Although discovering and writing a college paper has by no means been toddler’s play, it became a bit greater honest and less complex earlier than the advent of the Internet. Aspiring pupil researchers truly visited their college’s library, in which they may effortlessly test out some relevant books after consulting the cardboard catalog and use a periodical index to find a magazine article or two. Nowadays, there are many extra picks in addition to the ones normal, “old skool” standbys. Still, the Internet has yet to render the library out of date!

The World Wide Web has ended up a boundless source of statistics, bringing information to the houses of millions. Yet, no matter the tens of billions of pages to be had online, it’s a mistake to finish that the whole thing is available (someplace!) at the Web. Contrary to famous belief, the whole global’s awareness is not online and unfastened for the taking. Some statistics will fee you, even as different assets are nowhere to be discovered.

Additionally, the Web is rife with misinformation. Unfortunately, many college students now not best flip first to the Internet for his or her research desires, however, they are also handicapped through their inability to distinguish authentic assets from unreliable ones. While the use of the Internet could make studies extra handy, it could additionally bring about carelessness. Students are higher served by means of starting their research on the library and using the Web as a secondary aid.

Fortunately, the Internet has also modified the manner in which the supposedly passé library features. While you could nevertheless see drawers upon drawers of card catalogs, most libraries have also made their catalogs to be had on the line. Computers have facilitated interlibrary loan (ILL) as well. Likewise, paper journals and microfiche persist, however, those resources are supplemented with subscriptions to online instructional databases. Ultimately, libraries have used the Internet to provide the exceptional of each world – the professional sources available at the library, digitalized for greater accessibility.

1. Online Catalogs

In all probability, you’ve probably already used a card catalog, even though it turned into the way back in simple school. While catalogs do still exist, the best news is that most of them were digitalized. Now available online, they are an awful lot less difficult to get admission to and seek. If you could connect to your library’s pc machine remotely, you could even browse their holdings from your dorm room!

Online catalogs usually consist of facts of the library’s holdings (books, journals, dissertations, manuscripts, and many others.), as opposed to the holdings themselves. A record can include any of the following statistics: creator, name, writer, date, and region of booklet, magazine title, concern, and key phrases.

You are probably tempted to brush aside catalogs because they don’t provide immediate gratification – immediate, complete-textual content access to all to be had assets. However, you could get entry to many of the holdings either through online educational databases or in the library itself – all it takes is a touch detective painting!

Other libraries provide access to their catalogs as properly. WebCATS (http://www.Libdex.Com/) is an index of over 18,000 libraries’ catalogs. You can browse them by means of geographical location or search the index via key-word. Each entry presents a direct hyperlink to the libraries online holdings.

2. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Some libraries partner up with others and shape organizations called consortia. These consortia provide get right of entry to one another’s holdings – that is where ILL is available in. When you seek your library’s catalog, most in all likelihood you are simultaneously looking the catalogs of your library’s consortia as nicely. These libraries consist of no longer simplest college libraries, however also public, school, authorities, company, and institutional libraries. If you discover a useful resource that isn’t always available at your “domestic” library, you may either borrow it or achieve a duplicate from the library that homes it.

Many libraries offer this provider online, but when you have any questions or are not able to find a web form, it could be finished at your library’s reference table as properly. If you are not affiliated with a library (or if you want an aid that belongs to a library that your very own library is not associated with), you might be able to borrow or order it for a price.

3. Academic Databases

Academic databases are privately owned or proprietary databases that charge users a fee to search their holdings or retrieve complete-textual content files. While participants of the public will pay to use those services online, students have equipped get entry to dozens of proprietary databases that their libraries enroll in. These academic databases can cowl a huge variety of subjects, from business to the humanities, and offer the whole lot from citations and abstracts to complete-textual content files. A single enterprise may also produce numerous specific databases, and special databases may also encompass a number of the identical materials (together with journals, articles, or maybe smaller or extra particular databases).

Before you could select the proper database, you want to have a popular concept of what problem you may be studying. Then, browse your library’s website for a database that covers your preferred subject matter. Most in all likelihood, you will have numerous promising databases from which to select. Don’t be discouraged, and do not rely upon just one – strive all of them out! Although a number of their coverage may overlap, you’ll in all likelihood be capable of finding particular resources in each of them.

While students veer towards databases, in particular, those who provide on the spot get admission to complete-text articles, that is a grave mistake. As expansive as they will be, educational databases don’t usually include books, dissertations, or multimedia substances. Their insurance generally only dates returned to the Seventies, and that they don’t offer an exhaustive coverage of maximum disciplines. Even worse, the full-text articles now and again include mistakes, which includes typographical mistakes and omissions of sections of the article – or even the whole article itself! Ideally, you have to supplement your use of full-textual content databases with databases that handiest provide citations or abstracts. Then, you may use your library’s online catalog to find hard copies of the substances. If the sources you are interested in aren’t available at your library, it is very possible which you’re librarian might be capable that will help you track them down.

The next time you need to do a little study, make the first stop your library instead of your pc! Far from being supplanted by using the Digital Age, libraries have integrated new technology into their services, making them extra useful than ever.