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Xreferplus Free Trial

At the Wikimania session on Online Research, John Dove, president of Xrefer, invited those present to try his company's product. Free one-month trials for libraries and individuals are available, but to those who don't want to go through the hassle of registering (which is actually no hassle at all), the info you need for the remaining days of August are:
URL: www.xreferplus.com
Login: august
Password: cottage
I asked Dove if it would be ok to share the login info on my blog and he said, "yes." So don't worry that you're doing something illegal by using the info above.

But what is Xreferplus? According to their website, it is "a complete reference collection from over 50 publishers," which include McGraw-Hill, Thomson Gale, H.W. Wilson, Elsevier, and even Encyclopædia Britannica (but it looks like it's not part of the free trial or not yet operational). Access is available to "the full text of the best reference books, along with images, customizable data, visual concept maps of results, sound, maps, and more."

If you're a student or a parent with a child who forgot to do his homework and need information now, take advantage of the free trial, and search more books than you could probably search at the library. If you're a librarian and your library is thinking of buying more than a few dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference books, Xreferplus might be a better buy. I just hope there's a discount for libraries in developing countries. This, of course, presupposes that you or your library are "wired" or connected to the Internet.

I didn't try it out extensively, but one weakness I found was that Xreferplus can only be as good as its sources. In a search for "Manuel Quezon," the Chambers Biographical Dictionary had the following sentence: "The new capital of the Philippines on the island of Luzon is named after him." Quezon City was, of course, the capital of the Philippines... but that was several decades ago.

What's good about it, though, is that its search engine ranks results without cluttering the page with unnecessary percentages or visuals (unlike other databases I've seen in the past few months). You can also view the results as a Concept Map, which provides a visual overview of a given topic that can help establish relationships on a topic you're not too familiar with.

There's supposed to be a blog, but it leads to Google. I wonder if that means anything =)

Category: Internet

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