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What’s Next? When You Need Information, but Don’t Have Access to an Academic Library

June 5, 2019

Congratulations Class of 2019! While you have completed your education at Drexel, your quest for life-long learning is nowhere near over. Here, we offer tips and sources for finding and assessing high-quality information resources to use in research and learning, whether or not you are associated with Drexel University.

Open Research & Educational Materials

Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Access books and journals may sound like they’re meant solely for the classroom, but by definition, they are learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-directed learner, explained Larry Milliken, Manager for Learning Partnerships at the Drexel Libraries.

People rely on access to scholarly research and published information to support them in their professional careers as well as their personal lives. Open Access materials are great sources of new knowledge and to refresh what you’ve already learned.

  • Directory of Open Access Journals: Access journal articles across all fields through this online directory that provides access to high-quality, Open Access, peer-reviewed journals.

  • Open Textbook Library: Search for open textbooks written by faculty and researchers from across all fields in this online library of 600+ textbooks, with more being added all the time.

  • OER Commons: OER Commons is a public library of OERs and other non-textbook content, such as slides and course modules

Public Access & Government Resources

Public access is an effort to make publications resulting from federally funded research available to the public. In most cases, this means that copies of published articles are deposited into a designated repository and are made publicly available within 12 months of the date of publication. Similarly, government agencies, like the US Census Bureau for example, make the data and statistics they collect freely available to the public.

  • PubMed: The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides the MEDLINE and Pre-MEDLINE resources. PubMed comprises citations for biomedical literature from life science journals and eBooks, as well as public access articles from PubMed Central (PMC).

  • US Census Bureau: Search demographic and economic statistics and data about the United States through its database.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Published statistics measure, for example, the labor markets, working conditions, and price changes. The Bureau publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

  • The online home of the US Government’s openly available data helps you find data sources from across the federal government


And of course, no list of online resources would be complete without Google. A familiar search engine, Google mines the Web for information and offers several powerful tools. While Google Tools are useful, remember to always evaluate your search results to determine if you've found high-quality and credible results.

  • Google Scholar: Access scholarly articles, patents, and book chapters on many topics through links in the Google Scholar search results pages. You can read the full-text of some of these items.

  • Google Books: Search and preview millions of books and journals digitized from publishers and library collections such as UC Berkeley and Harvard. Titles out of copyright are available in full.

For more information about finding and utilizing online information resources after you’ve left Drexel, visit our library guides for alumni.