Lots of news coming from Answers.com in the past 24 hrs. First, the acquisition of Brainboost and this morning, word that Answers.com has teamed up with the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library to offer HomeworkNYC.org that “will assist” students with their homework.
While Answers.com is far the “perfect” research tool (what is really?), I’m happy to see them make the effort to work with the library community. They did the same type of thing in August when they launched a toolkit for all educators. While it’s true Answers.com takes some data from Wikipedia (I pointed out an example of outdated Wikipedia data yesterday via Answers.com and I’m not going to get into another discussion of what seems to be this week’s most popular topic. I have more in the post listed above) but Answers also licenses material from other sources and always seem to be adding new material.
Again, the biggest kudos to Answers.com goes for just making the effort and realizing the value of librarians.
The homeworkNYC.org site combines convenient links to helpful library resources with actual reference content that students can access in the main section of each page. “We are delighted to supply the topic library driving this central component, as another example of our ongoing effort to supply reliable, up-to-date content in a student-friendly, educational framework,” said Jeff Cutler, Answers Corporation’s Chief Revenue Officer.
Now, the biggest challenge is to get both students and their teachers to know about and use the service versus always typing 2.8 words into their favorite search tool. Services that aren’t used tend to go away.
“homeworkNYC.org brings together a wide range of information in one easy-to-use site,” said Susan Kent, Director and Chief Executive of The Branch Libraries, The New York Public Library. “It helps students pinpoint the answers they need, and because it has been developed by a team of librarians and educators, young researchers can trust that the information is thorough and reliable.”
Postscript: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if great directories of “quality” web resources like the LII, IPL, InfoMine, and the RDN also get involved and contributed materials? What about the same type of service let’s say in LA or San Fran organized by InfoPeople and the LII? Just a thought.