Favorite Internet Resources for Special Libraries

A presentation of The Internet's Top Ten on April 28, 1995 at the 1995 Oregon Library Association Conference. Periodically updated.

Because Special Libraries vary so widely in focus --business, engineering, law, telecommunications, agriculture, etc.-- it is virtually impossible to compile a short list of top Internet resources that are of interest to all Special Librarians. Therefore, this "Top Ten" list, actually 20, reflects the favorite resources of one business reference-oriented special librarian, who specializes in market research, international trade, and Internet training and marketing. Since I'm never sure what topic I'll be asked to research, many of my favorite sites are "subject index" type sites, which contain resources for researchers in all areas.
Terry Brainerd Chadwick, InfoQuest! Information Services

June 5, 1999: Internet sites change rapidly and addresses go out of date. New sites emerge and become favorites. I've deleted outdated addresses and added a couple that I'm using all of the time now.

Favorite Search Engine

Despite all of the new search engines that have started since 1995, this is still my favorite for its powerful search engine allows either relevancy or boolean searching on a variety of criteria. You can combine multiple "ANDs," "ORs," "NOTs," and field limits within a single search statement. You can search in a number of different languages, and it offers a number of specialty searches, such as PhotoFinder. As of May 1999, AltaVista indexed more than 150 million web pages, the most of any of the major search engines.

Favorite Subject Guides

Librarians Index to the Internet
This directory is both a well researched and comprehensive list of the best sites on the Internet in 43 major categories. You can use the menu to drill down into into the site or keyword search it. There is a New This Week page, and you can subscribe to a weekly email newsletter to keep you up-to-date.

Gary Price's Direct Search
This site contains an ever-growing compilation of direct links to the search interfaces of databases and other resources that are not easily searchable from the general search engines. Besides the thousand plus resources listed on Direct Search, Price also maintains a List of Lists, Speech/Transcript Center, , and other resources available from the Direct Search site.

The Argus Clearinghouse: Subject-oriented Internet Resources Guides
Guides to Internet resources on all sorts of subjects. Since my original review, the site has gone on the web and commercial. The result is that fewer of the guides are easily printable, but they are also rated, and more up-to-date. This is a great place to start research, particularly if you know nothing about a subject and want resources written by subject experts that will go beyond the web to include discussion groups and other Internet resources.

Favorite Multi-purpose Guides to the Internet

The December List: CMC Information Sources by John December is a great resource about computer-mediated communication and internet resources on the Internet. It has sections on People, Culture, Education, Technology, Forums, searching the Internet, introduction to the Internet, and more.
Although December has discontinued his list, and it is no longer easily printable, the site is still a great resource site, particularly for Internet lists, culture, and people. (5/99)

Scott Yanoff's The Internet Services List hasn't been updated since 1995, and is kept on this list for historical purposes. It is a major compendium of subject-based resources on the Internet.

List of Usenet FAQs
Some of the most useful information on the Internet is contained within the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) articles posted on the Internet and by various mailing lists. If you need background information about a country before a trip, a FAQ will give you the kiind of information you never see in State Department reports. Do you need to know how to electrically wire your house? There's a FAQ on it. Want to find information about tinnitus, AIDS, bookstores around the world, US immigration, or soccer? Look for it here. If you can't find it here, check out the Internet FAQ Archive.

Favorite Searchable Magazine Database

UnCover is still hard to beat as a magazine/journal database and document delivery service. More traditionally available via Telnet

Hermograph Press - Free Magazine Archives You can subscribe to their NetJournal Directory of full-text journals archived on the WWW (fee-based), or browse their list of Free Magazine Archive Websites.

Favorite Library Catalog

Melvyl, now known as the California Digital Library, contains more than 8.2 milion titles of materials in the University of California libraries and the California State Library. It is easy to search, has a variety of output options that make creating a bibliography simple, and has pointers to many other libraries and research sites on the Internet. This great resource can be searched the old fashioned way by Telnet.

Favorite Government, Legislative, Judicial Resources

Many of the resources listed here in 1995 no longer exist. I've updated this section to include my current favorites.
Cornell's Legal Information Institute is the first place I look for legal information, foreign constitutions, Supreme, and other, Court Opinions, and government information.

Library of Congress Research Tools
This used to be called Government Information from the Library of Congress. The focus has changed, but it is still a great resource that leads to the Global Information Network, Copyright Office, Thomas Legislative Information, Search Tools for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, American Memory project, Country Studies, Library of Congress catalogs, and much more.

The Internet Multicasting Service, with its gateway to SEC and Patent filings, no longer exists, but there are other sources for the data that used to be available through the site:

SEC Filings (Edgar) contains the full text of annual, and other, reports of U.S. public companies.

US Patent Office
When this was last updated in 1997, the USPTO had discontinued full-text patents; but it offers them again (1999), and full-text Trademarks, as well.

IBM Patent Server
This site contains bibliographic data and text of all claims of patents issued by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), plus World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and European Patents and Applications, and some Japanese patents dating from 1994. Currently, the server contains patents from 1974 to present, plus some patents issued during 1971. Patent images are available for patents issued from 1974 to present. You can view scanned images of patent pages through your web browser or order the patents for a reasonable fee. Unlike the USPTO documents, these are available in a variety of formats, pdf, tiff, "SmartPatent," fax, and printed. The site also has a browsable version of the US Patent Classification Directory and a Gallery of Obscure Patents.

Federal Reserve Board

General Services Administration.

GPO Access is my favorite site for general government information. It provides access to a free searchable Commerce Business Daily, Federal Register, US Code, Code of Federal Regulations, as well as many other government docouments.

U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Bulletin Board and National Trade Data Bank have excellent data on international trade and US economic information. The drawback is that they are subscription fee-based.

General Country, State, and Local Information

City.Net contains information about countries and cities around the world. There's some government data here, but there are also subway maps, restaurant guides, museum tours, cultural sites, and much more.

Favorite Newspaper/Newswire

The News Link This site is sponsored by the American Journalism Review and has links to US and international newspapers, broadcasting, cable, radio, and other news resources.

Favorite Online Newsletters

The Netsurfer Digest is my favorite "New Sites on the Internet" newsletter. The best way to get this newsletter is through an HTML version delivered to your email box. It's also available in text format. Put:
subscribe nsdigest-text or subscribe nsdigest-html (preferred) in body of message.

Edupage, available through Educom is a tri-weekly summary of news in the field of information technology. To get it delivered to your email box put:
Subscribe edupage Your_Name in body of message.

NewsScan Daily is similar to Edupage, since it is published by former Edupage editors,ohn Gehl and Suzanne Douglas. It comes out 5 days a week with the latest news in the field of information technology. Issues alternate with "Honorary Subscribers" and "Worth Thinking About" features. You can subscribe on the website or by email, NewsScan@NewsScan.com, putting 'subscribe' in the subject line.

Favorite Commercial Sites

Hoover's Online This site offers a mix of free and fee-based company information. You can get free capsules -- basic data about companies and links to stock, news, and SEC information -- on about 10,000 companies, and fuller profiles for a small fee. It's the first place I check when looking for basic information about a company.

Market Guide This site is similar to Hoover's but focuses on public companies and takes more of a financial approach, giving information about stock, price charts, P/E ratios, etc.

Company Link: Company Lookup This site says that it contains news, research, and contacts for 65,000 companies. The company capsules have links to Hoovers, CorpTech, and other company information resources.

Favorite Entertainment Sites

I don't often get a chance to see the latest movies. TheMovie Web gives me a sense of what I'm missing. You can reach Disney, United Artists, Universal, Grammercy, 20th Century Fox, and other movie sites through here. See clips of the latest movies, hear and see interviews with the stars and directors, download still pictures and cartoons, and more. And for the complete cast listings of movies, or the complete movie listings of actors, you can't beat the Internet Movie Database.

Though the 2Xist Underwear Catalog is a commercial catalog site, I browse it for entertainment.
Companies are told to constantly update their sites with new information and promotions, but I know many people who keep coming back to this Men's Underwear Catalog although the contents don't change a lot. This is an example of a simple, but well-done clothing catalog that displays it's products very nicely. (WARNING: Features pictures of scantily clothed men.)

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Copyright 1995-1999 InfoQuest! Information Services
Last updated: June 5, 1999.
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