Free, Fast, and Factual: Top Online Reference Sources for 2006 and Beyond (online learning course)
Free, Fast, and Factual:
Top Online Reference Sources for 2006 and
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
February 7, 2006 - March 6, 2006
In this era of disappearing budgets and increasing workload it can be difficult to keep up with all the new web sources that can supplement your library's reference collection. This course will update you on free websites you can use to find the answers to many reference questions. You'll learn where to find information quickly on topics such as:
- Public domain photos of the 2003 California fires;
- County and city public records available free online;
- Sample business plans and market research resources for small businesses;
- Readers advisory recommendations for someone who likes David Sedaris books;
- Online videos about libraries; and
- All the bands who have ever recorded a version of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."
Completing this course will help you save time and frustration, and will enable you to serve your users much more quickly and efficiently.
Workshop Description: This four-week online learning course will teach you how to mine the web for quick answers to reference questions. Through exercises, quizzes, and threaded discussions, you will update your knowledge of the best, free, online websites for finding factual answers to questions you used to have to refer elsewhere. You will also explore gateways and portals designed to lead you to the best information on specific topics and will learn new uses for old ready reference standbys. Instructor Sarah Houghton, LibrarianInBlack and online reference librarian, will provide cheat sheets, guided discussions, as well as an extensive annotated webliography.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Module One: Gateways and Ready
- Library gateways
- Ready reference tools
- Module Two: Subject Resources Part I
- Government and history
- Module Three: Subject Resources Part
- Module Four: Subject Resources Part
- Consumer resources
- Additional techniques for finding and using online reference tools
Online Learning Details: This four-week course will be taught online using the web. When you register, you will receive a registration confirmation, which will include the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password.
Every student proceeds through the online learning modules at his or her own pace. However, students should expect to commit to spending a minimum of 2 to 2½ hours per week on this course in order to be successful. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to do that week’s assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first week of the course to begin the course work.
Your instructor will be available for limited consultation support for two weeks after the official end date of a course, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that, to give those who have fallen behind time to work independently on the course. However, you will be expected to accomplish the majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first four weeks.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the California library community with an interest in using free web resources to answer questions reliably. This workshop is appropriate for reference and other public service staff.
Prerequisites: This course is taught over the web. You must:
- Have an Internet connection.
- Be able to save Microsoft Word .docs or Adobe .pdf files to your computer and print them out. (For .doc files, a free Word Viewer is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en. Search for "Word Viewer." For .pdf files, a free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html).
- Be comfortable navigating on the web and navigating back and forward on a website that uses frames.
System Requirements: The online learning product that Infopeople uses is called Angel. The following are minimum system requirements for using Angel. You will need access to a computer that has at least these specifications to participate in an online course:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Netscape 7.1 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above.
- Mozilla 1.4 and above which is the same engine as Netscape 7.1, Safari 2.0 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above.
- OS X and above (OS 9 will NOT work with our online learning product)
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on February 7, 2006.