The Web Library:
Building a World Class Personal Library with Free Web Resources
Online companion to the
Frequently updated: last update = 6-2-06
AskA and Virtual Reference
Ask Me Help Desk
expert community where you can ask questions in any topic and have them
answered for free. To ask questions or participate in answering them
you must register for a free account.
This site, which has been running since 1998, is one of the first large
scale projects to utilize the internet community's shared knowledge.
Volunteer experts answer your questions.
From the National American Youth Sport Institute. Users may ask
questions or search the site for previously asked questions and answers.
You won't necessarily connect with a live expert, but Jeeves often comes
up with sites that will answer questions from "how to install a garbage
disposal?" to "what is chislic?"
Ask Joan of Art
Specifically for questions on American art. Hosted
by the information specialists at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Ask the Bird Expert
Not only for breeders and professionals, but for the single bird owner
or "newbie" as well.
Educator's Reference Desk
Here you can search or browse an archive
of previously answered questions in education theory and practice. Other
valuable component of the site include lesson plans, access to the
database, and resource guides.
Free registration required; search or browse 15,000 how-to articles from
building pinewood derby cars to laying cobblestones to hanging
A fee based knowledge service. Appropriate for immediate consultations
for quick answers or in-depth research reports.
A successful fee based model. If you have a question and are willing to
pay, try this resource.
Pitsco’s Ask an Expert –
the Kid Friendly Expert Site
Askanexpert.com connects you with hundreds of
real world experts, ranging
from astronauts to zookeepers. These experts have volunteered to answer
your questions for free!
Search for a group that seems relevant to your question
or interest, then ask your question. The Google Groups feature is free,
but to post comments/questions you need to register (free). This can be
a helpful place for obtaining information, but beware -- some of the
people who participate in these discussions can be prickly.
Resources from Libraries
Bernie Sloan. A list of
libraries offering e-mail reference.
Bernie Sloan. A list of
collaborative live reference projects.
Chat With a Librarian at the Library of Congress
Friday 2 to 4 pm Eastern Time except Federal holidays.
Co-East (East of England)
One of the major AskA
projects from the United Kingdom. An FAQ reminds users: The
Ask a Librarian is online 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year. Our digital enquiry service is no substitute for a face to face
consultation with the librarians at your local reference library,
particularly if you need advice on how to research a complex subject,
but it is sometimes more convenient.
ELITE: Electronic Library,
IT and staff Education Project
The University of Leicester's
report on its remote access reference services.
Google directory list
of Ask A Librarian Sites
Internet Public Library
of Real-Time Digital Reference Services
Got Live Reference?
Gerry McKiernan (Iowa State University) tracks the libraries that offer
A component of the VRD (Virtual Reference Desk), the
AskA+ Locator lists sites that answer questions under subject categories
and alphabetically. It is a
database of high-quality "AskA" services designed to link students,
teachers, parents and other K-12 community members with experts on the
Internet, and includes profiles of each AskA service include
identification information (e.g., publisher, e-mail address, contact
person, links to services’ home pages), scope, target audience, and a
general description of the service.
Johnston Memorial School
Links to 1,300 expert sites from a 1-8th grade school in Canada.
not so extensive as Johnston (above), but may include links to experts
not included elsewhere.
Searchable Archive of Answers to Difficult Reference Questions
An archive of difficult questions answered by librarians since 1993.
Back to The Web