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August 8, 2001     Beverly Hills Weekly
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as an How To Access Accurate Information And Primary Source Material For Educational Purposes By Michael Tanenbaum It's 3 a.m.,'the library is closed, you've got a political science paper due in six hours, and you're staring at a blank com- puter screen. The horror, the horror! You also just happen to have an Internet connection. For the first time, a significant portion of humanity's vast accumulated knowledge is readily accessible to the average person with the click of a mouse. Given the~ breadth of the Internet, though, it's hard to know what you're looking for if you have no idea what's out there - and next to impossible to find it. The key to successful- ly obtaining relevant knowledge on the lnternet is knowing where to begin. Not surprisingly, some of the best - and most accurate - sites are online versions of real-world favorites. For example, the New York Times On the Web (http://www.nytimes.com) offers its trade- mark superior reporting in an easy-to-navi- gate format with updates every 20 minutes. You must register to read the articles, although registration is free. Perks include access to the Archives section, where you can search for article abstracts from the past year for free; downloading the full arti- cle text costs $2.50. NYTimes On The Web also offers extensive special reports on cur- rent and historical events, such as its ongo- ing coverage of the conflict in the Middle East. Perhaps the most well-respected reposi- tory of encyclopedic knowledge in the real world, Encyclopedia Britannica, also has a stong web presence. Britannica.corn (http://www.britannicaonline.com) com- bines news and entertainment with a stun- ningly exhaustive, first-rate search engine that you'd expect from the meticulous edi- tors at Encyclopedia Britannica. A search for 19th-century President Rutherford B. Hayes, for example, resulted in four major Britannica entries, numerous abstracts and links to recent magazine articles, primary sources, books, and web sites devoted to the post-Civil War, Reconstruction-era president. Two other venerable sources of educa- tional materifil are the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov) and C-Span's own AmericanPresidents.org (http:Hwww.amer- icanpresidents.org). Highlights of the Library of Congress' website include online exhibits with virtual tours of archival mate- rial and links to primary source material of all sorts.-For American history buffs, AmericanPresidents.org is a vast archive of C-Span programs and other related presi- dential material, documentaries and corre- spondence, including links to presidential libraries and multimedia presentations. A search for "George Bush" returns an exten- sive list of television programs and speech- es, relating to #41 as well as #43, all watch- able in their entirety over the Internet via the RealPlayer. For the less erudite, Lycos Infoplease (http://www.inlbplease.com) offers a vast compendium of common facts and trivia with an online dictionary, internet encyclo- pedia and daily almanac. The latter has strongly emphasizes history and the facts behind the news headlines. In addition to its daily almanac, there are daily word quizzes, crossword puzzles and an excel- lent "Ask the Editor" section. Thc editors strive to answer as many questions as pos- sible. Finally, the lnternet abounds with power- ful language reference tools. Alter all, what is the World Wide Web but a massive col- lections of "See Also" pointers known as links'? Webster's Dictionary (http://www.m- w.com/dictionary.htm) is an excellent place to find the meaning and etymology of that elusive adjective. The ARTFL Project at the University of Chicago maintains an online version of Roger's Thesaurus at http://hunmnities.uchicago.edu/forms_unre st/ROGET.html. This site is graphics-free with total emphasis on the hyperlinked the- saurus contents. Desperate for the perfect rapping cou- plet? Go to The Write Express Online Rhyming Dictionary for Poetry and S o n g w r i t i n g (http://www.writeexpress.com/online2.htm I). Assign a rhyme and sign in time. You should never trust evef'ything you read - this is especially true on the Internet. Knowing Which sites to trust is tantamount to a good education and an evening of research well-spent. Michael Tanenbaum is the technical director at Clockwork Websites, LLC. He can be reached at michael@clockworkwebsites.com. 8 Beverly Hills Weekly ...... The Professional Solution for your buslness or companyl You must have a webslte worklng on the Intemetl ...... Your wet)sUe must successfully draw traffic! 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