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Surviving the Internet. Strategies for the High-Tech Reference Desk. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Web. Digital Reference. How did we get into this situation? Librarians vs. patron information seeking behavior Survival tool sites. First, a Mental Model of the Web.

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Surviving the internet

Surviving the Internet

Strategies for the High-Tech Reference Desk



Digital reference
Digital Reference

  • How did we get into this situation?

  • Librarians vs. patron information seeking behavior

  • Survival tool sites


First a mental model of the web
First, a Mental Model of the Web

  • Where did it come from?

  • What is its history?

  • How does it work?


Transmission control protocol internet protocol
Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol

  • TCP/IP allows communication across platforms.

  • Acts like the transporter in Star Trek: A Web page breaks up into “packets”, disappears, then reassembles at its destination.


Web born in 1990
Web Born in 1990

  • Tim Berners-Lee invented it at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), near Geneva.

  • Designed for physicists to share information.

  • Marc Andreessen invented the first graphical browser, Mosaic, in 1993 at the University of Illinois.


World wide web has grown exponentially
World Wide Web Has Grown Exponentially

  • 2001 survey shows that Internet is the only thing in 50 years that has attracted the young away from television

  • Clifford Lynch re: Melvyl: “For these users, anything not in the database effectively does not exist.”


Who uses the web
Who Uses the Web?

  • Russian Mafia

  • Islamic extremists

  • Homeless guys in libraries


Information seeking behavior
Information Seeking Behavior

  • Humans are irrational and lazy

  • Humans “satisfice”, settling for “good enough”

  • Is this bad?


The convenience catastrophe roy tennant
“The Convenience Catastrophe”: Roy Tennant

  • Patrons are happy with a quick and mediocre answer

  • Patrons can’t distinguish between types of libraries

  • If they see the Internet as the answer to most of their questions, does that make librarians obsolete?


Librarians think in boolean
Librarians Think in Boolean

  • We focus on finding the “Right Answer”

  • Obsessive compulsive tendencies are plusses in the library world

  • We feel offended when patrons value convenience over accuracy


We must acknowledge our resistance to change
We must acknowledge our resistance to change

  • We librarians have many years of education and training.

  • Still, the public does not understand or respect our expertise.

  • Do remote services make us feel even more extraneous than we already do?


Patrons expect convenience
Patrons Expect Convenience

  • Remote service nullifies the restriction of offering service at a particular time and place

  • Banks have it

  • Public can buy books with it: Amazon.com


Panic factor
Panic Factor

  • Once we offer our skills for free on the Web, we open the doors to a flood of new unsophisticated users.

  • How can we cope?


Our reputation at stake
Our Reputation at Stake

  • Can we combine speed with accuracy in answering questions on the Web?

  • Will we end up with egg on our face?


Our public still needs us
Our Public Still Needs Us

  • Our role changes from intermediary to teacher

  • Patrons still need searching skills

  • They need critical thinking skills more than ever


Five quality points
Five Quality Points

  • Authority: What are the author's credentials?

  • Currency: Is the page up-to-date?          

  • Accuracy/Bias: Hidden agenda?                          

  • Commercialism: Are they trying to sell something?

  • Scope/Coverage: Does the information answer your question--and in enough depth?


The three world wide webs
The Three World Wide Webs

  • The Open Web

    • Anything that can be found with a search engine

    • Free

  • The Gated Web

    • Databases that cost money

  • The Invisible Web



Three basic web survival tools
Three Basic Web Survival Tools or “front end”

  • Google [http://www.google.com/] This is an uncannily precise search engine. Use for almost everything, including spell checking and finding quotes.

  • Librarians Index to the Internet [http://www.lii.org] You need quality information from the Internet? You will find it here, searchable, classified, annotated, and signed.

  • About.com [http://about.com] This is a great place to get the hobbyist’s view of “popular” topics on the Web.


Google it is magic
Google or “front end”:It Is Magic!


Yes thank you google
Yes, thank you, or “front end” Google


Librarians index to the internet
Librarians’ Index or “front end”to the Internet

  • http://www.lii.org

  • Librarians evaluating sites for librarians

  • Searchable


Enthusiasts power about com
Enthusiasts power or “front end”About.com


Ready reference
Ready Reference or “front end”

  • The Internet Public Library (IPL) [http://www.ipl.org] Every link in this searchable collection have been carefully selected, cataloged, and described by a member of the IPL staff. Use their reference section for current links to quality resources. Visit “Youth Resources” to answer those pesky homework questions.

  • InfoPlease Almanac [http://www.infoplease.com/] This is a great destination for quick answers to many questions. Find maps, definitions, and brief biographies here.

  • Merriam-Webster Online [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary.htm] It’s a dictionary and a thesaurus. Keep it open always.


People finders

SuperPages or “front end”[http://www.superpages.com/] Use Verizon’s interface to do nationwide searches of white and yellow pages.

Worldpages.com [http://global.wpz.com/] Click into the phone books of over 235 countries through this interface.

The Ultimates [http://www.theultimates.com] The Ultimates will run a name through several telephone directories without forcing the user to retype.

Search Systems [http://www.pac-info.com] Here is a directory of links to over 1,250 searchable, freely accessible public record databases.

KnowX [http://www.knowx.com] Search its business, people, and professional license databases for free. If you find your person, pay a minimal fee to view detailed results.

People Finders


Full text online
Full Text Online or “front end”

  • On-line Books Page [http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/] This definitive, searchable directory to books freely readable over the Web will help you find any copy of a classic you might need. Search by author, title, or Library of Congress subject heading.

  • FindArticles.com [http://www.findarticles.com/PI/index.jhtml] Need articles? Search this free archive of full-text articles dating back to 1998 from more than 300 magazines and journals.

  • MagPortal.com [http://magportal.com/] MagPortal collects and classifies links to those newsletters and magazines that offer current, interesting, yet free content on the Web.


Business information
Business Information or “front end”

  • Hoovers Online [http://www.hoovers.com] This is the best site for reliable, and often free, business information on the Web.

  • Thomas Register [http://www.thomasregister.com/]In return for a free registration, find out who manufactures what where in the U.S.

  • Yahoo! Finance [http://finance.yahoo.com/] This is a comprehensive portal for current and historical company data, investment information, stock quotes from major U.S. and Canadian exchanges.

  • CorporateInformation [http://www.corporateinformation.com] Register for free to find information about companies in 65 countries.


Law resources
Law Resources or “front end”

  • Nolo [http://www.nolopress.com/] For 30 years, Nolo Press has been “putting the law into plain English”. Use their “Law Centers” for free information on everyday legal topics.

  • FindLaw [http://www.findlaw.com] This is the first-stop, premier law resource on the Web. It features a legal subject index, access to cases and codes, information about law schools, law reviews, and legal associations and organizations.

  • Legal Information Institute at Cornell University [http:// www.law.cornell.edu/] This is the research tool of choice to find the text of laws. Find state laws, federal laws, and laws from around the world.


Medical resources
Medical Resources or “front end”

  • The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy [http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual] Completely searchable, this online publication lists the causes, symptoms, and prognosis of just about everything that can go wrong with you. Too hard to understand? Check out its sister site, The Merck Manual Home Edition [http://www.merckhomeedition.com].

  • MayoClinic.com [http://www.mayohealth.org/home] The famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota offers this resource, which gives reliable, general information about many different ailments and conditions.


Medical resources1
Medical Resources or “front end”

  • InteliHealth [www.intelihealth.com/] This consumer health site from the Harvard Medical School aims to offer you the Web’s most comprehensive collection of consumer health information from the best possible sources. Features the Merriam-Websters Medical Dictionary online [http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9276/9276.html?k=navx408x9276].

  • MEDLINEplus Health Information [http://medlineplus.gov] The National Library of Medicine has assembled its resources onto one attractive portal designed for general health consumers.

  • RxList.com [http://www.rxlist.com] RxList lets you search by drug name, imprint code, or keyword then offers direct access to Taber's Medical Encyclopedia from the result page.


Statistics
Statistics or “front end”

  • FedStats: One Stop Shopping for Federal Statistics [http://www.fedstats.gov] "More than 70 agencies in the United States federal government produce statistics. This site provides easy access to the full range of statistics and information produced by these agencies.

  • University of Michigan Documents Center [http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/index.html] This is central reference and referral point for government information, whether local, state, federal, foreign, or international.


Sites for students
Sites for Students or “front end”

  • Biography.com [http://www.biography.com/] Use this site to "search over 25,000 of the greatest lives, past and present."

  • Science Fair Central [http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/] Visit the Discovery Channel's guide to science fair projects. Get guidance to the steps required in an experiment, get ideas, and search their links and suggested books for data.

  • QuickMath [http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/HSG/RefCalculators.html] Type in an algebra or calculus problem and have the MathScript server calculate results for you.

  • FinAid: The Financial Aid Information Page [http://www.finaid.org] Here is a comprehensive page of student financial aid links.


Travel sites

QIXO or “front end” [http://www.qixo.com] Here is a metasearch engine for travel, a “bot” that aggregates data from at least 27 independent travel sites, including Expedia, Orbitz, the airlines' own sites and smaller sites specializing in travel to certain destinations.

MapBlast [http://www.mapblast.com/] MapBlast, was one of the first mapmakers on the Web. If you know the address, you can get a map and directions for over 200 countries, including the Slovak Republic.

Weather Underground [http://www.wunderground.com/] This site offers forecasts where others fear to tread. Cuba, for example.

Onanda.com [http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic] Get your current and historical currency conversion rates here.

Indo.com: How Far Is It? [http://www.indo.com/distance/] Type the names of any two cities into the search boxes on this Indonesian travel site, and it will tell you the distance between them (as the crow flies) in miles, kilometers, and nautical miles (in case you will be swimming).

Travel Sites


Other useful links
Other Useful Links or “front end”

  • ConsumerSearch [http://www.consumersearch.com] Need to buy a new “durable good”? This site pulls consumer advice from various consumer review sources into one place. Read their “Full Story” report or jump to the “Fast Answers” section.

  • Kelley Blue Book [http://www.kbb.com/] Find the value of old and new cars on this site.

  • Internet Movie Database [http://www.imdb.com/] Visit this site for an amazing amount of information about everything cinematic.


Keeping up with web change
Keeping Up With Web Change or “front end”

  • Librarians' Index to the Internet: New This Week [http://www.lii.org/search/file/mailinglist] Sign up for LII’s current awareness service for keeping track of great new Web sites! Every week, the Librarians' Index to the Internet will e-mail you a list of the best ten to twenty Web sites newly added to this high quality, searchable resource.

  • Yahoo! What's New [http://dir.yahoo.com/new/] Get the scoop on new, hand-picked sites added to Yahoo! in the last week.

  • ResearchBuzz [http://www.researchbuzz.com/] Tara Calishain covers the world of Internet research. Have her entertaining newsletter sent to your e-mail weekly


Keeping up with web change1
Keeping Up With Web Change or “front end”

  • SearchDay Newsletter [http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/searchday.html] Chris Sherman, Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch, keeps us informed about Web searching trends in a companionable way.

  • BusinessWeek Online: Technology [http://www.businessweek.com/technology/] Designed so that non-technical managers can stay abreast of helpful new technologies by investing fifteen minutes weekly reading these stories.


If all else fails
If All Else Fails or “front end”

  • LibDex [http://www.libdex.com/] Need to direct remote patrons back to their home turf? Search LibDex to find the Web pages of libraries around the world.


A few simple tricks

A Few Simple Tricks . . . or “front end”

And We Become Masters of the Medium and the Machines!



Questions? or “front end”


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