Home > school, tech, web > the wonders of the web in relation to research

the wonders of the web in relation to research

i love the internet – everyone who knows me understands that i'd likely be the first to sign up for a permanent jack into the web.  but where it is really starting to shine for me has nothing to do w/ entertainment, but rather the ease w/ which i can gain access to information – and not just John Doe who wrote something on his blog about something that interests him or some CNN article.  i mean scholarly academic work.

Google Scholar's been around for something over a year now, and it is by far the best addition to online research.  my school, University of Texas, integrates Google Scholar right from the library's main webpage.  if you're on campus, than any hits you pull up through Google Scholar that the university maintains subscriptions are automatically integrated.  so my search on XYZ pulled up a hit in the journal of ABC – UT has access to it, so all i need to do is click the link and read the article.  better yet, you can still access this feature even if you're not on campus (like right now as i'm doing research in NY).  you can log in through a link on the library's homepage to still access this google scholar feature.

but what if we don't have access to a journal in the years desired?  for instance, today i did a search for an article in New Scientist from 1996.  UT's access only goes back as far as 2002.  but i could access the article through UT's membership w/ Lexis-Nexis.  so even if the university itself doesn't have the info, it is very likely that through some sort of partnership w/ other research institutions or organization that i'll be able to find the info.  all from my computer no matter where i am.

this is a wonderful development in the world of research, and one that i think will make research and learning more accessible to the masses (if they choose to learn).  one no longer need trek to the library if they live far away or if the weather is bad.  you can learn anywhere you want in any condition you want.  this isn't an argument against congregation – the ability to interact physically w/ others is still extremely important, but it doesn't have to be a determining factor anymore.

when all new books are published both physically and electronically, so that i can take out a book from the library no matter where i am and search the text to find exactly what i want – then we'll have some serious asskicking learning!  [btw, google book search and amazon's 'search in the book' already provide the ability to search text in a book and read excerpts, but only for a few pages with the intent that you buy the book to read more.  it would be great if libraries had this service in its entirety – something google has been trying to do, but unforunately has been stifled by copyright activists.]

Categories: school, tech, web
  1. April 22, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    This is such an interesting post. Thank you for sharing it. You might enjoy a few posts on my site.



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