Do you still go to offline public libraries? Go digital! You will get access to millions of books, articles, audio records, photographs without leaving your cozy room. Is not it worth reading this article to learn how e-libraries work?
What is a Digital Library
An online library is a storage of publications in electronic media formats that can be accessed remotely via computers. Most of the e-libraries have the same principle of work: you sign up on the website, look for a necessary source, download it or use online. In comparison to a usual library, a digital database has a number of benefits:
- “The sky’s the limit”. An Internet connection, to be precise. As long as it is available, you have access to information of an online library.
- 24/7 availability. A very few usual libraries can be attended at night (the most productive time for a lot of students). But digital libraries can be used round-the-clock.
- No necessity to wait for an item. A number of users can read the same book simultaneously.
- Customizable search. You can use any search word or phrase to find a relevant source. You can sort out items by the author’s name, title, subject, format, language, year of publication, etc.
- Conservation. A physical copy falls to degradation from persistent use. But it is not a problem for a digital one.
- More space. As there are almost no physical boundaries at the e-library, it contains more items in comparison to usual libraries.
But some online libraries for students have their flaws. If a digital library is connected to the physical one, you may be asked to put in your reader’s card number.
Credibility of Online Library Sources
Large free digital libraries allow users to upload files to share with the whole world. All items cannot be equally credible. In order to use only quality sources in your research paper, learn what to pay attention to:
- Printed version. If the original of the source from a digital library is printed, such a copy will have more trust.
- Author. A source published by an anonymous author has little credibility. An author that is worth to be cited should be an expert in the field of your research.
- Publisher. Information submitted by a commercial organization is rather questionable. An established publisher, a nonprofit organization, or a government agency are more trustworthy.
- Date. The world is moving on, so recent research is more credible than a discovery that was made 30 years ago. It is not relevant to historical documents.
Opportunities for International Writing
Free databases are useful if you need information for your college assignment, to get ready for your module, or to carry out in-depth research on a subject. While selecting sources for your project, make sure you are using a right library as a country of origin matters. Take note that British e-libraries will store mostly British publications while American ones give priority to the sources from the USA.
Our Personal List of Digital Libraries
If you do not know where to start your research, here is our list of online libraries:
- Internet Archive - this is probably the largest storage of free books, software, movies, music, and more
- Smithsonian Libraries - the citation in most popular styles is already composed for you here
- The Online Library of the University of London - this website is priceless if you need to find British academic sources
- World Library - it is a great tool for your research with user-friendly interface
- Library of Congress focuses on the history of the United States and provides an “Ask a Librarian” service
Do you still have questions about online libraries or the college life in general? Send your question to the Scamfighter Facebook page, and we will answer it in one of our next articles.