None of these resources will make conventional brick and mortar libraries obsolete, but now you can do at least some of your research from home. Here are some helpful databases and full-text resources. None of these resources on their own offer comprehensive literature searches. Use them in conjunction with each other and be sure to follow up with a trip to the library or logging on to your institution's library databases.
Provides access to nearly 2 million free full-text articles from some of the most respected journals in biomedicine and science (with a 12-24 month lag, meaning that all articles are 12-24 months old).
National Academy Press
"The National Academy Press (NAP) was created by the National Academies to publish the reports issued by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, all operating under a charter granted by the Congress of the United States. NAP publishes over 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health, capturing the most authoritative views on important issues in science and health policy."
NASA Astrophysics Data System
NASA funds the Astrophysics Data System, which provides free full-text articles from most of the major journals in astronomy and astrophysics.
Project Gutenberg Electronic Public Library
Project Gutenberg produces electronic versions of texts in the public domain (mainly classic books). Thousands of books are online.
Questia.com offers access to the full-text of hundreds of thousands of books, journal articles, and magazine articles, as well as over 1 million newspaper articles. The search engine leaves a lot to be desired, but if you know what you're looking for (e.g., author, title), it's helpful. Search is free, but access to the sources is not. You can search without a subscription, which can help you to determine whether to subscribe. There is also a free trial.
MERLOT is a free resource designed for faculty and students in higher education. It provides access to a growing collection of online learning materials, assignments and reviews to enhance instruction and enrich teaching and learning experiences. You'll find lots of interesting material and links to educational websites that may assist you in your research. However, be careful and critical of these resources because they are not peer-reviewed.
The Online Books Page
Over 30,000 books from the University of Pennsylvania library.
Provides free access to online books from a variety of sources.
ERIC: Education Resources Information Center
Search thousands of documents. Offers full text access only to some.
WHO Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative
Searchable database of over 3,750 journals. Some are free.