The impact of the Internet on reference services in libraries has been staggering. News, sports, government information, business information and companies, associations and organizations are all on the Internet, providing information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
While the Internet provides access to information, the idea of reference services on the Internet are still in the infant stages. Patrons doing their own searches are obtaining a high percentage of misleading, incorrect, or dated information. Librarians are actively pursuing email and web chat reference services to provide conduits to the expertise we can provide patrons who are operating comfortably in this convenient, electronic environment.
Many Internet users are finding the wealth and volume of information too confusing and complicated, and have turned to reference librarians and libraries to help them make sense of this new electronic services environment.
We have books, videos, magazines, and other various tools to help patrons. When we add the Internet to our collection, we can provide some services with greater convenience and speed.
Effectively finding your way around the Internet depends on understanding the resources available and on your familiarity with search engines. Check the resources section for electronic/web reference tools to get more information on search engines, or check out http://www.search enginewathch.com for a comparison and updated information on search engines. There is no one right search engine to use, but most experts recommend getting familiar with several to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
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