About.com is a free information resource tool which shares a few similarities to it’s widely popular colleague, Wikipedia.
Some of the similarities are that they are both free resources and they’re extremely easy to use… Another one is that they don’t look great when citing them in a research paper.
Wikipedia is undoubtedly the more popular resource and almost certainly has more articles in its collection.
However, the biggest difference between the two is the way articles are written.
As most everyone knows, Wikipedia uses “group intelligence” to compile what many consider to be highly accurate and extremely accessible information; whereas others consider it to be riddled with erroneous information, typos, and consider it poorly written.
About.com has each article written by a single author. The authors of the articles are known as About.com Guides. These Guides are hired by About.com solely to be their resident expert in a given field. At first glance About.com sounds like it has an advantage over Wikipedia in so much as it could provide more reliable information. However, not all of the About.com Guides live up to the standards that are required in Academe. Most guides are not scholars, they do not have a Ph.D., and haven’t dedicated their lives to their given field.
Many guides on the other hand are very well informed and highly trained, so another similarity between About.com and Wikipedia is that they are mixed bags. You could be getting high quality information from both, but by the next paragraph you can be reading something that simply isn’t true.
The fact is that you are going to get information from website such as About.com and Wikipedia (I do it too), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from websites like these, depending on the accuracy of information that you need, it’s OK to read these articles.
The important thing is that you cross reference the information provided with a more reliable source (i.e. encyclopedia, handbook, reference manual, etc.).
Please know that I am not saying its OK to cite Wikipedia and About.com in your homework assignments (I am 100% against that), what I am saying is that it’s OK to check information resources like these, but you should always check more than one resource to make sure the information is accurate. Lastly, make sure those additional resources are highly reliable — those are the resources you can cite!
It’s even easier to find your way around Scranton, now that street-level photographic images of the city are available on Google Maps’ Street View feature. Using Street View, visitors to our area or even newly minted Scrantonians can get a feel for what it’s like to drive or walk down our streets.
In an article titled “NEPA Goes Global on Google” in Saturday’s Scranton Times-Tribune, staff writer Laura Legere described the benefits of Street View: “Google touts the program’s practical uses: it can help travelers preview landmarks on the way to a destination, shoppers discover if there are parking meters in front of a store, and homebuyers can peek at the neighborhood around a promising house.”
To use Google Street View, just go to Google Maps at www.maps.google.com. Search for an address you’re interested in, and then click on the orange stick figure right above the zoom bar on the left hand side of the map. You can drag the stick figure to “fly” over the streets, or just click on it to get into a full Street View image. Once you’re in Street View, use your mouse or arrow keys to navigate through the entire 360-degree view. As usual, if you need help using Street View, just ask one of the friendly librarians at the Weinberg Memorial Library for help!
You might notice that not all addresses or streets that you view in Google Maps have Street View images available – that’s because Google hasn’t yet photographed *all* of the streets in the Scranton area. While West Scranton is well represented, and major roads throughout the area are visible, downtown Scranton, the Hill section, and the University campus aren’t in Street View at this time. Google is constantly updating their maps, though, so keep your eyes open for Google cars on campus – you can spot them by the large cameras mounted on their roofs.
Greetings to all University students, faculty, staff, and members of the public! I am yet another new staff member at the Weinberg Memorial Library (WML). My name is Neil Grimes and I was born and grew up in Wilkes-Barre which is a part of the Northeast PA region. You can find me working at the Reference desk on Sundays from 12pm-5pm and Monday evenings from 6pm-11:30pm. I began working at the WML back in March of this year. Everyone has been very welcoming and supportive! I can’t thank everyone enough for making me feel like the University of Scranton is almost like a second home. Each day that I spend on campus I find that I learn something different and something new from my co-workers, students, faculty, and members of the public.
For my undergraduate education, I attended King’s College in Wilkes-Barre where I majored in history and secondary education. During my undergraduate years, I worked at UPS where I sorted, scanned, and loaded packages and mail that was being sent to places all over the United States. If you are curious as to how the whole shipping process works, feel free to ask me. Following my four years at King’s I went on to graduate school at Clarion University of Pennsylvania where I received my Master’s in Library Science. Following graduation, I began working as a high school librarian in the Wilkes-Barre area.
Among the skills that I feel one needs to succeed in the 21st century are critical thinking skills, effective writing skills, public speaking skills, and research skills. These are all skills that I have sharpened over the years and that I use on a daily basis. Whether we realize it or not, people are constantly using their research skills when they seek to answer questions in their daily lives. Librarians are very helpful in instructing people as to the best way to research and answer questions, even the most difficult questions. You would be surprised as to how much you can learn from librarians! Don’t be afraid to ask for help as librarians are very good to pointing you to the information that you are looking for.
I have been interested in reading and libraries as far back as I can remember. Among the first books that I ever read were by Dr. Seuss, as I am sure that these are among the first books that most children read. The most recent book that I finished was I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, a true crime story that solves the case of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance once and for all. I won’t reveal any of the details, but I do highly recommend that you read the book. Recently, I read that Martin Scorsese is going to make this book into a movie starring Robert DeNiro.
Outside of spending time in libraries , I love to travel and have been to Italy, Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Tampa, Florida, and Lawrence, Kansas. This is not a comprehensive list of the places that I have been to, but it does hit many of the highlights. Every new place I travel to brings with it new memories as well as the opportunity for some great photographs. There are some great places to take photographs on campus, don’t be afraid to capture some memories when the chance presents itself.
I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to reading, that is to say, I prefer paper and ink over plastic and electrons. However, I’m always open-minded and willing to try new things; so, a couple years back, I decided to read Aristophanes’s The Clouds entirely on my desktop computer. Sadly, I couldn’t make it all the way through and eventually ended up taking the book out of the library.
However, I did learn something from my experience, namely that it is possible to read large amounts of text entirely online. Personally, I read online all the time, but usually in the form of newspaper/journal articles and other short passages, though occasionally I have pulled-up a couple chapters from a book, in order to get by for the time being.
So if you left your book on the bus, or the library doesn’t have it (highly unlikely), or your shipment hasn’t come in from Amazon yet and you need to have a chapter read by tomorrow, then I suggest giving some of the following resources a try. Keep in mind, you don’t need an iPhone or iTablet to read most eBooks, usually you can open them up right from your desktop/laptop, or even on most SmartPhones and PDAs.
Here are the top 5 FREE eBook sites, in my humble opinion:
1.) The Online Books Page – An Index of eTexts brought to us free of charge by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.
2.) Project Gutenberg – There are over 25,000 free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog. A grand total of over 100,000 titles are available at Project Gutenberg Partners, Affiliates and Resources.
3.) Bookyards.com – Bookyards has a total of 16,045 books, 41,384 external web links, 4,197 news & blogs links, 384 videos, 32,787 Ebook links and access to hundreds of online libraries (800,000 Ebooks) for your reading pleasure.
4.) JustFreeBooks – This website is actually a specialized search engine (similar to Google, except only searches eBook sites). Use the search box to find exactly what you are looking for.
5.) MemoWare.com – Contains over 18,000 “premium” titles. I can’t vouch for exactly what they mean by premium titles, but there are some excellent Literature selections and even some Reference texts.
Hello there! My name is Donna Mazziotti*, and I’m yet another of your new librarians here at the U. Although I’ve been around since last March, I figured this is a great place to tell you a little more about myself. You’ll usually find me on the 2nd floor at the Reference Desk in the late afternoons and evenings, Sundays through Thursdays.
This is me:
So, what would you like to know about me? I hail originally from Elmsford, NY (right next to White Plains, NY, which is just north of NYC). I went to undergrad at NYU, where I majored in Drama and English. Any theatre or literature geeks out there will find in me a kindred spirit! Then I went to Library School at Long Island University, where they turned me into a Searching-Junkie. This means if you have a really tricky question about how to search for information about a topic, I won’t rest (literally) until we find something useful on it. In some circles, the fact that I enjoy this endeavor makes me a geek… But that’s okay, because I have way too much fun doing it, so I can say sincerely that I look forward to meeting you soon and helping you tackle those tricky research questions!!
See you at the ref desk…
*Not to be confused with Donna Ramos, our esteemed cataloging librarian.