Go to the Libraries FAQ Homepage
Go to the Libraries FAQ
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 http://www.cuis.edu/~stumpers/
To subscribe to the listserv, send the message
"SUBSCRIBE STUMPERS-L" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, http://www.ipl.org/ref/QUE/FARQ/FARQ.html.)
Librarians or LIS students interested in
volunteering at the IPL, are directed to the recruitment page, http://www.ipl.org/ref/STAFF/Recruit.html
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:
Besides providing links to acquisitions and collection
development information, Acqweb features the Diversion of the
Month & a Hot Topics section. http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/law/acqs/acqs.html
- BUBL Information Service
The extensive Internet-based information service run from the
Andersonian Library at the University of Strathclyde. http://bubl.ac.uk/
- Info Connect for Librarians
Godfrey Oswald's extensive, searchable, alphabetical directory
of resources for librarians and information scientists. http://www.geocities.com/infolibrary/Page1.htm
- 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
- 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
- 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.
One of the best, and definitely the easiest to use, resource
centers for finding reference tools, periodicals and online
texts, library information, encyclopedias, etc. http://www.libraryspot.com
- 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 -
Career links - Job listings, interview tips, alternative
The Librarians' Resource Centre - Reference, meta-lists,
web page development...
Knowledge management -Theory, methodology,
- 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.
library-related Usenet newsgroups are available?
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:
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
- Autocat is an electronic forum for the discussion of
all questions relating to cataloging and authority control in
- 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. http://www.lahacal.org/newlib/index.html
- 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
See Library-Oriented Lists and Electronic Resources, http://www.wrlc.org/liblists/
, for a compilation of electronic discussion lists, distribution
lists and serials which are of interest to library professionals
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, http://learn.ouhk.edu.hk/~u123/unit2/mirror2/mailser.html
. 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
Topica, http://www.topica.com, and Yahoo
Groups, http://groups.yahoo.com/, are also
home to many LIS related discussion groups:
Some library-related Yahoo Groups are:
- CPSR-GLOBAL is a moderated group for the discussion of
the "global information infrastructure", http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cpsr-global/
- Free_Marc_Records lists sites that offer free access
to MARC (machine readable cataloging)catalog records for
- LAINET is a discussion list for librarians and others
working in libraries in Ireland, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lainet/
- LawSource is a list for legal resources on the
Internet for attorneys, law firms, law libraries, law schools,
corporations, and others who have a need to locate sources of
legal information, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LawSource/
- LibWireless is for the discussion of wireless
technologies in libraries, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LibWireless/
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, http://www.fortunecity.com/skyscraper/gates/18/libpers.html
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. http://www.aber.ac.uk/~tplwww/ej/intro.html
You'll also want to check out the LIS section of BUBL's
list of 220 current journals and newsletters: http://bubl.ac.uk/journals/
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. http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/
- 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. http://www.ljdigital.com/ .
- The Minnesota Library Association Social Responsibilities
Round Table (MSRRT) Newsletter: Library
, 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, http://www.slj.com/index.asp ,
serves librarians who work with young people in school and public
- Searcher, http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/default.htm,
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, http://www.mirc.co.uk/, is a good
place to go for general information on IRC. The IRChelp.org
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) help archive, http://www.irchelp.org/ , is a
great source of FAQs, tutorials, and channels lists for the new
The Liszt multi-network IRC search engine can help you
locate relevant channels through keyword searches across all the
major IRC networks, http://www.liszt.com/chat/ .
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, http://www.ipl.org/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, http://www.hayseed.net/MOO/
email@example.com, has set up a Moo Community
at the OISE MOO: telnet://noisey.oise.utoronto.ca:9696
, 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, http://www.forumone.com/, a search
engine for over 117,000 online forums, is an excellent tool for
locating web chat forums. Here are some active library-related
8.7 Who are some of the prominent librarians writing about the
Internet and information technology?
All the LIS journals mentioned in section
feature articles on new developments in library and
information technology. The authors below are some of the more
well known authors:
- Reva Basch, http://www.well.com/user/reva/
is the author of "Researching Online For Dummies", "Secrets of
the Super searchers" and "Secrets of the Super Net Searchers", as
well as many, many articles on Internet research.
- Mary Ellen Bates is the principal of Bates Information
Services, a research and consulting business, http://www.batesinfo.com/ . She
is a contributor to Online and Database, http://www.onlineinc.com/index.html
- Marylaine Block, http://marylaine.com/ , is an
Internet trainer, the author of numerous articles on
librarianship and the use of the internet in libraries and is the
publisher of Ex Libris, http://marylaine.com/exlibris/index.html
, a weekly e-zine for Librarians.
- Karen G. Schneider, firstname.lastname@example.org , is the
Internet Librarian for American Libraries Online,
and the Coordinator of the Librarian's Index to the
Internet (LII), http://lii.org/.
- Chris Sherman is owner of the Web search consultancy
Searchwise, http://www.searchwise.net/ , and
the Web Search Guide for About.com, http://websearch.about.com/ .
See the Searchwise page for links to more of jis writings, http://www.searchwise.net/writings.htm.
- Roy Tennant, http://escholarship.cdlib.org/rtennant/
, is the creator and editor of Current Cites, http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/,
Note: see section 8.10 below for Internet searching
"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: http://www.mobiusweb.com/~mobius/Roadmap/
"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 http://www.gnacademy.org/~lost/
Quoting from the web4lib web site at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Web4Lib/:
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
- cataloging and metadata issues regarding Web information
- in-house patron access to Web servers (e.g., Netscape on
- training staff or users to use the Web or to create Web
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,
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 email@example.com
MyInformIT, http://www.informit.com , 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
The archive of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation contains some invaluable articles on Net history,
cyberculture, censorship, etc. http://www.eff.org/archive.html
For more information on Internet guides visit the
8.9 How do I evaluate information I find on the
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, http://milton.mse.jhu.edu:8001/research/education/net.html
- Authorship - the authority of the author
- Publishing body - has the article undergone some type of
screening or peer review
- Point of view or bias - who is providing the "information",
does the web host have a political or philosophical agenda
- Referral to other sources - is there a bibliography,
references to other thoughts and opinions
- Verifiability - background information, methodology used
- Currency - document is clearly dated, regular updates are
provided if needed
Bibliography on Evaluating Internet
Resources, at the Virginia Tech University Libraries, http://www.lib.vt.edu/research/libinst/evalbiblio.html
has a good list of articles relating to the evaluation of Web
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
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,
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, http://www.searchability.com/
, 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.
- About.com, where each topic area is overseen by a
- 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, http://lii.org/
- Yahoo, one of the first, one of the largest, and
probably the most popular of the Internet directories, http://www.yahoo.com/
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
Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch, http://searchenginewatch.com/
, search engine listings, web searching tips, ratings &
reviews, and Internet search news.
The Search Engine Showdown, http://searchengineshowdown.com/,
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,
, 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, http://library.albany.edu/internet/boolean.html,
provides a A Primer in Boolean Logic and tips for Boolean
Searching on the Internet
Finding Information on the Internet:A
. 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 &
, 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
How to Search the World Wide Web: A Tutorial
for Beginners and Non-Experts, by the Middletown Public
Library in R.I., http://188.8.131.52/midlib/tutor.htm
The Ramapo Catskill Library System, developer of
the KidsClick! search engine, http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/KidsClick!/,
has created a companion web site in an effort to teach web
searching skills to upper elementary and middle school students
(grades 4-7), http://www.worldsofsearching.org/
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:
- Best Information on the Net: Resources for Librarians -
What's new on the Net, http://library.sau.edu/bestinfo/Librarians/new.htm
, is nice short list of links for keeping up with what's
- Jenny Levine's Stay Current in Cyberspace, http://www.jennyscybrary.com/current.html.
Her section on Staying Current with Internet Culture and
provides links to good Info Tech and Net news sources.
- Web-Savvy: Keeping Current with Web-based Resources,
, is a great list of links to e-newsletters, web site updates,
announcement pages, etc.
Here is just a sample of the many Net update sites run by
8.12 The Internet is like a
It started with Hanan Cohen's question to the WEB4LIB discussion
"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
"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 http://probe.ci.manchester.ct.us/page3.html
"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
"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, http://www.greenjungle.com/pub/education/internet/one.html
"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,
|8.13 Smile, you're on Library Web
A partial list of libraries with Web Cams:
Pombobrairie, the library of Eezee at Luxembourg province http://users.skynet.be/pombobrairie/