Finding trustworthy sources of information, comparing, analyzing, and verifying them has become a very challenging task in the last decade. Here we give you a tour of the solutions that can help you to find out what's true or not.
What are online libraries?
Several online libraries offer free access to millions of reliable documents (books, videos, pictures) covering several topics in the scientific, technical, or humanities fields. Moreover, their catalogs are regularly updated and provide the most relevant references in any research area of your choice. For example, suppose you are working on some documentary work, where it is essential to rely on the work of known authors. In that case, these platforms can save some considerable time and enrich your bibliographic database with references that are not to be found elsewhere on the internet. In addition, some of them list the most recent publications in the advanced technical fields that can be very useful to policymakers and business executives in their area of expertise.
The Free Library
The Free Library is a catalog for online resources and a comprehensive foresight website covering several technical fields (business, communication, health, law). A valuable tool for professionals and policymakers to access updates and the latest newsletters, magazines, journals, and newspapers.
The advantage is that this library allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds of hundreds of technical journals identified as reliable (e.g., automotive, engineering, agriculture, insurance, real estate, etc.).
Gallica is a library that includes about 1.2 million references in the following categories: books, maps, manuscripts, pictures, press articles and magazines, music, lyrics and music, and e-retailers. The advantage is that it allows you to browse entire books.
Questia is a multilingual online library offers 72,000 books in full text from over 300 publishers and above 2 million articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers. It gives privileged access to many sources. The advantage is that it offers a search filter criteria (date of publication, media type: book, magazine, journal, etc.).
What are online slide hosting services?
Widely used by professionals, online slide hosting platforms are a reliable source of information for marketing departments (advice and sharing/ feedback). Some of these presentations (also "white papers") are published by independent organizations or other secondary sources and are generally based on significant studies. The primary role of this type of platform is to display presentations, but they also allow users to share content and communicate.
SlideShare integrates blog content and Web 2.0 tools. This platform specializes in hosting technical and professional content (presentations, PDF documents) and regroups some 25 million users.
Scribd is an online document database that regroups tens of millions of documents (PDF, Word, and PowerPoint). Much of these resources are genuine (e.g., official content, institutional, Stats, etc.). Scribd also provides a "social networking panel", allowing users to comment on and rate sources, thereby better assessing their usefulness/credibility.
What are Google tools?
Google offers two handy tools to find books and reference articles:
Google Books search engine has hundreds of thousands of original references and is regularly updated. To quickly assess their relevance, it allows you to view essential information about the books (author, publisher, year of publication, number of pages). Note that Google Book has several search filters (years of publication, ISBN, and ISSN codes)
Google Scholar can be very useful for finding scientific and technical (including the most recent) documents (scholar level). To measure the relevance of an article, Google Scholar includes the domain name of the site where the content is hosted (.edu or .org websites indicate a high degree of reliability) and the number of times the article has been used as a reference.