My Favourite Tipples from an enquiry answering expert
Thursday, 3rd November 2016
My Favourite Tipples are shared by veteran research & information skills trainer Tim Buckley Owen. The 7th edition of his book "Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time" is due out next year, and some of his favourite online resources come from the section devoted to "Choosing Your Toolkit".
The 7th edition of my book "Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time" is due out next year, and some of my favourite online resources come from the section devoted to "Choosing Your Toolkit". Besides all your specialist resources, it's really helpful to have at your fingertips details of a few more general ones that can get you started on a wide range of different types of enquiry. Many of the sources I recommend in the book are charged-for, but here are a few of the free ones.
- WorldCat: Even in this ultra-connected age, sometimes you do still need to identify places where you can consult hard-to-find or out-of-print books. WorldCat will not only tell you in which of 10,000 libraries worldwide you can find over 2 billion books, but also shows you how far away from the library you are.
- Directory of Open Access Journals: Open access can be a win-win - making reliable peer-reviewed articles and papers freely available to all. Governments and other funding bodies are increasingly requiring that research funded at public expense be made available through open access first, instead of in expensive journals, and this expanding resource now identifies over 2 million articles in close to 10,000 journals.
- CIA World Factbook: If you need to bone up quickly on the basics of a country or international organisation, go for this invaluable guide, which covers 267 world entities and also provides a stack of ancillary information such as flags of the world and international environmental agreements. Compiled by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, it's paid for by the American taxpayer.
- Offstats: Now I know Arthur Weiss included this in his recent Tipples but I make no apology for mentioning it again because it is a fantastic resource providing free access to official statistics on every imaginable subject. Use it in combination with the CIA World Factbook (see above) to enhance your instant country or regional briefing.
- Phil Bradley's website: Comprehensively well-informed about online resources, Phil's website includes blogs on internet search techniques and social media tools, together with curated links to over 200 search engines (yes - there's more than one). Oh, and he's also recently launched his own search engine for British national and local newspapers.
One resource I turn to for fun or non-work reasons:
- From our window in Cowes we can spend hours watching the comings and goings of ships approaching or leaving Southampton. To find out what they are we turn to enthusiast John Ambler's Live AIS Ship Movements from the Isle of Wight.
An article in Jinfo which I found particularly interesting:
- There's masses of wisdom in Shimrit Janes' "Getting More Value from Your Query Handling Services". As Shimrit says, unless you manage the process properly, you run the risk of just answering the question in front of you instead of using it as an opportunity to reinforce your expertise.
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