Do your own research

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Well to everyone who is in school or taking classes while trying to work I offer you Tutor Kitteh.  (She really IS happy with your progress, but is angry you’ve postponed tuna-based celebrations until after the semester is over!)

In that academic vein I wanted to share some awesome links I’m finding out about thanks to an online class (one of my two classes this semester for Library School).  The class is about online searching and I’ve been shown some pretty amazing ‘secrets’ so far that I wanted to spread around.  Consider these when you’re wondering where to find the best information for your own posts or when you want to try and debunk science that you’re wondering about!  Or just get lost in the awesome fun of finding images by drawing!

Search Engine Watch: Keep track of the latest news about online search engines.  Also has a ratings system to show you the best search providers.

DOAJ: The Directory of Open Access Journals. This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals.  A fantastic way to get a hold of the latest in science studies.  For example, this article which I access through DOAJ, is a literature review from 1985-2005 from the journal “Demographic research” which lays out nicely (on page 51) some of the bare statement conclusions from research done in that period on health risks associated with smoking, obesity, sex, age, education and marital status.  Worth checking out!

Best Search Tools: This chart compares selected search engines and meta-search engines and easily and visually allows you to compare them.

Boolify: Pure fun but also a bit of educational mixed in.  Use puzzle pieces to visually construct your search and see the results below as they increase or decrease depending on how you narrow or widen your search.

American Fact Finder: “Your source for population, housing, economic, and geographic data .”  Online site by the U.S. Census Bureau which provides tables and statistics on the population and the economy taken from the decennial census, American community surveys, 5-year economic census data, population estimate programs and annual economic surveys for the United States. Puerto Rico Community Survey data is also available.

Bartleby’s Quotations: Looking for just the right quote? This combines the best of both contemporary and classic quotations collections into a searchable database of over 87,000 entries, the largest of its kind ever compiled.

Allmusic: Comprehensive music reference site. Look up an out-of-print recording, to get reviews from All Music Guide editorial staff, along with hundreds of expert contributors on a new release, or simply explore the world of music and see where it may lead. All genres and styles of music are covered here, ranging from the most commercially popular to the most obscure.

AprilD_EverythingUseful (Free Reference Sources): Here’s just a list on my own delicious account which will show over 50 awesome FREE sources you can access online to find more information on education statistics, legal services, genealogy, geography, government, language, medicine, jobs, libraries, statistics… it is a great list and annotated much as I’ve done here.

So feel free to browse and watch for new stuff as I continue gaining more fantastic tools from the current class!

And that’s your local online morbidly obese reference librarian checking out; saying “Explore!  You can’t break the Internets but you CAN find new ways to search it better!!”

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