Saturday, June 9, 2007

Using Free Research Tools

Writers need to do research, often from home, and usually about obscure details that most people wouldn’t know or think about needing to know. A plethora of free research tools are available to writers via the internet, but as many of you know, using search engines like Google can result in thousands, if not millions of hits, and you’re still not guaranteed the information you most need.

Let me point you to a few free research tools that might prove more fruitful, or at least help your find information from the deep web that a surface website like Google or Yahoo won’t know.

The state of Utah, in an effort to make deep web sources readily available to teachers and students, sponsors an organization called the Utah Education Network. One of the perks of using that site is free access to Pioneer, a multi-level research tool.

Pioneer takes you to a variety of resources in the General Reference Collection. These incude:
CultureGrams - Information on countries, the 50 United States and their cultures.
EBSCO - General reference and books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and encyclopedia resources.
eMedia - Search, preview and download educational videos and supporting media.
SIRS Discoverer Deluxe - General reference for elementary and middle schools.
SIRS Knowledge Source - General reference for high school and college researchers.
Visual Thesaurus - A 3-D interactive thesaurus and dictionary.
World Book Encyclopedia - Articles, pictures, maps, audio and video clips.

The special Utah Collection includes:
Deseret News Archives - Search articles from 1988. Also see today's Deseret News.
The Salt Lake Tribune (Today's Online Version.)
SURWEB - Search thousands of images from Utah as well as a media basket to build online presentations.
State of Utah Archives - A repository for Utah's government historical business records.
Utah Collections Multimedia Encyclopedia - Explore Utah video, audio, pictures, maps, text, charts, and graphs.
Utah Digital Newspaper Search old newspapers from various Utah communities.
Utah's Local Newspapers
Counties of Utah

Additional Library Resources available from this site include:
Spanish Resources/Recursos Españoles
MarcoPolo - National curriculum for teachers. Arts, Economics, Geography, Humanities, Mathematics, Reading and Language Arts, and Science.
ThinkQuest - Utah is a state partner for this student-centered, International project.
American Library Association Internet Resources
Library of Congress

So whether you’re in the middle of doing research or not, the Pioneer Library might be a fun place to go and look around. You never know what information you find there that might lead you to your next article, novel, or poetry.

If you have trouble accessing the library from home, the following information may be valuable to you: To access the K-12 Pioneer Library from home, go to:
Username: pioneer Password: cake

1 comment:

Heather B. Moore said...

Very interesting, LuAnn. Thanks for the resources.