Section 8.0
Net Resources

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8.1 Where can I get answers to difficult reference questions through the internet?

"STUMPERS-L is a networking resource for reference questions that have people, in essence, stumped. It is assumed that all questions posted to this list have been thoroughly researched through the usual sources; library, specialists, other Internet resources, etc. After failing to find a satisfactory answer, you should turn to the people on STUMPERS-L!" The Stumpers-l web site is .

To subscribe to the listserv, send the message "SUBSCRIBE STUMPERS-L" to

Ask-a-Question at the IPL Reference Center , , is staffed with volunteers who can provide brief factual answers or direct you to a short list of sources to explore on your own (but before asking your question, check the Frequently Asked Reference Questions,

Librarians or LIS students interested in volunteering at the IPL, are directed to the recruitment page, .



8.2 What library-related web resources are available?

Librarians have taken the lead in attempting to organize the Internet and turn it into a useful tool. Below are just a few of the web pages created by librarians and libraries to aid information professionals and researchers:

  • AcqWeb
    Besides providing links to acquisitions and collection development information, Acqweb features the Diversion of the Month & a Hot Topics section.
  • BUBL Information Service
    The extensive Internet-based information service run from the Andersonian Library at the University of Strathclyde.
  • Info Connect for Librarians
    Godfrey Oswald's extensive, searchable, alphabetical directory of resources for librarians and information scientists.
  • Internet Library for Librarians
    "A comprehensive Web database designed to provide a one-stop shopping center for librarians to locate Internet resources related to their profession"
  • Internet Public Library
    The IPL, hosted by the School of Information of the University of Michigan, is working to create a strong, coherent sense of place on the Internet by finding, evaluating, selecting, organizing, describing, and creating quality sources of information.
  • Jenny's Cybrary to the Stars
    How to "Stay Current in Cyberspace"
  • Librarians' Index to the Internet
    This was formerly known as the Berkeley Public Library Index to the Internet; possibly the most comprehensive site on the net.
  • Library-Oriented Lists and Electronic Resources
    A compilation of electronic discussion lists, distribution lists and electronic serials, which are of interest to library professionals and staff.
  • LibrarySpot
    One of the best, and definitely the easiest to use, resource centers for finding reference tools, periodicals and online texts, library information, encyclopedias, etc.
  • Libweb - Library Servers via WWW
    An excellent directory of Library home pages; lists over 6100 pages from libraries in over 100 countries.
  • The Toolbox
    From the Toronto Chapter of the SLA: "So I'm A Librarian - Now What?"
    Career links - Job listings, interview tips, alternative careers...
    The Librarians' Resource Centre - Reference, meta-lists, web page development...
    Knowledge management -Theory, methodology, technology...
  • UK Public Libraries Page
    The aim of these pages is to present the most complete and up to date picture of public library internet activity in the United Kingdom. Interesting ideas for exploiting the Net in promoting your library can be found in the Net Notions section.  


8.3 What library-related Usenet newsgroups are available? is the only Usenet group specifically aimed at librarians.

Some listservs (e-mail distributed discussion groups) are converted to the newsgroup format and can be read on Usenet. A list of library-related "bitnet.listerv.*" can be found at . As far I can tell the only active groups are:



8.4 Are there e-mail discussion groups for librarians?

Usenet may be drowning in a sea of flames, spam and porn (and flames about spammed porn), but engaging, intelligent discussions can still be found on private e-mail discussion groups. Some examples are:

  • Autocat is an electronic forum for the discussion of all questions relating to cataloging and authority control in libraries.
  • Libsoft is devoted to discussing software of particular interest to librarians.
  • NewJour is the New Journal and Newsletter Announcement List for new serials on the Internet.
  • Newlib-l is a discussion list for librarians new to the profession who wish to share experiences and discuss ideas, issues, trends, and problems faced by librarians in the early stages of their careers. This list is also of interest to those who are considering becoming librarians, and to those established in the profession who might wish to mentor newcomers.
  • PubLib is a list for the discussion of issues relating to public libraries; its subset, PubLib-Net is for discussions of the Internet in public libraries.
  • Web4lib features discussions relating to the creation and management of library-based World Wide Web servers and clients.

See Library-Oriented Lists and Electronic Resources, , for a compilation of electronic discussion lists, distribution lists and serials which are of interest to library professionals and staff.

If you sign up for an e-mail discussion group, I strongly suggest you download a copy of "Discussion Lists: Mailing List Manager Commands" by James Milles of the St. Louis University Law Library, . This document outlines the essential commands for most mailing list software (listserv, majordomo, mailserve, etc.) in a clear and concise manner. Avoid embarrassment and impress your colleagues by knowing the proper way to unsubscribe from a list.


Topica,, and Yahoo Groups,, are also home to many LIS related discussion groups:

Some library-related Yahoo Groups are:




8.5 Where can I find online library science journals?

Steve Bergson has compiled a list of all major online LIS periodicals that provide a table of contents, abstracts or full-text articles. See Library and Information Science Periodicals on the Internet,

PICK, the excellent Internet resource page by the Thomas Perry Library, has an extensive list of electronic journals in LIS (with an emphasis on those in the UK) with descriptions as to whether they are full-text or abstracts. 

You'll also want to check out the LIS section of BUBL's list of 220 current journals and newsletters:

Some of the interesting online LIS journals available are:

  • Ariande, a bimonthly newsletter published by the UK Office for Library and Information Networking, describes and evaluates sources and services available on the Internet, and of potential use, to librarians and information professionals.
  • Booklist has been the librarian's leading choice for reviews of the latest books and (more recently) electronic media.
  • The Library Journal Digital is an electronic offshoot of Library Journal, the oldest independent national library publication. .
  • The Minnesota Library Association Social Responsibilities Round Table (MSRRT) Newsletter: Library Alternatives, , provides information on library staff unionizing, internet censorship, price gouging by vendors, zine news, new books and journals, and much more.
  • School Library Journal Online, , serves librarians who work with young people in school and public libraries.
  • Searcher,, explores and deliberates on a comprehensive range of issues important to the professional database searcher.


8.6 Are there any library-related IRC channels or chat forums?

Internet Relay Chat - IRC - is a multi-user, multi-channel chat system where people talk in real time in "channels" on separate networks of IRC servers. mIRC is the most popular IRC software, and the mIRC homepage,, is a good place to go for general information on IRC. The Internet Relay Chat (IRC) help archive, , is a great source of FAQs, tutorials, and channels lists for the new IRC user.

The Liszt multi-network IRC search engine can help you locate relevant channels through keyword searches across all the major IRC networks, .

Multi-user Object Oriented - MOO - is an environment based on the MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) concept. MOOs are interactive systems accessible through telnet by many users at the same time. Unfortunately, both The Internet Public Library Moo, , and the Lost Library of MOO, are off-line, but most of the documents, tutorials, manuals, etc. of the Lost Library of MOO are available at the MOO/MU* Document Library,

Steve Bergson,, has set up a Moo Community at the OISE MOO: telnet:// or , then visit the Jewish Library by selecting option 3 after you first enter.

Like Usenet, web-based discussion/chat forums allow users to participate in discussions when it is most convenient for them. You can post and respond when you like (unlike IRC) and your email inbox doesn't get flooded with posts (unlike listervs). Forum One,, a search engine for over 117,000 online forums, is an excellent tool for locating web chat forums. Here are some active library-related discussion groups:


8.7 Who are some of the prominent librarians writing about the Internet and information technology?
All the LIS journals mentioned in section 8.5 feature articles on new developments in library and information technology. The authors below are some of the more well known authors:



8.8 Where can I learn more about the Internet?

Note: see section 8.10 below for Internet searching tutorials.


"If you're looking for a free, easy way to learn a lot about the Internet, look no further." --The Washington Post, 4/6/95 (talking about the Roadmap series) 

"Roadmap96 is a free, text-based, 27 lesson Internet training workshop designed to teach new "Net travelers" how to travel around the rapidly expanding (and often-times confusing) 'Information Superhighway' without getting lost."

You can access Roadmap through its e-mail distribution list or the Roadmap96 Web archive. For directions, go to: 


"The Librarians' Online Support Team (LOST) is a group of geographically remote librarians meeting online for instruction and discussion with the goal of professional development. The group regularly sponsors online workshops and is building a set of online resources to share."

Excellent site, great programs. Find it at .



Quoting from the web4lib web site at

Purpose: The Web4Lib electronic discussion is for the discussion of issues relating to the creation and management of library- based World Wide Web servers and clients. Particularly appropriate issues for discussion include, but are not limited to: 

- Web resource selection and information mounting in relation to existing acquisition and collection development procedures 
- cataloging and metadata issues regarding Web information 
- in-house patron access to Web servers (e.g., Netscape on patron-accessible computers) 
- training staff or users to use the Web or to create Web resources 

Audience: Web4Lib is specifically aimed toward librarians and library staff involved in World Wide Web management, but anyone is welcome to join the discussion. Those not interested in a library-oriented Web discussion may wish to join one of the general Web discussions hosted by the W3 Organization. There are presently over 3,400 subscribers world wide and an average of 18 messages every day (as of April 29, 1997).

The discussions on Web4lib range from the Sacred (the ethics of cyberfilters) to the Profane (mouse ball theft). It is a wonderful resource.

To subscribe to web4lib::
Send the message "subscribe Web4Lib your name" to



MyInformIT, , gives free access to more than 150 complete computer books on the Internet, web publishing, programming and more. (This was formerly Macmillan's The Personal Bookshelf)

Secrets of the Super Searchers & Secrets of the Super Net Searchers by Reva Basch published by Online, Inc./8-Bit Books, 1994. It has tips for experienced surfers as well as Net newbies. 

How The Internet Works by Joshua Eddings (Ziff-Davis Press). Like all the "How It Works" books by ZD, it has an easy to grasp graphical presentation. 

The Whole Internet : The Next Generation-3rd Edition by Kiersten Conner-Sax, Ed Krol (O'Reilly & Associates) Many cybergeeks got their start by reading Krol's original 1996 book, The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog.

Internet Connections: A Librarian's Guide to Dial-Up Access and Use by Mary Engle, et al. (American Library Association) 


The archive of the Electronic Frontier Foundation contains some invaluable articles on Net history, cyberculture, censorship, etc. .

For more information on Internet guides visit the Yahoo site:


8.9 How do I evaluate information I find on the Internet?

The Internet has revolutionized research and information retrieval by providing quick and easy access to a vast network of resources and ideas. The Internet is also a medium where anyone with a dial-up account and a copy of HTML for Dummies can put up a web page. Because most information found on the Internet lacks the normal scholarly screening and validation we rely on when using an academic library, we must do our own evaluation when using online information resources.

Milton's Web of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University suggests six basic criteria for evaluating all forms of information, :

  1. Authorship - the authority of the author
  2. Publishing body - has the article undergone some type of screening or peer review
  3. Point of view or bias - who is providing the "information", does the web host have a political or philosophical agenda
  4. Referral to other sources - is there a bibliography, references to other thoughts and opinions
  5. Verifiability - background information, methodology used
  6. Currency - document is clearly dated, regular updates are provided if needed

Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources, at the Virginia Tech University Libraries, has a good list of articles relating to the evaluation of Web Resources.


8.10 Where can I find tips on searching the Internet?

There are essentially two tools for locating information on the Internet: Search Engines and Subject Directories.

Search Engines allow full-text keyword searches of Web pages. The user is not truly searching "the Internet", but is instead searching an index compiled by computer "robots" that have searched the Internet. You can find a extensive list of search engines at Yahoo,
Internet/ World_Wide_Web/Searching_the_Web/Search_Engines/

Natural-language search engines allow the user to ask questions in plain English, i.e. "Who is the Governor of Idaho?" or "What is the average rainfall in Guatamala?"

  • AskJeeves, is a popular, easy to use natural language search engine. I find AskJeeves to be quick and accurate when asking common questions, but it's not as useful when searching for that "needle-in-the-haystack".

Meta-Search Engines allow the user to search several individual search engines at the same time. See, the Meta-Search Engines section of the UC Berkeley Teaching Library Internet Tutorial,, for guidance on using meta-search engines.

Subject Specific Search Engines aim for depth rather than breadth and may index web sites not reached by the general purpose search engines. They can be a more effective tool if you are looking for something specific. SearchAbility, Guides To Specialized Search Engines, , is an A to Z list of guides to thousands of search engines covering hundreds of subjects.

Subject Directories are collections of Internet links that have been compiled by real live people. Subject Directories also allow the user to browse for information by subject; the user can begin with a general topic heading and then move down one step at a time through more specific sub-headings. The number of Internet sites listed in a directory will be smaller than the sites indexed by a search engine, but directory links will generally be of a higher quality. This can be useful when you want a more focused search.

  •, where each topic area is overseen by a subject specialist,
  • Librarians' Index to the Internet, more than 6,200 Internet resources are selected and evaluated by librarians for their usefulness to users of public libraries,
  • Yahoo, one of the first, one of the largest, and probably the most popular of the Internet directories,

Usenet Newsgroups can be an important source of information, especially for personal experiences and opinions, and computer tech support.

Graphics search engines can help the user find clipart, photographs, multimedia, etc.


Search Engine Information, Strategies, and Evaluations:

Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch, , search engine listings, web searching tips, ratings & reviews, and Internet search news.

The Search Engine Showdown,, by Greg Notess, compares and evaluates Internet search engines from the searcher's perspective.

Choose the best search for your purpose, and the NoodleQuest search strategy wizard,

ResearchBuzz!, , provides almost daily updates on search engines, new data managing software, browser technology, large compendiums of information, Web directories, etc.


Internet Searching Tutorials:

Boolean Searching on the Internet,, provides a A Primer in Boolean Logic and tips for Boolean Searching on the Internet

Finding Information on the Internet:A Tutorial, . This tutorial presents the substance of the two-part Internet Worshops offered year-round by the Teaching Library at the University of California at Berkeley.

Sink or Swim: Internet Search Tools & Techniques, , is a good solid introduction to Intenet searching. Ross Tyner, M.L.S., Okanagan University College, describes the various search approaches, gives tips on boolean searches and other search techniques, and provides very helpful search engine comparisions.

How to Search the World Wide Web: A Tutorial for Beginners and Non-Experts, by the Middletown Public Library in R.I., .

The Ramapo Catskill Library System, developer of the KidsClick! search engine,!/, has created a companion web site in an effort to teach web searching skills to upper elementary and middle school students (grades 4-7),



8.11 How can I stay up-to-date on new information resources on the Internet?

Because of the number of new web sites that hit the Net everyday, you need help staying on top of the information flood. Many of the sites below have weekly or monthly newsletters that will keep you current on Internet resources.

These sites provide links to the best of the "current awareness" web pages:

Here is just a sample of the many Net update sites run by librarians:


8.12 The Internet is like a library...

It started with Hanan Cohen's question to the WEB4LIB discussion group,

"It's like being in a library where someone has scattered all the books on the floor, attached them together with threads and you are in the dark." MorningSide, CBC Radio, May 1995

"The Internet is a library with all the books on the floor." The Librarian's Guide to Cyber Space.

"It is the world's greatest library with all the books on the floor." Patrick Casey (Associated Press, Oklahoma City)

"Using the Internet today is like trying to use a library where all the books have been dumped on the floor and the lights turned out." A.J. Vendeland, in Review of The Software Publishers Association Europe Conference, Conference Analysis June 28, 1996

"The Internet is like having the access to the entire Library of Congress and ALL the books are on the floor." Kathy Duffy, Mar, 24 1998

"Imagine a fantastic library with all the information in the world at your fingertips. Now imagine that all the books in the library have been thrown in a big pile on the floor!" CT PROBE Enrichment Program

"Remember we said that the Internet is like the world's largest library.... only all the books have been thrown on the floor." Melissa Lee Price, Dr. Missy's Introduction to the Internet

"Some wag has observed that accessing the Internet is like having the entire Library of Congress on your computer; but the books are all scattered on the floor." Peter W. Johnson, Jr., Seven Habits of Highly Effective Internet Searchers,

"The Internet is like an amazing library-except all the books have been thrown in the middle of the room." Philip Bell, Graduate School of Education University of California, Berkeley


8.13 Smile, you're on Library Web Cam.

A partial list of libraries with Web Cams:












New Hampshire

New York

North Carolina






West Virginia


Pombobrairie, the library of Eezee at Luxembourg province




See previous section 7.0 Librarian Culture

Anthony Wilson

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