When you're looking for information, do you turn to Google first? Sometimes
that's appropriate, and sometimes there are better alternatives.
If your knee hurts, you might think that you have arthritis. OK, turn
on the computer, go to www.google.com, and search for information on
arthritis. You get ten pages of hits, with at least two ads at the top
of each page. One hit is for the Internet
Arthritis Center for Pain Management . The description says it offers "a
natural arthritis approach with pain management solutions. ... All
products have been tested by me, your friendly webmaster, a fellow arthritis
sufferer . . .". Maybe it's a useful site, or maybe it's a scam, trying
to sell you a useless "drug". What about www.arthritis-glucosamine.net
and www.glucosamine-arthritis.org? What's the difference? Are these legitimate
Here's an alternative. Go to www.iCONN.org, the Connecticut Digital
Library (or go to The Brookfield Library's home page at www.brookfieldlibrary.org
and select databases on the left side of the page). You'll need a current
Connecticut library card to access iCONN from home or work. One of the
iCONN choices is the Health and Wellness Center . Type arthritis in the
search box, and you'll be referred to articles from the New England Journal
of Medicine, Harvard Special Medical Reports, and other recognized medical
sites. You'll have the ability to narrow your search, find a definition
of a condition, search for information about a drug, and even find alternative
So what's iCONN? Put bluntly, it's your state income tax dollars at
work. That chunk of money that vanishes from your paycheck every week
doesn't just pave the roads and keep the Department of Motor Vehicles
open. Some of it funds the Connecticut Digital Library.
iCONN began in 2000, when the Connecticut
General Assembly provided funding for the purchase of licensed
information databases for Connecticut 's libraries, schools, and colleges,
as well as access from home and work. Lt. Governor Jodi Rell was instrumental
in securing funding for iCONN.
What will you find among the iCONN databases? In addition to health
information, there is a wonderful assortment of homework help resources
for students from elementary school through college. These are curriculum-based,
and include full-text magazines, almanacs, maps, and news articles.
You have access to the full text of six newspapers: The Christian Science
Monitor, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street
Journal, and The Washington Post.
You'll find company and industry information in the Business & Company
Resource Center; history, literature, biography, science, and social
studies in the Discovering Collection; family history and genealogy resources
in HeritageQuest; biographies of over 120,000 people in Wilson Biographies
Plus; and periodicals covering all academic concentrations in Expanded
Academic ASAP. You'll also have access to ¡Informe! for Spanish-language
periodicals, and a Professional Collection of full-text periodicals for
teachers, school administrators, school media specialists, and librarians.
And if that's not enough, InfoTrac OneFile and General Reference Center
Gold allow you to search a huge variety of general-interest publications.
So if you're looking for the web site for The Brookfield Journal, or
a list of greyhound rescue organizations, go to Google. If you need authoritative,
screened information, use iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library.
Anita R. Barney