By Libraries join forces to teach classes
Ever feel lost when viewing all of the options when you click onto the Internet or use a database? Classes offered on Feb. 17 and Feb. 24 should help.
The Havre-Hill County Library and the Montana State University-Northern Vande Bogart Library will be joining forces to teach classes on using the internet and using online services.
Havre-Hill County Librarian Bonnie Williamson and Vande Bogart Reference and Instructional Librarian Brent Roberts will be teaching the classes jointly.
The classes are free and open to the public, with no registration required.
The first class, to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17 in the Havre-Hill County Library Meeting Room, will cover using various Internet search engines.
The second class, also at 7 p.m. in the meeting room, will be held on Thursday, Feb. 24. The topic of this class will be using online services and library databases.
Roberts said in the first class, he and Williamson will each take one-half of the class time and explain their favorite search engines. He said each engine, such as Yahoo or Alta Vista, have different features and functions. They will both explain their favorite engines, he said, showing how to use various features and how to effectively search the net.
Williamson said their goal will be to teach the members of the class some new ways to search that will make their searches more effective. She said along with searching effectively, an important element is to evaluate what you've found for quality and validity.
"There's both amazing stuff and junk on the Internet," she said.
Roberts said the second class is very convenient for the Hi-Line. Online library databases allow people to easy access to resources, which is especially convenient for people who live miles away from the libraries, he said.
Roberts said this service allows people to find sources and material without having to special order it, check it out, or even come to the library.
Williamson said they will show students in the class how useful online services can be and some new sites for the students to visit. One site available through the library is the Gale Group's Infotrac service, she said.
The Infotrac service indexes over 3,500 sources, Williamson said, including various magazines, newspapers and reference sources. The sources are split into seven separate databases, she said, such as expanded academic abstracts, children k-12, a health reference center, and business and company profiles. Williamson said that 75 percent of these entries include the full text from the original source, so viewers can read or use the entire article without leaving their computer terminal.
Williamson said this service was made possible by the Montana legislature. She said the legislators included funding for this service as part of the state library budget.
Williamson said this is an exciting time to be in the information distribution business. She said they have to be both accurate and quick in the information provided. She said she learned to be a librarian under the card catalog system using 3x5 index cards, and has progressed to computerized systems.
Libraries have to keep changing with the times and keep up with current technology, Williamson said. She said there are state certification standards the library has to meet. In order to receive funding, she said, they have to make sure the library meets current standards.
Roberts said they assemble much of Vande Bogart Library's resources with distanced learners in mind. He said much of their resources are electronic. He said they pay to access databases to allow students to research from the convenience of their own homes.