home Edition [http://www.merckhomeedition.com].
- MayoClinic.com [http://www.mayohealth.org/home]
The famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota offers this portal for reliable,
general information about many different ailments and conditions.
- InteliHealth [www.intelihealth.com/]
This consumer health site from the Harvard Medical School aims
to offer you the Web's most comprehensive collection of consumer
health information from the best possible sources. Features
the Merriam-Websters Medical Dictionary online [http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9276/9276.html?k=navx408x9276].
- MEDLINEplus Health Information [http://medlineplus.gov]
The National Library of Medicine has assembled its resources
onto one attractive portal designed for general health consumers.
- RxList.com [http://www.rxlist.com]
RxList lets you search by drug name, imprint code, or keyword
then offers direct access to Taber's Medical Encyclopedia from
the result page.
- FedStats: One Stop Shopping for Federal Statistics [http://www.fedstats.gov]
More than 70 agencies in the United States federal government
produce statistics. This site provides easy access to the full
range of statistics and information produced by these agencies.
- University of Michigan Documents Center [http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/index.html]
This is central reference and referral point for government
information, whether local, state, federal, foreign, or international.
Sites for Students
- Biography.com [http://www.biography.com/]
Use this site to "search over 25,000 of the greatest lives,
past and present."
- Science Fair Central [http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/]
Visit the Discovery Channel's guide to science fair projects.
Get guidance to the steps required in an experiment, get ideas,
and search their links and suggested books for data.
Type in an algebra or calculus problem and have the MathScript
server calculate results for you.
- FinAid: The Financial Aid Information Page [http://www.finaid.org]
Here is a comprehensive page of student financial aid links.
- QIXO [http://www.qixo.com]
Here is a metasearch engine for travel, a "bot" that
aggregates data from at least 27 independent travel sites, including
Expedia, Orbitz, the airlines' own sites and smaller sites specializing
in travel to certain destinations.
- MapBlast [http://www.mapblast.com/]
MapBlast, was one of the first mapmakers on the Web. If you
know the address, you can get a map and directions for over
200 countries, including the Slovak Republic.
- Indo.com: How Far Is It? [http://www.indo.com/distance/]
Type the names of any two cities into the search boxes on this
Indonesian travel site, and it will tell you the distance between
them (as the crow flies) in miles, kilometers, and nautical
miles (in case you will be swimming).
- Onanda.com [http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic]
Get your current and historical currency conversion rates here.
- Weather Underground [http://www.wunderground.com/]
This site offers forecasts where others fear to tread. Cuba,
Other Useful Links
- ConsumerSearch [http://www.consumersearch.com]
Need to buy a new "durable good"? This site pulls
consumer advice from various consumer review sources into one
place. Read their "Full Story" report or jump to the
"Fast Answers" section.
- Kelley Blue Book [http://www.kbb.com/]
Find the value of old and new cars on this site.
- Internet Movie Database [http://www.imdb.com/]
Visit this site for an amazing amount of information about everything
Keeping Up With Changes
- Librarians' Index to the Internet: New This Week [http://www.lii.org/search/file/mailinglist]
Sign up for LII's current awareness service for keeping track
of great new Web sites! Every week, the Librarians' Index to
the Internet will e-mail you a list of the best ten to twenty
Web sites newly added to this high quality, searchable resource.
- Yahoo! What's New [http://dir.yahoo.com/new/]
Get the scoop on new, hand-picked sites added to Yahoo! in the
- ResearchBuzz [http://www.researchbuzz.com/]
Tara Calishain covers the world of Internet research. Have her
entertaining newsletter sent to your e-mail weekly.
- SearchDay Newsletter [http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/searchday.html]
Chris Sherman, Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch, keeps
us informed about Web searching trends in a companionable way.
- BusinessWeek Online: Technology [http://www.businessweek.com/technology/]
Designed so that non-technical managers can stay abreast of
helpful new technologies by investing fifteen minutes weekly
reading these stories.
If All Else Fails
- LibDex [http://www.libdex.com/]
Need to direct remote patrons back to their home turf? Search
LibDex to find the Web pages of libraries around the world.
Irene E. McDermott 10/02 email@example.com