Research Blog

Tips on how to find reliable, timely information on the web and through our premium online databases             RSS


Posted by bpardue on 11/29/11

Tablet computers are all the rage this fall.  The ever-popular iPad2 is making lots of headlines, along with some up-and-comers, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Kindle Fire.  It's easy to get mired in the mix of features and price points.  Fortunately, there are some good sources to help you decide which device is right for you.  Consumer Reports' December Issue  has a cover story  on tablets and there are quite a few other recent articles from other magazines reviewing them (articles require AHML card for access outside the library).  You might also want to check out the "review of reviews" that you get from
Of course, reading an article isn't the same as actually holding a tablet in  your hands.  At the library's Welcome Desk, cardholders can borrow an iPad for two hours of in-library use.  Staff there can also give you a quick "test drive" of the Kindle Fire, iPad and Motorola Xoom and are glad to give you some general pointers about using them for browsing and downloading ebooks from our Overdrive collection.
Posted by slawson on 11/01/11

The recent Chicago Tribune article about Illinois schools is based on data from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The ISBE and Northern Illinois University created Illinois Interactive Report Card (IIRC).
You can find school profiles, honor roll lists and PSAE results and more at IIRC.  Being able to compare schools and districts is one of the best features of IIRC. That being said I think the Chicago Tribune’s link is easy to use and well designed. You can get test scores, demographics and graduation rates at this link. Check out both when looking for school information.
Posted by rkamm on 10/21/11

Illinois has reinstated the records for physicians into the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation’s online database. So, once again, we can look up physicians and find out when they got their license, when it is due to expire, and if there has been any disciplinary action taken against them. Combined with the AMA’s Doctor Finder or the Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists (call the Answer Center - we can access this for you), this is a good way to find out a little more about the people we entrust with our health.
Posted by slawson on 10/09/11

I just finished helping someone who is preparing for an upcoming PSAT test. All of our books were checked out so we used our online databases to find some help. Did you know that we have three online databases that you can use to study for this test and many others? You can even access these sources from home or from the library. The three resources are College Center, Learning Express and Testing & Education Resource Center. All of these are under the "Education" category on our database page.
Posted by rkamm on 10/04/11

Looking for the latest statistics on Housing Sales? How about the number of patents issued over the last decade? Broken down by state? By corporations or individual filers? These and hundreds of other data have been available in from the US Census Bureau's annual Statistical Abstract. Time was you would have to come to the library to look through the bound copy (or buy one, but at $50 you might not have wanted to do that). Now it is available, for free, on the web. So feel free to use it to find that statistic you need for work and spend more of your time with 26,540,000 of your closest friends doing Sodoku puzzles (Table 1240. Adult Participation in Selected Leisure Activities by Frequency: 2010).
Posted by rkong on 09/30/11

Check out our screencast on how to access Daily Herald articles via our Newsbank. You can do this from any computer inside the library or from home as long as you have an Arlington Heights library card.
Posted by slawson on 09/23/11

Every fall U.S. News & World Report publishes their rankings of the best undergraduate schools. Besides the rankings you’ll find tips on planning a college visit, getting financial aid and distance learning. Even though the cost of a college education continues to rise you can still get a quality education without spending a fortune. Look at their list of schools that provide the best value. By the way, Harvard and Princeton tied for the top slot. Check out the full issue here at the library.
Posted by bmccallum on 09/19/11

CNN explores the size (i.e., the number of Web pages) in this piece. The media company cites a trillion pages, a figure it extracted from this book: What Technology Wants. There's also mention of the World Wide Web Foundation, an organization that will study the size and impact of the Web.
Posted by jrycombel on 09/12/11

The other day, one of my friends left a message on my phone asking if I could get a copy of an article from the Wall Street Journal titled “Learning How to Focus on Focus."  My friend had torn out the article from her paper and tried to feed it through her fax machine so she could send it quickly to her daughter in Oregon. Unfortunately, the machine ripped the article into shreds.  I subscribe to the Journal, but instead of rummaging through the recycling bin in my garage, I went to the Wall Street Journal database available via the Library’s home page. Within a few minutes, I found the article my friend wanted and emailed it to her.
By the way, the article was quite interesting. It discussed how important it is, especially today with such an overload of information, to teach children at a young age how to focus and concentrate.   Studies show that it’s possible to improve focus by such activities as computer exercises involving short-term memory, tae-kwon-do, yoga, difficult board games, and the arts.
If you’re interested in reading the article, just call it up by going to the Research section on the Library’s home page –and then Databases and then Wall Street Journal. And if you’re ever looking for an article from the Wall Street Journal, use the online version – it’s much easier than rummaging through the paper issues.
Posted by bpardue on 09/08/11

Do you own an ebook reader or love to read ebooks from our Overdrive media collection?  Then you owe a degree of thanks to Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg and widely credited with being the person who uploaded the very first ebook.  Hart passed away Tuesday at his home in Urbana, IL.  Hart's connection to Illinois goes back a long way.  It was on July 4, 1971 that he typed the full Declaration of Independence into a Univ. of Illinois mainframe computer, effectively the world's first ebook.  He continued to add books and encourage others to help him, leading to Project Gutenberg.   Since then, it has grown to a collection of over 36,000 ebooks, all free to view!  You can search it directly, or discover titles from it (and other free ebook projects) through the "Search the Databases" box on our Databases page.