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Order Code 97-76 C
Updated December 15, 2004
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
How to Find Information in a Library and
on the Internet
Information Management Specialist
Information Research Division
This guide to finding information in libraries and on the Internet has been prepared
for constituents who want to learn more about topics that interest them. It includes
background directories, current information, reference books, and websites for
government, politics, legislation, and other sources. It lists a number of Internet search
engines, which can be used at many public libraries. It also suggests guides on how to
search, including one for kids. This report will be updated as necessary.
Members of Congress receive hundreds of requests daily from constituents wanting
to know about a wide variety of subjects. Many inquiries relate to current laws or topics
of shared public and congressional interest and concern. Others are the types of reference
or research questions that libraries handle routinely. The Congressional Research Service
of the Library of Congress helps congressional offices respond to their constituents, but
is limited in the time and effort it can spend on these requests. Its first duty is to help
Congress meet its legislative responsibilities. To help constituents wishing to find more
information, ideas on using local libraries and the Internet are presented in this report.
How to Find Information in a Local Library
Libraries today serve as clearinghouses for practical information as much as
collections of learning, research, and bestsellers. Librarians can help one learn how a
certain holiday began, which government agency to contact to lodge a consumer
complaint with, which toaster to buy, and much more.
Most areas have a city or county public library to help with reference and research.
College and university libraries often provide some public access to their collections.
Even a small library has resources that, if used creatively, can often answer a question or
at least suggest a source where information can be found. Every library has a reference
collection of books for use in the library, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs,
magazine indexes, compilations of statistics, biographical directories, and so on. They
Congressional Research Service V The Library of Congress
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Reference the current page of this Report.
Platt, Suzy. How to Find Information in a Library and on the Internet, report, December 15, 2004; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855954/m1/1/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.