Internet citizenship

Since the first satellites had orbited, almost fifty years earlier, billions and quadrillions of pulses of information had been pouring down from space, to be stored against the day when they might contriubte to the advance of knowledge. Only a minute fraction of all this raw material would ever be processed. Arthur C Clarke, 2001, a Space Odyssey

The truth is out there...

You can use the Web as a research tool - to access databases, to investigate library resources and find recent articles. The Internet provides you with unrivaled access to people and information. Most of what you can find will be of no use. These notes may help you sort the gold from the dross.

Using the Internet, you can gain access to:

Library catalogues

The great majority of information is still printed on paper, bound into books and journals and catalogued by libraries.

Using the Internet from home or work, you can search:

Searching all the Victorian libraries at once.

COOLCAT is a combined catalogue of Victorian academic, research and special libraries, including the State Library, operated by CAVAL (Cooperative Action by Victorian Academic Libraries). A full list of participants is shown on the Advanced Search page. You can choose to search all of them, or exclude some from your search.

Learning how to search.

One of the problems with searching library catalogues is that most of them work in slightly different ways. However, they all offer help on how to use them. If you are using a couple of catalogues constantly, it is worth reading the help - it will save you hours in the end.

Librarians are wonderful people. They really want to help you find stuff. The librarians at RMIT (Mike, Isa, Gwen and others) have developed some cool tools to help you learn how to search more effectively.

Have a look at Info-Trek and the Fashion and Textiles toolbag for an example of what they have done. Their tutorials are much better than my tutorials on searching and browsing, and so I highly recommend them.