Cornell University

Catherwood Library

Catherwood Library, Ives Hall, 607-255-5435

Question of the Month

From the Catherwood Library reference librarians

October-November 2007

PLEASE NOTE: The Reference Question of the Month is kept current only during the month for which it was written. Archived questions will not be updated, and over time may contain inaccurate information or broken web links. We provide archived questions as a service, since much of the information will remain accurate and of continued interest to the ILR community.

Question: What library resources can I access for free if I’m not an active member of the Cornell community?


While some of the resources on the Catherwood Library website are restricted to use at Cornell, or even within Ives Hall, there are a variety of resources that can be accessed by anyone, from anywhere. Some of these are provided by the Library, and some aren’t, but all can be effective research tools for anyone with an internet connection.

Best of the Web This is a series of guides focused on different subject areas, each compiling dozens of links to freely available online resources. Available guides include Human Resources and the Internet, Labor Unions and the Internet, and Most Requested Government Statistics. For more general or introductory inquiries, take a look at Sources for Non-Academic Researchers.

Subject GuidesWhile some of the resources available in these guides are restricted-use only, not all of them are. Explore the guide dedicated to the subject matter you’re researching – Alternative Dispute Resolution, for example – and look for resources that aren’t marked “Cornell University community only,” “ILR School community only,” or, “Catherwood Library only”; anything unmarked is freely available. Some guides have more free material than others; click on the “View entire guide” link to scan quickly for the free material.

Public Library Databases – Public libraries are mandated to grant anyone with a library card access to their resources, and more and more of them are facilitating remote access. The New York Public Library, for example, lets any New York State resident apply for a library card, which then grants access to NYPL’s extensive collection of databases. The American Bar Association has begun compiling a list of public libraries who offer similar services; while the list is still incomplete, it can be an excellent starting place. If you don’t see your local public library on the list, give them a call to ask if they offer remote access. (Some state libraries offer this service, as well, so you can also contact them.)

And don’t forget the Catherwood Library Research Page. It provides links to a number of free resources, such as Human Resource Executive Online, Workplace Issues Today, DigitalCommons@ILR, and (of course) the Question of the Month.

— Researched by James DelRosso