Searching for original and reliable information sources on the internet is becoming a complex and time consuming tasks: because of the load on the search engines, web pages containing the most relevant information is not necessarily the most visible .
It's quite a challenge for professionals seeking reliable information to support an argument, make presentations, seminars and training courses, or make strategic choices.
Yet there is a set of tools allowing access to all sorts of reference materials. They are regularly updated and cover a wide variety of technical fields. So, how to search and find genuine information on the Internet?
Online libraries: technical references and quality bibliographic databases
Several online libraries offer free access to millions of reliable documents (books, videos, pictures) covering several topics in the scientific, technical, or humanities fields. Their catalogs are regularly updated and provide the most relevant references in the any of research area of your choice.If your are working on some documentary work, where it is important to rely on the work of known authors, these type of platforms can save some considerable time and also enrich your bibliographic database, with references that are not to be found elsewhere on the internet.Some of them list the most recent publications in the advanced technical fields and that can be very useful to policy makers and business executives in their field of expertise.
Three free online libraries:
- The Free Library: This is both a catalog for online resources and a comprehensive foresight website that covers several technical fields (business, communication, health, law). A useful tool for professionals and policymakers to access updates and the latest newsletter magazines, journals and newspapers.
- The advantage: This library allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds of hundreds of technical journals identified as reliable (eg automotive, engineering, agriculture, insurance, real estate, etc.).
- Gallica: this library includes about 1.2 million references in the following categories: books, maps, manuscripts, pictures, press articles and magazines, music, lyrics and music, e-retailers.
- The advantage: it allows to browse entire books.
- Questia: This 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 original sources.
- The advantage: it offers a search filter criteria (date of publication, media type: book, magazine, journal, etc.).
Online slide hosting service
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 these type of platform is to display presentations but they also allow users to share content and communicate.
Some of the online slide hosting services:
- SlideShare: Integrating blog contents and Web 2.0 tools, this platform is specialized in the hosting of technical and professional content (presentations, PDF documents) and regroups some 25 million users.
- Scribd is a online document database that regroups some several tens of millions of documents (PDF, Word and Power Point). 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 assess their usefulness/credibility.
Specific search tools from Google
Google offers two very useful tools to find books and reference articles:
- Google Books: this search engine has hundreds of thousands of original references and is regularly updated. It allows you to view essential information about the books (author, publisher, year of publication, number of pages) to quickly assess their relevance. Note that Google Book has several search filters (years of publication, ISBN and ISSN codes)
- Google Scholar: 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 indicates a high degree of reliability) and the number of times the article is has been used as references.