5 Online Libraries You Should Know About

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Here are five great online resources that can help you research prior to writing your next paper. These online resources can help you save time, and can really help if you don’t have time to visit a library.

Google Scholar
The advanced features on Google Scholar can help you quickly narrow down and research your topic of interest. Google scholar provides you a rich database of research material available on the web. Though much of the content requires passwords to view full journal articles, you can still view abstracts for free.

E-Research – Harvard University
This research site will provide you with a list of journal articles and online references for whatever topic you’re interested in. Though this site was built for Harvard students, you can still access and use the site without a student ID. Simply click on the “show unrestricted” button to get access to free content.

LibrarySpot.com
Library Spot can provide you with online encyclopedias, dictionaries, journal articles, and other important reference materials. The website can seem overwhelming at first because of the amount of information available, but it’s definitely a great place to start for general research.

WorldCat.org
WorldCat.org can provide you with a laundry list of books and articles to reference for whatever topic you’re interested in. It’s sort of like going to the largest library you could imagine. It’s all there for you to sort through to find the books that might help you for your paper. The only problem is that it doesn’t provide any abstracts for the books you want to know more about.

Encyclopedia.com
This site is valuable because it provides links to tons of great online encyclopedias. Just type in a term and you’ll find dozens of definitions and information about that topic–with links going to the various online encyclopedias. The only problem with this site is that it’s cluttered with ads.

These five online libraries will help you with your research.

Book Report Hack: How to Analyze a Book Quickly

As an English Literature major in college, I had to read 4 to 5 books per class. This meant that within a 10 week quarter, I would have read over 20 novels. It was a lot of work, but here’s a technique I used to help me analyze the books quickly:

1. Read the Plot Overview First
You can find plot summaries of most books online. I recommend checking out sparknotes.com, cliffnotes.com, or wikibooks.org. Plot summaries can give you a general understanding of the plot before opening the book. It will spoil the ending for you, but it will help you focus on the major plotline while reading.

2. Read the Themes, Motifs and Symbols
Sparknotes.com offers a Themes, Motifs and Symbols section for every book within its database. This will give you a snapshot of the major themes to watch for. If you know the themes and symbols ahead of time, you can start highlighting any reference in the book that relates to that theme.

3. Underline, Highlight and Write Notes
After you know the plot and major themes, you’re ready to start dissecting your book. As you study, start underlining the key passages that relate to the major plots and themes within the novel. Then make sure to catalog all your notations on a separate piece of paper. Write down page numbers and a brief comment of why that page or section is important to the main theme or plot you’re studying. This will be extremely helpful when you start writing a report or essay about the book.

4. Read Journal Article Abstracts
If you have time, it also helps to search for journal articles about the book you’re reading. I don’t mean start reading through dense journal articles. That takes too much time. I just mean that you should skim journal article abstracts so that you know what scholars are thinking about the book you’ve just read. Simply visit Google Scholar and type in the name of your book. Read the article abstract to give you ideas of what to write about.

Lastly, if you really don’t have time to read the book at all, then start reading through chapter summaries from sparknotes.com or cliffnotes.com. It’s not the best choice, but it will give you some preparation prior to a test or writing an essay.

Top 7 Websites to Visit Prior to Writing Your Research Paper

You know writing a research paper can be a tedious process.

Not only do you have to spend a lot of time writing, but you also need to spend many hours finding and reading appropriate journal articles and books.

To make your life a bit easier, here are the top seven websites you should visit when starting your research paper. You might be surprised how much you can learn about your topic without even going to a college library:

Wikipedia
Wikipedia is always a good place to start when beginning initial research. The articles will usually provide you with a good summary of the topic you’re interested in. And the external links sections might give you some other links to consider. Check the discussion pages for further investigation.

Internet Public Library
The Internet Public Library will provide you with a host of quality websites about the topic you’re interested in. This is definitely a great resource for finding books and articles about your chosen topic.

Google News Search
Depending on what type of research you’re doing, Google News Search might be appropriate. Google News archives newspaper articles. All you need to do is type in a word and newspaper articles using that word will appear in chronological order. It’s very handy when looking for current news about your topic.

Microsoft Book Search
If you’re looking for a book in the public domain, check out this book search. You can search every word in a book, and even download entire books as a pdf. It’s a great resource for finding relevant content in older books.

Google Book Search
If you can’t find a particular book in Microsoft Book Search, definitely check out Google Book Search. You can search for current books in Google, but you’ll only get a limited preview. Google Books will also provide full downloads of older books (in public domain).

Virtual Library
Virtual library is a place that hosts tons of links on various topics. It’s easy to get lost in this website because of the amount of information available. It’s not as user-friendly as the Internet Public Library, but it does provide great links.

Google Scholar
As you get more focused on your topic, don’t forget to search in Google Scholar. This website will extract articles from academic journals. It’s a great resource for finding high quality articles on your topic. Many of the links might only give you an abstract (or summary) of what’s in the articles, but you can save the reference information and find the journals at your local college library.

No doubt there are many articles and journals that you cant access without student identificaiton, so if you run into roadblocks on articles you really need, visit your local public or college library. Libraries typically have access to passwor protected research sites..

And if you still have problems getting a particular journal article or book, just ask for help from a college librarian or research associate. It’s their job to know how to find and get information, and they will probably have some great recommendations.

Best wishes on your research.

Start Using Google Scholar to Save Time on Research

If you don’t have access to library databases at home, you should definitely start your research using Google Scholar. To describe Google Scholar as simply a website that simply archives and organizes online journal articles would be an understatement.

Google Scholar not only lets you search for articles by search terms (like every other journal database), but it provides you with great search features like:

Related Articles Link
Most every article listed within Google Scholar has a “related articles” link. The “related articles” link expands on articles not cited within the article itself, and can provide you with a long list of scholarly journal articles you might not have thought about checking out. You can spend hours just clicking through the related links of the journal articles you’re interested in.

Cited By Link
Another great tool on Google Scholar is the “Cited by __” link. This nifty link will give you set of online journal articles that cite the article you’re interested in. So the articles with more citations should give you an idea of the article’s importance within your research topic
. It’s a great tool to quickly find articles most referenced in other journals, which means you might want to consider reading and citing those highly referenced articles too.

There are many other advanced search features and scholar preference searches, so go check it out.