The Benefits of Using an Online Encyclopedia or Reference Resource

Posted on 10. Feb, 2010 by in Language & Culture, Translation Resources

by Gerard Ellery

With the recent launch of Apple’s iPad, it is clear that the way of the future is for people to source and use online encyclopedia and reference resources from the convenience of a hand held mobile e-text reader or PC.

The development of the information sources which can now be found, hosted, or posted on the net is a combined result of people wanting to have access to information which is up to the minute correct, and a desire on the part of others to distribute and disseminate information purely for the joy of doing it, with commercial reward often being of secondary or little importance.

As such the web is a hive of industry, of information and misinformation, which any one can access, and where, within limits, anyone can have their say. There is no way that anyone can keep up with the volume of information that is available on the net, except by online access to sites of relevance, which in some cases, may be updated intra daily depending upon the type of data you are sourcing.

For teachers, students and researchers, the days are long past when you can expect to have the latest information relevant to any topic under discussion in hard copy form, in an encyclopedia or reference resource in your library, or to settle issues of dispute by reference to it. For better or worse, all researchers now make full use of the internet. On the internet you will be able to find anything and everything you need to address any issue, on any topic, from the viewpoint of all of the facts and information about the topic which is in the public domain at this time.

It has become very much the case that access to the internet has replaced the formal library book, and faxed or emailed abstracts from published sources of relevant material. Already, texts which are regarded as being important are transcribed as e books- you no longer order a hardcopy from Amazon – you just access an online library and download the text, to your pc or e text reader.

While experts in any field are more likely to be anticipating major breakthroughs and new developments than to be taken aback and surprised by them, you can never be too sure these days. The last thing that any teacher or researcher wants is to be corrected by a pupil, who just happened to look up the topic last night by browsing the internet, and to be told that what was impossible to prove last week, has now been resolved and that knowledge in that field has moved on.

The start of this new decade is effectively a watershed landmark (or perhaps “book mark”) time, establishing a dichotomy as between traditional hard copy publications and electronic digital information sources, with the traditional publications having become virtually archaic over night. Downloads of data by subscription from an e-library, of content from an encyclopedia or reference resource, will come complete with downloadable up dates so that e-texts of material in an encyclopedia or reference resource will never become obsolete.

The main benefits, other than to preclude the potential embarrassment of being uninformed, of using online texts such as an encyclopedia or other resource reference are 1) access to all current sources of information regarding any particular topic, 2) acknowledgement of sources from which facts in text material are derived, 3) reliable data on most host web sites, 4) easy downloading of text material, 5) updates available as part of a package, 6) universally and instantly readable, exchangeable and transferable files,7) language translation capacities,8) e links to other information sites,9) downloadable graphics and 10) 3-D capacities.


Wikipedia is one of the largest online research sites.

Here’s another excellent online encyclopedia and reference resource.

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