Beyond Google: Searching for accuracy

As the sheer volume of information we can access continues growing at an exponential pace, how do you find the information you need and ensure that it is accurate and suitable? While Google and other sites open the door to mountains of information, their search rankings do not list websites in order according to accuracy.

Locating quality material can be a daunting task. Luckily, you do not have to be alone in your quest. Skilled, professional information mediators with knowledge of a vast array of sources are available to help – they are called librarians. Librarians are experts at collecting and managing information resources and making them available to people. If you need medical advice, go to a doctor; for legal advice, see a lawyer. If it is information advice you need, talk to a librarian, who can guide you to high-quality, trustworthy resources that will best satisfy your needs.

If you need medical advice, go to a doctor; for legal advice, see a lawyer. If it is information advice you need, talk to a librarian, who can guide you to trustworthy resources.

Given the amount of time librarians spend helping people locate information, they tend to discover “little gems” – interesting, useful, and content-rich resources others may not be aware of. Below is a short list of Web resources on a variety of topics I’ve discovered in my travels.

American History

American Memory
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse

Produced by the Library of Congress; provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.

Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah

Produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated by the Museum’s collection, from prehistory to the present day.

Countries and Regions

CIA web site screenshot

The World Factbook
https://www.cia.gov/library/ publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.

E-books Project

Gutenberg
http://www.gutenberg.org

Download over free e-books to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.

Health/Medical

MedlinePlus
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

Produced by the National Library of Medicine; contains reliable, up-to-date information about diseases, conditions and wellness issues for free.

Lifelong Learning

Academic Earth
http://www.academicearth.org

Free video courses and lectures from leading scholars.

Politics

FactCheck.org
http://www.factcheck.org

A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that monitors the accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.

Scholarly Journals

Directory of Open Access Journals
http://www.doaj.org

Provides access to free, full text, quality-controlled scientific and scholarly journals. Browse for journals by subject or search for articles on a particular topic.

Science

The National Science Digital Library
http://nsdl.org/search

The National Science Foundation’s online library of resources and collections for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and research.

Sports

Sports-Reference
http://www.sports-reference.com

A combination of sites providing statistics and resources for seven sports – baseball, football, basketball, hockey, college football, college basketball and the Olympics.

Shelly Davis is the head librarian at Wellehan Library on campus. www.sjcme.edu/library