Thursday, April 24, 2008

Website Research Tool

Over a year ago, I mentioned the fact that just because something is on the Web does not make it true. This forces each of us to evaluate the information we find on the Web.

Part of Day 3 of our Search Strategies training covers Web evaluation. UC Berkeley has a great site with lots of suggestions for Web evaluation.

You can also try out this new Google feature, a "whois" search. Go to Google and search whois [name of website]. Your first result will be a link to a whois search which provides all sorts of information about a website, such as who owns the domain, how long it has been active, etc. For example, click here to see the search results for whois

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Library That Is Our Databases Page

Imagine walking into a large room filled with bound volumes of current and back issues of thousands of magazines and journals, current and back issues of hundreds of newspapers from around the nation, hundreds of reference books on various topics, genealogical records, legal forms, sample tests, literature criticisms, and more.

By visiting our Databases page, you are essentially doing just that. And would it not be great if you could search all of those materials and find related articles within seconds? You can.

As more and more information is found online, it is helpful for us to envision the magnitude of this information if it were still being offered via paper. We would probably have to build a couple more floors here at Central to accommodate the material! Or, we can look back at the way it used to be when we did not have computers.

In 1887, The U.S. War Department attempted to transcribe their medical records onto index cards, which were stored in Ford Theatre. This worked until supposedly the accumulated weight of the index cards "brought down the house", literally. Twenty-two people were crushed to death when the front part of the building collapsed.

Back in 1910, two Belgian lawyers set out to gather all the worlds knowledge by using index cards. The result is the Mundaneum, an archive of more than 12 million index cards and other documents. Nearly 100 years later, we now have the Internet and the Mundaneum gathers dust and decomposes in a converted department store in Belgium.

Until about 10-15 years ago, these index cards would still be seen as serious methods of data collection. Now, it is a farce! So if you ever feel like you are having a difficult time with information overload, just know that it is better than being crushed with index cards.

some via

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

10 MPLIC Online Services You May Not Know About

Here are ten online services that we offer to our customers that you may not be aware of:

  • Children can read reviews or write their own review of children's books. [link]
  • Teachers can fill out a form that alerts us of any assignments. This will allow us to prepare and ensure we have the best materials ready for that assignment. [link]
  • Customers can read instructions for researching the history of your house. [link]
  • Customers can donate to the Foundation for the Library or become a Friend of the Library online. [link] [link]
  • Customers (or aspiring authors) can request us to purchase certain material. [link]
  • Customers can browse through various award lists that describe each award-winning book and also link to the item in our catalog. [link]
  • Customers can find what books are being read over the air on WYPL. [link]
  • Customers can find a list of all the things one must do to start a business in Memphis/Shelby Co.. [link]
  • Customers can access full-text reference books, magazines/journals, legal forms, practice tests, book reviews on our Databases page. [link]
  • Customers can fill out a volunteer application online. [link]
OK, so there you go. Ten online services you may not have been aware of. Do you have a favorite online service? If so, leave a comment and let us know what it is.