Besides the most obvious site - Google is my home page, is it yours? - check out Google Scholar when you get a chance. When you visit its homepage, be sure to look over the tutorial by clicking the 'about google scholar' link just below the title. Then set your customizations before you do your search. Click on the little blue 'advanced scholar search' link right next to the search button. You'll get a screen that lets you choose what kind of search words, author, if you need a specific publication, collections and legal docs. This site is great for medical or legal research.
Then there's diigo.com,
an online research storage site for everything you collect. While this is an excellent tool for teachers (who can share research links with an entire class for a project!) it also offers highlighting, bookmarks and sticky notes for those documents you pulled up in Google Scholar. Plus - and this is the awesome part - you have access to what everyone else has found who is searching for the same topic you are. Once you set up your account, you can organize it all by document type (image, doc, notes, etc.) in Your Library. You can also tag everything you save with key words, so it's easier for you to find later. I used this a LOT in graduate school because it's great for provenance - or proving your research is valid/authentic.
Next is the Library of Congress's research site. Practically the whole institution is online *gasp* which is a really big deal because the place is ginormous. (Can you imagine the time it took to type all those books into a database? They must have whole colonies of library elves!) They've got everything from other libraries' catalogues - 300 of them and counting! - to a bibliography of Korean history to a whole archive on how to find stuff within the archives. *minor hyperventilation followed by chocolate intake* I could spend days in here. Days. Take a browse and don't be surprised if you lose a few hours improving your brain. :)
The last tool is one used a lot in classrooms (or it should be) and I'm adding it for its simplicity and educational content. WebQuest
will walk you through the steps of online research, explaining how to find, how to share and how to organize. One really cool tool is the QuestGarden, which allows you to move your documents around from one server to the other - ie from an Apple computer to a PC. This site is targeted at educators but the tools/info here are extremely helpful for newbies...or a great site to check if your topic has hit a brick wall with any of the other sites.
What are your favorite research tools/sites? Please share in the comments. And plan to stop back soon. Interview with two blogging queens/debut authors are in the works. You won't want to miss!