You'd be surprised how often someone says to me, "You librarians sure know everything!" Actually, that's only partly true. We librarians are more like information storage and retrieval experts. We have a good idea of where a particular piece of information might be found, based on past experience and knowledge of information organization schemes. And a lot of it is serendipity - we come across something VERY COOL while looking for something else, and file it away, too, for later retrieval.
But just like other professionals, we need to take continuing-ed classes in order to stay good at what we do. This summer, I and several other reference staff at Central Library are taking a four-week online course called Free, Fast and Factual: Top Online Reference Sources 2008. It is being offered by InfoPeople, an organization dedicated to helping California library staff keep up with new developments in library technologies, library management, and staff development. It is being taught by Sarah Houghton-Jan, the Librarian in Black. We are in very good company - a couple dozen other library staff from across California are taking it, too! I've added the list of web sites we will be examining to Central Library's Del.icio.us bookmarks.
Two mega-sites we looked at this week are the Librarians Internet Index, which leads to popular web resources, and InfoMine - which takes a more scholarly approach. Both are great alternataives to Google for finding authoritative web sites about topics you want to learn more about.
Photo taken by ZaCky and used here under the terms of its Creative Commons license.