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Jesse Handel
Jesse Handel, Scientist
Category: General
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Experience:  B.S. Degree Chem. & Bact. 10 yrs tax preparation.
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I am looking for the most comprehensive and authoratative research

Customer Question

I am looking for the most comprehensive and authoratative research site online, with access to books that would otherwise require purchasing, such as in a library, and with extensive material on histories of the entire world. Does anyone know of any site on the internet that offers such a service, whatever the cost, that is not a mere collection of classics that have no copyright laws?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Jesse Handel replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for coming to Just Answer. We appreciate the opportunity to help you with your questions.

This website lists the top 25 websites for reading free online libraries, including the University of Pennsylvania's online book collection. The Encyclopedia Brittanica can be found at this website . If neither of these resources meet your needs, then let me know and I will look for more resources.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, thank you for looking into these sites.

I followed the first link and unfortunately saw on the EduChoices site that I had already been over all the options it provided, Questia being the third one on the list, right after the Gutenberg project, which does not serve as a good resource for in depth research but more for reading material that has no copyright. And, the nature of both these sites was talked about in my question. The first, to Penn State University, seemed promising at first, but after getting into its apparently free content, the only link I found to any history on ancient Japan was a Japanese database in Japanese located in Japan that the University had linked to its pages. All the work and databases in English on any pertinent history are private. Of course I will go back in the future and spend another hour or two looking into all the possible links, but from this last hour and a half, after looking through Asian and Japanese and general History, I did not find a single reference or database that could be read or accessed online. Most of the "unrestricted" areas do not load even after refreshing the different pages more than twenty times.

Let me try to clarify exactly what I am looking for. As an independent researcher I am trying to access full-text material from my home computer. I have tried numerous online locations like the Gutenburg project, Questia, Google and Google Scholar, and now with your assistance, Penn State University, which has more than 30,000 references and numerous links to other sites. However, these sites, both on Penn State's educational site and the others I mentioned, either do not provide free access or are so limited in scope as to be useless for my requirements. For example, it would seem that "30,000" references is a lot, but when we go to the actual books and see what they are, they are only usually books that have no copyright or subjects and information on which there are no laws or restrictions. This is why there are so many similar sites. Or, take Jstor or Google. These serve as excellent sites to find academic information, like history or science, however they allow the reader to purchase the material, like in a bookstore, or see snippets of the material only. This means that they serve as very big bookstores, not as research facilities. Instead of allowing the user to browse through the work, as a researcher, which is what I need, they show you the book that has the information, and then the corresponding price.

Is there any site of which you know that works as an unrestricted research database for history, like an online library which one can pay to use and which has a very big database of books that are copyrighted? (Not a search engine). I say copyrighted to say that one would otherwise have to purchase the books but because they are being used in a library (like Questia) and not reproduced in any way, they are accessible.

With how difficult so straightforward a task seems to be online, it seems that there is some issue of law about online libraries and copyrighted material. I don't understand why libraries are not online if they are public and people have to pay to use them. Anyone can check out a book from a library and then copy and upload it on to the internet. I don't understand why libraries don't put their material online and make it so that no one can copy it. It seems that the only difference is physical.

I already have the Britannica encyclopaedia, which you provided as the second link in your response, though I thank you. Why I mentioned an encyclopaedia was actually because it is a good example of the kind of matieral libraries usually have access to and for which I am looking: copyrighted, up-to-date, and academic material and information that would otherwise need be purchased but is available for use in a place like a library. That is what I am looking for: a site, like a library, that serves as an online research tool.



Thank you again,
Justin
Expert:  Jesse Handel replied 3 years ago.
Hello again. I'm sorry that those resources didn't help you. I have found the web addresses to some other possibilities, but I won't be able to provide you a full additional answer until I come home from my job this evening. I will provide these other options as soon as I can get back to my computer then. Also, do you live in an area with a public library or a university? You might look at their online resources or you might just have to physically go there to look up items.

The reason that more books aren't online from public library is just human resources limitations. Someone has to physically scan the books into digital format and most public libraries and universities don't have the money to hire people to do it and don't have the staff to do it themselves.

While you're waiting for the rest of my answer, you can go look at the Library of Congress website. I looked at it last night, but the FAQs said that the online books are very limited. They do have collections of specific historical documents on line. They are at www.loc.gov.

I will provide more answers tonight and I'm sorry for the delay.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I will indeed check that site, too. Thank you, Jesse.

Jstor has provided some help on a single topic, which is what I am on right now, but when I start getting into the other countries of the world (and there are obviously a lot) I will need something that is reliable. A university would be ideal, of course, but the fact is that I do my research from home and am not enrolled in any university. I live in France and the research I do is in English, so that is also another issue. There are libraries with English references, of course, but it takes too much time to go to a library and look for references in person, and to record the information by hand, as much of it as I need. I work on a desktop computer, not a laptop.
There must be something like Jstor that is available to an independent researcher. I already contacted them and they said that I would have to find a public library or a journal or other publication company that has access to its journals and other information. Maybe there is some way that I can use Jstor through another online company, like Questia or a site that requires me to pay a monthly fee. Like an unabridged dictionary or encyclopaedia?
Thank you very much for your assistance, Jesse.
Expert:  Jesse Handel replied 3 years ago.
Hello again,

I'm sorry that you had to wait until I finished my day job for further resources. Here are some more research websites that may be useful to you.

www.lexisnexis.com is a good research site, but you will probably have to pay a subscription to access their resources. I know that they have current and recent publications from mass media sources (newspapers and other current events sources) and they have academic resources, like university libraries. This is a good possibility for your purposes, but it will probably require a subscription.

The CIA factbook has a lot of facts mostly about current situations, kind of like an almanac.

Proquest owns eLibary. This site requires a username and password XXXXX login. You can look at it and see whether it's worthwhile.

The Information Please almanac is a collection of facts and information. It can be found at infoplease. It has a dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, and more.

I don't know whether you have looked at the Internet Public Library site, yet. It is at ipl.

iTools research has current information, but the left-hand sidebar of the site has links to other research sites. iTools is here.

The United States National Archives have mostly historical information about the U.S. government and U.S. federal records. It is here.

The online resources of the U.S. Smithsonian Institution are available here.

I also searched the internet through Yahoo for the keywords "online university libraries" and found at least 10 pages of results. It will probably be a better use of your time to perform this search yourself and then browse through the results that look the most interesting.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information or resources.
Jesse Handel, Scientist
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 269
Experience: B.S. Degree Chem. & Bact. 10 yrs tax preparation.
Jesse Handel and 51 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Okay, well, I don't know if those are going to work or not as I do not have time before going to work myself, but obviously I am not going to keep asking you for more and more information if these ones don't work. You have clearly taken a lot of your personal time to find sites that are as relative as can be to the subject, and I am sure after marking them on my computer that a few will be at least helpful. So, I accept the answer. Of course, I hope one of them does work and if not then I will try to find a company that allows its subscribers the use of Jstor. Thank you very much for your assistance, Jesse, and all the different answers you provided! Very professional. :)

I think the Penn State site will also be helpful at some or other point, and if nothing else works out, I will just have to convince Jstor to make an exception.

Thank you again,
Justin



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Jesse Handel
Jesse Handel
Tax Preparer and Chemist
47 Satisfied Customers
B.S. Degree Chem. & Bact. 10 yrs tax preparation.