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BEV BUTULA: Virtual Reference Shelf helps weed through searches

Many of us query a general search engine like Google or Bing when searching. However, these results may not immediately direct us to a quality website.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of websites, organized by topic, that have been evaluated by librarians and produce superior results? Well, take a peek at the Library of Congress’ Virtual Reference Shelf.

The Virtual Reference Shelf lists more than 25 general areas of research, including business, politics, health, law, history, statistics, and consumer information. The Library of Congress then provides a series of websites dedicated to each area of research. As an example, under the Law category one can find links to Findlaw, The Oyez Project, the Avalon Project, and Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.

Another interesting topic area is titled “Libraries.” This section directs researchers to the various presidential libraries, federal depository libraries, and a public library locator.

This is a great tool for quickly identifying online resources to begin your specific research. Save yourself some time and check this list prior to running a general search and weeding through thousands of hits.

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