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In this time of disappearing budgets and increased workload it can be difficult to keep up with all the new web sources that can supplement the reference collection. This course will update you on free web resources you can use to find the answers to 70% of the ready reference questions you're asked. You'll learn where to find information quickly on topics such as

  • Photos of the San Diego fires that aren't copyrighted;
  • A current list of U.S. soldiers from California killed in the Iraq war and occupation;
  • All the candidates for my state assembly district in the November election;
  • Prices and reviews for burr grinders;
  • Percentage of people in my congressional district who speak a language other than English at home; and
  • Why there is such a large voter turnout in Australia.

Save time, money and frustration by tuning up your online reference skills

Workshop Description: This all-day hands-on workshop will teach you the tools you need to quickly mine the web for answers to ready reference questions. Additionally, through exercises, quizzes, and group 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. Carole Leita, founder of the Librarians' Index to the Internet and life-long reference librarian, will provide cheat sheets, guided discussions, and a webliography as well as practical tips for improving your search strategies to reduce the time spent searching for that elusive answer.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Gateways, Portals, and Specialized Databases
    • Definitions and type
    • Sources for finding them
    • The best health, legal, and business gateways
  • The Online "Ref Desk" Collection
    • Cool new resources
    • New uses for old standbys
  • Subject Resources for Ready Reference
    • Religion
    • Music
    • Statistics
    • Elections
  • Additional Techniques for Finding and Using Online Reference Tools
    • Using search engines for ready reference
    • "Limiting" for success

Workshop Instructor: Carole Leita