Library Journal has just published its "Best Free Reference Websites and Apps" list for 2017.
Check these out:
•American Archive of Public Broadcasting — americanarchive.org. This collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH in Boston aims "to preserve for posterity the most significant public television and radio programs of the past 60 years." Both audio and video from around the country are archived and searchable with more than 17,000 clips.
•C-SPAN Video Library — https://www.c-span.org/about/videoLibrary/. More than 228,000 hours of video (just about everything that has ever aired on C-SPAN), updated on a daily basis. Historical content includes debates, speeches and rallies. Users can create custom video clips to save and share.
•Global Stat — globalstat.eu. From the European University Institute, this database compiles publicly available data from over 100 sources, offering statistical information on globalization, sustainability and human development. Users can search on a range of topics including income distribution, energy consumption, water resources, dwellings, migration, land use, food production, nutrition, school enrollment and life expectancy, and create data visualizations.
•GovTrack — govtrack.us. Allows users to search for and track legislation being debated in the U.S. Congress. Users can set up alerts for particular bills and pieces of legislation as well as follow individual Congress members' work on bills and resolutions, voting records and committee work.
•Wayback Machine Archive Feature — archive.org/web. If you've never played with the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, it is fun! There's a feature worth highlighting: Save Page Now, which lets users archive most web pages and PDFs instantly on demand. A simple copy and paste guarantees that the web page you saw today will be available even if it's changed or deleted later.
•IFTTT (If This Then That) ifttt.com. A nifty and highly customizable tool that can be employed without having any computer coding skills to mesh two online or digital services. For example, users can set up an RSS feed to deliver inbox alerts, automatically backup all tweets to a Google doc, or program your phone's GPS to open your garage door. The possibilities are nearly endless.
•PhotoMath — photomath.net. An app for iOS and Android, it instantly solves any arithmetic or algebra problem at which the phone's camera is pointed, showing the steps to achieve that result.
•Camel Camel Camel — camelcamelcamel.com. A price tracker tool that provides price drop alerts and price history charts for any product sold via Amazon. Users can set up a simple alert to receive notifications anytime an item price falls. There is also visual and textual price history information for every item in the Amazon database. Great for business research, but I can see other wonderful shopping possibilities!
Go to http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2017/03/best-of/best-free-reference-websites-apps/ to read the entire list.
Sandra Dreaden is the Crestview Public Library reference librarian.