Remember how the World Almanac and Book of Facts; that book I blogged about last week saved your grade with the paper you had due? Ready to rely once more on books that will help you pull off a specific, focused and directed Internet search? I have just the ticket! Now don’t get me wrong; those of you that know me know that I’ll be the first to say there’s nothing wrong in using the Internet as a research tool, so long as you have your head screwed on straight and your brain in gear.
I’ll work you through an example to show you just how this can be done. Say, for instance, that you’re taking a business class here at our campus, and your class has a project. A mega-corporation that controls all of the fruit and nut production in the ENTIRE COUNTRY has asked YOUR class to produce a business plan and a marketing plan for their new product; a “super” snack food that will make tired people zippy, old people young, sick people well, and will allow dogs to speak – in English. And the secret ingredient is their super-peanut!
Your part of the project is to find out everything about the nut industry as it exists now. So how do you start? Bewildered, you do a Google search. Only 49,100,000 hits; well that can’t be so bad. But after a solid week of wandering aimlessly around the Internet, you change your tune. It’s time to embrace some productive strategy, so you go to your friendly campus library to talk to Doug and grab some Tootsie Rolls, and he sets you on the right track.
So what’s the first step? Statistics! Then you ask yourself who would collect statistics like that? The government; probably a state or federal Department of Agriculture. Where do you go next? The Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012 will report these statistics and any other statistical information that emanates from any agency of the government. So what else about this wonder-book is cool?
Well, for starters, it has been doing this each year for 131 years. It’s also extremely easy to use; it’s index is over 50 pages long. Then. Once you find the table you want, it refers you to the specific agency that collected the statistics, and the agency Internet site that will give you all the additional information that you could want to complete your project.
You just landed a whale! No more wandering aimlessly around the Internet! You finish your project on time and save time, energy and frustration. Always remember what Groucho Marx said “Next to a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read, so come to the library.”
Come give this title a look and a test drive; it’s on display in the library.