Archived Article

IConn provides a world of information at yourfi ngertips

BY MELANIE SAVAGE Staff Writer
Hebron, Region —  posted 09/05/2008
Consumer Reports” magazine recently lifted an embargo which called for a 90-day wait for online access to current issues of their magazine . This means that IConn users have immediate access to current issues the same month they hit the shelves . If you’reasking , “ What is IConn and what does this have to do with me ? ” you’renot alone . “ This service has been available for several years, yetit amazes me how many people are still unaware of it , ” said Carol Kubala , Adult Services Librarian for the Saxton B . Little Free Library in Columbia .
IConn . org , Connecticut’s Re-Search Engine , has been around for eight years, to be precise . It debuted in 2000 , courtesy of a collaboration between the Connecticut State Library and the Department of Higher Education . A current library card from any Connecticut library gives youaccess to the system , which provides a variety of resources .
There are more than 6 , 500 magazines and journals available , including “ Consumer Reports” , which normally charges $ 25 for a year’sworth of access online . Most people are familiar with “ Consumer Reports” , which Consumers Union , publishers of the magazine , describes as “ an expert , independent , nonprofit organization , whose mission is to work for a fair , just , and safe marketplace for all consumers . ” For years, readers have been relying upon Consumer Reports for reliable reviews on everything from kitchen blenders to new cars .
Other magazines available range from general-interest publications such as “ Newsweek” and “ National Geographic” , all the way up to very specialized academic journals . Gone are the days of researching bound volumes in a university library . Now every imaginable subject can be accessed from a home computer . A number of newspapers , too , are available on IConn , including The Boston Globe , Christian Science Monitor , L . A . Times , New York Times , Hartford Courant , Wall Street Journal , and The Washington Post .
You can also do a search of Connecticut libraries through IConn and request an interlibrary loan from yourcomputer . Unfortunately , the system is a bit difficult to navigate and requires some patience and time to figure out . “ We’re in the process of modifying the database to make it more user-friendly , ” said Eric Hansen , Electronic Resources Coordinator for the State Library . “ This is in direct response to requests from the public . ” In the meantime , the site contains a “ help” tab designed to answer navigation questions , as well as a tab for site tutorials . Local librarians are also available to help .
“ It’s a tremendous resource , and it’s the future , ” said Mary Ellen Beck , director of the Douglas Library in Hebron . “ Without IConn , small libraries like this one would not be able to provide the world of information that people need to conduct research . You know when yougo to IConn , youcan rely on the sources . People see Google as the definitive source . But youdon’t necessarily know if you’relooking at a valid source of information there . You have to be careful . With IConn , youcan be sure of yoursource of information . ”
The IConn site can be accessed from yourhome computer at www . IConn . org . Enter yourConnecticut library card number in the upper right-hand corner , and log-in . From there , the “ Select IConn Resources” tab will take youto a screen listing some of the information available , and will provide a search box .
For more information regarding the IConn Web site , youcan contact Carol Kubala at the Columbia Saxton B . Little Free Library , at 228-0350 or ckubala@ columbiactlibrary . org
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