Science and Math Web Resources for the Higher-Education Community

By Lackie, Robert J. | Online, November/December 2003 | Go to article overview

Science and Math Web Resources for the Higher-Education Community


Lackie, Robert J., Online


One of my favorites is Librarians' Index to the Internet [www.lii.org], an often-overlooked starting place for beginning research of any kind, including higher-level science and math. Rita Vine, a professional librarian and Web search expert, writing in the July 21, 2003 issue of LLRX ["Selecting Web Sites for 'Beyond Google' Resource Discovery," www.llrx.com/features/beyondgoogle.htm], cites Librarians' Index to the Internet (LII) as one of her "5-Star Subject Starters," stating that this directory is a very useful free tool for beginning research. She selected LII as "one of the 100 top general starting points for searching the free Web," and I wholeheartedly agree.

The mission of LII is to "provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected Internet resources." Although a large percentage of the sites support K-12 research, there are first-rate sites listed under various sections of the "Mathematics Topics" and "Science Topics" areas. Examples include The Mathematical Atlas [www.mathatlas.org/] and Science.gov: FirstGov for Science [www.science. gov/] that are proven cyber- space gems for higher-level science and math research, as well. Although LII allows you to search by keywords, Library of Congress subject headings, and other advanced search methods, I personally like the directo- ry drill-down approach, clicking on "Science, Computers, & Technology," then "All Science Topics," and then choosing among the "General Resources" or specific "Science Topics" disciplines listed, such as "Biology" or "Mathematics."

LII is useful and easy to navigate, but we are certainly not limited to LII for advanced science and math information-there are other very useful directories to explore. In his January 16, 2003, SearchDay article ["The Value of Non-Commercial Web Directories," www.searchenginewatch.com/search day/article.php/2161641], search expert Gary Price recommends several other noncommercial directories for high-quality information, particularly Academic Info [www.academicinfo.net] and INFOMINE [http://infomine.ucr. edu] for college and research-level Web site resource discovery. Both of these are excellent general directories for higher-level science and math research, as is BUBL [http://bubl.ac.uk].

A searchable annotated subject directory, Academic Info focuses on free, on-line academic materials that are intended for higher-education students and faculty. I hasten to add that it's also of use to upper-level high school students. As with many directories, "Mathematics" will be listed under the "Sciences" link. In addition to the "Engineering," "Health & Medicine," and "Sciences" gateways, explore the "Science & Technology Directories" special resource section [www.academicinfo.net/scimeta.html].

Built by librarians from various colleges and universities around the U.S., INFOMINE points out "Scholarly Internet Resource Collections" resources that are very "relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level." Some 100,000+ sites are grouped into 12 annotated, indexed categories for easy retrieval, with "Biological, Agricultural, & Medical Sciences" and "Physical Science, Engineering, Computing, & Math" listed, as well as links to "Instructional Resources: University."

BUBL, an "Internet-based information service for the U.K. higher-education community," offers information retrieval of academically valuable Internet resources. The BUBL Link category contains Subject Menus, where you can choose relevant categories such as "Physical Sciences," "Life Sciences," "Health Studies," and "Mathematics & Computing," drilling down through each to find annotated links for a wide variety of specialized topics in the sciences and mathematics.

Another unique interdisciplinary resource for educators is the Gateway to Educational Materials [www.geminfo. org], sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Known as GEM, its goal is to improve access and organization to uncataloged educational Web resources from government, higher-education, non-profit, and commercial sites. …

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