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Useful Research Tools

There are so many tools on the web, and they do anything from organizing your life to helping you beat the latest video game. This is a list of tools the library has put together to help with your research needs. Get help with any of these tools from the reference desk.

Citing and Saving Information

Delicious and Digg
Both these sites are social bookmarking sites. Save the resources you find on the internet to your account, then share them. Use tags to organize them and find them later. Try searching to see what other people have found and saved on a particular topic. Here is a search on research tools in Delicious and a search for libraries in Digg.

Zotero is a citation management tool that you can use with Firefox browsers. Download the add on to save, organize, and format your information resources. Zotero works with library databases, journal articles, books, and websites. To get started check out these quick slide shows. (Click in the lower right hand corner for bigger slide shows.)

Collaboration Tools

This tool allows you to share resources with selected others. You upload your file and pick who you send it to. Works well for files that are too big to go through e-mail.

Google Docs and Zoho
Both these resources offer a suite of resources such as word processing tools that you can work on with other people, edit, chat about, and then download or access from anywhere. Google Docs has the standard office suite type resources while Zoho has a few extra items that may be useful depending on your project.

Wikis are a tool that helps you collaborate on a topic. You can set them up as password protected so only a few people can edit them, or you can make them open to the world and see what happens. Want to know more about how Wikis could work for you? Try watching this short video by Common Craft. Create your own Wiki at PBwiki.

Finding Resources

Google Scholar
Google Scholar allows you to search scholarly and research documents from many places at once. This tool will customize your search so that when you find something you want you can tell if Oregon Tech has it or if you will need to order it through Summit or ILL. If you are on campus and on the Oregon Tech network this is already enabled. To set this up from a library off campus go to Scholar Preferences. Under Library Links search for Oregon Institute of Technology. Check the box and click save preferences.

LibX is a tool bar that you can download to your internet browser. The tool bar will allow you to search the Oregon Tech Library, Summit, and more from any page you are on. It will also add links to Oregon Tech resources when you search google scholar. (Click in the lower right hand corner for a bigger slide show.)

Download LibX for Firefox or Internet Explorer. You will have to choose which version you want to download when the new page opens. Also try the Wilsonville Campus editions.

Portable Tools

Firefox Portable
Once you start to get addons for firefox you may want to be able to take them with you. There is a version that you can download on to a portable disc (like a USB drive). Download this, add in the addons that you like and take it with you where ever you need to go.

U3 and USB Drives
The U3 and some other newer portable USB drives come with their own suite of software. When you plug these drives into your computer they will load a toolbar that will come up with the different options. You can use these, and you can use it as a normal portable USB memory drive.

Working with Documents and Images

Cute PDF Writer
This tool will allow you to create PDF documents without having adobe products on your computer. It is a free download, and usable with anything that you can print from.

Create, upload and share slide show presentations. These can be embedded into your class pages websites and more. Students can also easily download them. Check out the how to guides under LibX and Zotero to see examples of this tool in use. Check out the slide shows OITreference is sharing.

There are different tools and even different versions of those tools that you use to write your papers, do your assignments and more. Not all of those tools are compatible with each other. Zamzar is a free file converter that you can use to convert different types of files into other types of files. The converter takes image, documents, spreadsheets, slide show, music, and video files.