Saturday, March 25, 2006

Xrefer--Online Reference Answers

Reference librarians are some of my favorite people, but law students also need quick and authoritative answers when a librarian’s help isn’t available. Thanks to Xrefer, an online reference database provided to Hofstra students through the Axinn Library, there's a fast and reliable guide to understanding new terms and concepts, and retrieving factual information across many subject fields. Xrefer draws its content only from some of the world's best and most respected source providers, such as Barron's, Harvard and Cambridge University Presses, Elsevier Science and Technology, and the Bridgeman Art Library. A cool feature called the Concept Map allows users to type in a key word--try the business term "poison pill" as an example--to produce a dynamic visual display of topics related to the search term. Within each cluster of terms and concepts displayed, the items represented by fuchsia dots are the most relevant. You can interact with the map immediately as results appear by moving the mouse over the top of the graphic and clicking on any of the active results, highlighted in yellow. Each click brings you directly to a source within Xrefer providing a definition, article, image or factual information about the term. A direct link to Xrefer is provided on the "Libraries" page of the Hofstra web site, under "Research Databases." Off-campus access requires a network user name and password.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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