Skip to Main Content

Science: Computers

An overview of resources to get you started in studying or researching science topics.

Reference Sources

Computers / Computer science

"I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created.  They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user."

— Bill Gates

No device since the invention of the wheel has had more impact on the lives of the human race than computers.  We rely upon computers and similar technical gadgets to help us satisfy crucial needs, including managing our finances, health needs, transportation needs, and even social needs.  Computer knowledge and skills are arguably the most important skills people need to get by in today's world.

Search tips

1) Start with an overview for your topic.  For example, you can start with an encyclopedia such as Credo Reference or Gale Virtual Reference Library (see list of BPL resources below) to get a basic idea of what your topic is all about.

2) Once you have a general idea of what your topic is about, you can narrow your topic down by subcategory, such as "Programming" or "Web Design" under "Computer Science."

3) Search for more information on your topic, using journal article databases, government websites, organization websites, etc.  A good place to start is the Science in Context database which includes reference resources, experiments, statistics, magazine and academic journal articles, news articles, maps, multimedia,and external websites.

Different types of information that you can look for include:

  • Overview -- General description or outline of a topic
  • Statistics -- Collection of quantitative data
  • Evidence -- A visible sign of a phenomenon ; something which demonstrates that a phenomenon or theory exists or is true
  • Guides -- "How-to" instructions or an outline of how to do something
  • News Articles -- Article from a newspaper or other news source; good source of current and local information and can be considered a primary source
  • Blogs -- Website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences
  • Journal Articles -- Article from a magazine or academic journal
  • Multimedia -- Videos, photographs, or audio resources
  • Reports -- Official documents from the government or other institution that give information about a particular subject
  • Interviews -- Reporting of meetings at which information is obtained from a person

For more information on conducting research on a topic, see from Case Western Reserve University.


Online Computer Resources

These links provide access to government and other reports, statistics,  and current developments for high school and college students as well as anyone interested in computer science and computers for personal use.

Compukiss offers tips, reviews, and up-to-date news as well as how-to videos especially for baby boomers and seniors.

Step-by-step instructions showing how to set up a website.

Home & Learn Free Computer Tutorials
Free courses and tutorials on basic computing.

Computer Hope  
Free computer help and information.  Includes tips, tricks, and basic computer information for those who are new to computers.

Computing discoveries from the National Science Foundation
Latest discoveries and developments in computer science from the National Science Foundation.

Free computer books
Free computer training, programming, web design, and mathematics books online.  Also includes web design tutorials.

Free programming language books
Links to books by program.

Goodwill Community Foundation
Free computer tutorials.

National Science Foundation
Provides access to research, discoveries, and news in astronomy and space.
Includes research and development, technical reports, journal citations, databases, federal websites, and fact sheets.


Resources at the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library provides access to indexes and full-text articles through the Electronic Resources page (  Many of these resources are available off-site to residents of Massachusetts.  Suggested databases are listed below: