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Finding Information in a Digital age General Principles Skills used for finding information in the non-digital world are the same as those used for finding information in the digital world

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general principles
General Principles
  • Skills used for finding information in the non-digital world are the same as those used for finding information in the digital world
  • The skills which you all develop as users of libraries containing printed material will stand you in good stead
  • The electronic medium involves a new technology, therefore it requires some different mechanical skill
  • However,  it does not require different intellectual skills
  • If you are deficient in using "traditional" libraries, you will be deficient in using the web
general principles4
General Principles
  • The Web is not a source of information
  • The Web is both a repository of digital information and a tool allowing access to traditional information
  • The Web is not disorganized; it is organized by hardware, remote hosts or servers, to which you have access, and local hosts, the computers used by individuals, corporations, and governments to compile information to be placed on servers
  • The contents of the Internet, including the Web, is organized by the individuals, corporations, and governments that compile the information
  • The best portals only find a small fraction of the information about a particular topic on the Internet
searching the world wide web
Searching the World Wide Web
  • Browsing the entire web using a portal, gateway, search engine, or directory is very inefficient albeit fascinating, like browsing in a library
  • You should start by searching a restricted part of the web, perhaps one with which you are familiar and one in which you have a high degree of confidence of finding relevant and valuable material
  • You might think about using the electronic versions of the texts you usually use for completing projects
some general readings
Some General Readings
  • Knowledge Management (Gene Bellinger)
  • Data Mining (Kurt Thearling)
  • A Paradigm for Understanding the Internet
  • Navigating the World Wide Web
  • The History of Computers and the Internet
  • Office of Information Technology Newsletter
research in the electronic world
Research in the Electronic World
  • The World Wide Web contains two types of electronic information
  • Reference information, which will direct you to material that may or may not be electronic
  • Factual information, which may or may not be accurate, timely, or relevant to your research
  • One way of accessing these materials is via a portal, such as Google
  • A Major Research Tool For You? The World Wide Web
  • Search the Web more efficiently
  • Google Guide; making searching easier
  • Google Tutor’s Google Search Manual
  • Googling to the max
  • Wikipedia
  • The Encyclopedia of Earth
  • Earth Portal
  • E-encyclopedia (Google)
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • MSN Encarta
  • Infoplease
  • Encyclopedia Smithsonian
reference information
Reference Information
  • University of Minnesota Libraries
  • Minnesota Historical Society Library
  • Library of Congress
  • Fresh Energy
  • These sites also contain factual information
  • How to is a valuable link
university of minnesota libraries
University of Minnesota Libraries
  • Sticks - texts - books, journals, and maps
  • B. Clicks - electronic databases
  • Indexes collections of databases, including journals, statistics, and images
  • JStor
  • LexisNexis Academic
  • GPO Access
  • E-journals – the full text articles which may or may not also appear in print
  • Government Information Quarterly
  • Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
  • Annals of the Association of American Geographers
  • Statistics
  • LexisNexis Statistical
university of minnesota libraries13
University of Minnesota Libraries
  • E. Images
  • Minnesota Digital Library
  • Links to other libraries
  • Law Library
  • Government Document Library
  • Business Reference Library
  • John R. Borchert Map Library
  • Forestry Library
  • University Archives
university of minnesota libraries resources
University of Minnesota Libraries Resources
  • Finding Books
  • Finding Journal Articles
  • Electronic Databases: Indexes
  • Electronic Journals
  • Finding Web Sites
  • Finding Business Sources
an alternative strategy
An Alternative Strategy
  • You can start at the home page of a particular institution or a particular organization but a far more efficient way of searching is to use a search engine specific to a group of institutions or organizations
  • University of Michigan Documents Center
  • Federal Government
  • Minnesota
  • Dakota County
  • Minneapolis
  • Nature Conservancy (nonprofit)
  • Xcel Energy
Be wary of sites created by individuals, even a group of individuals with no “controls” on the content
  • Rod’s page
A good place to start might be the sources from which you get your usual information – the mind boggles
  • Star Tribune
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Electronic versions of journals – Time, Newsweek
  • Minnesota Public Radio
  • NBC
  • WCCO
lexis nexis
  • Legal publishing arm of Reed Elsevier plc, an Anglo-Dutch firm
  • Includes Butterworths and Martindale-Hubbell
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic
  • Lexis-Nexis Congressional
  • Lexis-Nexis Government Periodicals
  • Lexis-Nexis Statistical
electronic journal collection at umn
Blackwell's Synergy  (Blackwell Publishing)

Cambridge University Press Journals

Ecological Society of America

Environment and Planning

Harper's Weekly

Hein Online


Interscience (Wiley)


Kluwer Online

National Journal Titles

NatureOxford University PressScienceScienceDirect including Academic Press (Elsevier) Scientific American ArchivesSociety of American ForestersUniversity of Chicago Press

Electronic Journal Collection at UMN
law sites
Law Sites
  • metalinks
  • HeinOnline. The Modern Link to Legal History
evaluating internet resources
Evaluating Internet Resources
  • Evaluating Web Pages (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Evaluating Information Sources (University of Minnesota)
  • Do not forget, virtually anyone can place material on the Web
  • One way to evaluate information found on the Web is to consider the source of the information
  • Domain names then become an important characteristic
  • One type of information is information that has already been published in a different medium
  • Such information may have already gone through some sort of peer review
  • Under this category come the journal articles that can be found in libraries and online
  • These material are usually outdated and will not be updated
questions to ask
Questions to ask
  • Who created the site?
  • What organization?
  • When was the site created?
  • What was the last update?
  • How well can you identify who wrote the site material?
  • What credentials does the author of the site material offer you to justify his/her authority?
  • Are references given?
  • Are links given?
  • How long and with what kind of continuity has the site been maintained?
  • Does the material on the site take into account other perspectives?
citing sources
Citing sources
  • All references in the text should be made by using endnotes
  • Electronically Published Information
  • Source or author
  • URL - the electronic location
  • Date last updated
  • Date visited
  • Text Publications - choose a style and stick with it
  • The Chicago Manual of Style Online
  • Style Manuals and Citation Guides (University of Minnesota)
  • If the electronic information is a digital version of a written publication
  • then give a reference to the written publication
  • only give a reference to the url if it is stable 
web research
Web Research
  • You must cite the source of all the information you use from the Web
  • You must cite two dates, first, the date you visited a particular URL to get the information and second, the date the page was last updated
  • You may use the material on the Web but you may not merely download an entire page, or even a screen, from a particular URL and hand it in as part of your project
  • You must download the material to a word processing package and edit the material, getting rid of the extraneous material and italicizing the cited text
  • There are several exceptions to this general rule
  • A map can be handed in with data superfluous to the map removed – with scissors!
  • A table can be handed in similarly edited.
  • A complete paper that you wish to include in its entirety as an appendix can also be handed in. This last category should be used sparingly
web portals
Web Portals
  • University of Minnesota Libraries
  • LexisNexis Congressional
  • LexisNexis Academic
  • JStor
  • Federal Government Portals
  • GPOAccess
  • FedLaw
  • Legal Information Institute (Cornell University)
  • Minnesota North Star
wilderness research
Wilderness Research
  •  <wilderness act>   21,667  <wilderness> 43,535
  • Google <wilderness> 34,400,000 English pages
  • University of Minnesota Libraries <wilderness> 4687 records
  • LexisNexis Academic <wilderness act> 450 law review articles <wilderness> >1,000
  • JStor <wilderness> 30,453 articles