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Volume 69, Issue 18, Thursday, September 18, 2003


Web sites offer help for procrastinators

Links for information all over Internet

By Amanda Parker
The Daily Cougar

It's a typical college scene, bound to happen to almost anyone who has to write a paper for class. It's two in the morning, and the major research paper that's due in a few hours only has about three words done: By Your Name.

The roommate is asleep and it's far too late to call and wake up a professor to ask for an extension. It is doubtful that there will be a tutor on call at this hour (in fact, they're probably already asleep). So what's a procrastinating student to do?

Fortunately, most students these days have a computer and the Internet is swarming with legitimate Web sites where loads of information is just waiting to be found., similar to sites such as Sparknotes, offers students chapter summaries on classic reading in great detail. It also offers study guides and other helpful items.

Sophomore art major Lan Vuong, an ardent user of the site, said the site was "quite helpful in making someone better understand books, and the monkey is quite entertaining."

Another is Homework Help -- though the name of the site is simple, the site provides links to loads of subjects. The best part is if there is something not covered on the site, the page has another page of links to more homework help sites. 

"The site is really easy to navigate," said freshman interior design major Charisa Novaez. "Everything is laid out by subject. I like that."

DMOZ, also known as the Open Directory Project, could quite possibly be one of the best sites for finding nearly any kind of information. Maintained by an army of volunteer editors, this site attempts to be a complete listing of everything on the Web.

"DMOZ gives you an entire plethora of narrow cast links, on just about any subject you can want," said Adam Barrera, freshman English and communications major.

Finally, just because search engines, such as Google or Yahoo, are often vague in their returns on searches, does not mean someone can rule them out. The larger search engines typically are able to provide links to some smaller, specialty sites that other homework help searches can miss. 

These are just a few of the numerous sites available online to assist people in their studies. Ask Jeeves is another search engine, but this one allows the user to query straight-forward questions like, "What time does the movie start?" Questia, an online encyclopedia and then some, is also useful. Questia, however, does require a subscription, but if in-depth research is needed it can be a good investment. 

So, the next time students find themselves in those 2 a.m. cram sessions, they'll be able to pull through with these sites on their sides.

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