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Great Sites Center

Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Internet educator Walter McKenzie selected the sites listed here, which are among the best on the Web for teaching students about conducting online research.


  1. Awesome Library
    Awesome Library is a fantastic source for reviews of educational Web sites, from content areas and reference sources to links for everyone connected with schools -- staff, students, parents, community members. Annotated much as a periodical index is, Awesome Library offers descriptions of recommended sites and stars those links it considers part of the top 5 percent in education. More than 15,000 pages expressly for educators are reviewed here. Your students, whether they are teenagers or younger kids, will find games, discussions, project ideas, and information about everything from the most popular movies to book recommendations.
  2. Cyberlibrarian's Rest Stop
    The following statement appears at the top of the main page of this site: "This site contains helpful tools for the Web searcher, research on virtual library collections, Web-searching methodologies, and a collection of resources for staying current with Web resources." The site more than lives up to that claim. Teachers who want to offer their students Web-use strategies that can help them get the most out of the Internet might use this site as the basis for a lesson plan, a unit plan, or a semester-long lesson series. Teach your students about field and Boolean search techniques. Help students understand how to evaluate Web sites and avoid the misinformation that abounds. Explore the Web with your students as you all learn about search engines, Web directories, searchable databases, and more.
  3. Digital Librarian
    Subtitled "a librarian's choice of the best of the Web," this directory of Internet resources covers some 90 categories. The onsite Google search engine helps serious researchers and Web neophytes make the most of their online time. Whatever their skill levels or interests, your students are sure to find something here. Margaret Vail Anderson, from Cortland, New York, keeps this site current by checking links regularly. Monthly additions to the site are also listed.
  4. Internet Library for Librarians
    Although this Infoworks site presents a highly categorized collection of links developed for librarians, this Web database includes plenty of offerings anyone interested in Web research will find useful. In the Ready Reference section, your students will find language and subject dictionaries, maps, writing guides, almanacs, fact books, links to news and weather, and biographies. Teachers will find this site a valuable resource, and students of middle school age and older can find everything from an encyclopedia article about bugs to Grandma's ZIP code. Younger children may need guidance, but you can probably turn those teenagers loose and let them explore.
  5. LibCat
    As soon as you load this site, you'll know you've found a no-nonsense, professional listing of the best major libraries online and the resources they have to offer. It includes special collections, public databases, and a slew of library support materials. The site is fully searchable, and users are encouraged to recommend sites they would like to see added, so it's always growing and improving. Students, their parents, and everyone on the school staff will find something useful at this site. Teachers can use the site as a vehicle to take their students on an in-depth journey of reference resources on the Web.
  6. Librarian's Index to the Internet
    This site, "by librarians, for everyone," is one of the most well-developed sites for "cybrarians." Maybe the familiarity of its traditional looking layout is part of the key here, but I love the way topics lead to further subtopics. Each subtopic includes a well-worded definition, a definitive link to the subject matter, and the opportunity to search, using the subject as a keyword, for additional links. True research aficionados will love this site, and beginners will find the site a comfortable way of joining the sometimes confusing world of online research!
  7. Mad Cybrarian's Library
    From TortiseShell Cottage, this exhaustive site presents a comprehensive listing of online texts by author. Imagine being able to look up Charles Dickens and find every online version of his works in full text ready to use for research or instruction. The search function is not activated, but everything is listed alphabetically by author's last name, so access to what you and your students need is only a couple of clicks away.
  8. The World Wide Web Virtual Library
    This site has a simple design that puts a premium on quick loading links without the graphics and banner ads that can slow users down. Do your students want to know how animals communicate? Here, they can find that information for dozens of species. This site will readily accommodate different skill levels among your students. If they don't want to use the intuitive categories, the search function allows them to dig deeper, using their own custom-made queries. The maintainers update their sections and add new pages continuously. The site is an excellent example of one of the best uses of the Web -- making information available to everyone, not just professional scholars with access to large library collections.

Walter McKenzie
Education World®
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