Finding Scholarly Content on the Web
The Web offers a wealth of scholarly content. This page offers advice on finding it, focusing mainly on what you can access for free.
~ Visit an academic-oriented subject directory. While not all good directories focus on scholarly sources, most are likely to feature substantive content useful to research. Visit this site's Subject Directories page for some suggestions.
~ Consult college and university departmental websites. Sometimes these sites include or link to scholarly resources in the discipline.
~ Visit academic library websites. Some of them include subject pages created by bibliographers who are experts in their disciplines.
~ Search for content within digitized books. Once you get results, you can access the full text based on its copyright status. Books out of copyright are generally fully available for viewing and printing (there are exceptions to this rule), while only snippets of text or abstracts are available for copyrighted works. For a start, try Amazon and its "Search Inside the Book" feature. Google Book Search offers books derived from publisher agreements and the collections of notable libraries.
~ Look for free research sites with articles, citations, and other scholarly materials. Try Google Scholar for articles, CiteULike for citations. While the sites themselves are free, they may lead to material that needs to be paid for.
~ Visit the sites of scholarly societies. These sometimes include articles, papers, and presentations in the discipline. Try the University of Waterloo Library's Scholarly Societies Project to locate a society of interest.
~ Look for freely-available essays, commentaries, reviews, and presentations. For example, you can read professional book reviews from The New York Times Sunday Book Review and amateur book reviews on LibraryThing. Slideshare is a public site for sharing professional presentations.
~ Visit document repositories on the Web. These sites store scholarly and research materials for public use. Aside from text documents, repositories may also contain datasets, presentations, and multimedia. They are usually maintained by academic institutions, libraries, publishers, and organizations. Some of these repositories post papers before or after their publication in scholarly journals, so different versions of papers may appear. Oister is a useful search engine for locating these materials. arXiv.org is a good example of a repository, this one for the sciences.
~ Be on the lookout for blogs and other social networking sites used by scholars or interested amateurs. The spread of social networking for the purposes of research and academic discussion is on the rise, so keep your eyes open.
~ Visit your local public or academic library to access scholarly content on the Web. Most libraries offer free access to research materials online that they have purchased. Some offer remote access so that you can view these materials from home.!-- end page content -->