The Internet is a worldwide network of computers. It has opened up an overwhelming amount of information to us, at our fingertips, at any time of the day. What you must remember is that there is NO quality control – anyone can put up a professional-looking website, but the information may be outdated or inaccurate. It is up to you, the reader, to evaluate the information and determine what is reliable.
What are the criteria for choosing databases and websites as research resources?
Librarians have always set high standards for choosing the books and other materials we maintain in our library. We use the following criteria to determine whether a website is trustworthy:
Authority: Is the name of the author/institution clearly indicated? Are information sources cited? Accuracy: Is the article well written? Is the information reliable? Are there spelling or grammatical errors that indicate a lack of attention to details? Currency: When was the website created or last updated? Purpose: What is the objective of the site: to inform, advertise, or entertain? Is there a bias?
What is a library database?
Library databases are digital (available electonically via the internet) collections of newspaper and magazine articles, encyclopedia entries, reference books, and other sources on many different topics. We select databases that we consider to be reliable and accurate sources from reputable publishers. They are part of the "hidden web" and are NOT searchable via most search engines.
Many of the fine reference books formerly in print have migrated to online formats and must be accessed electronically for a fee. Just as you might subscribe to your favorite magazine or newspaper, the library subscribes to (pays for) a variety of general and special interest databases for patrons to use for research and enjoyment.
How to access our databases in the library and from home:
You may use most of these resources from home, but some must be used in the library.
When you access our online resources from home, you may be prompted to enter the barcode on the back of your West Hempstead Library card.
On some entry screens you may need to scroll down a list of titles to reach the one you want.
Check the "help" menu in each online research source for hints about searching and using special features.
If you have questions about using these resources, please call 481-6591 to speak with a Reference Librarian during library hours, or email WestHempsteadPL@yahoo.com using "Database Help " in the subject heading.