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Tech Tip Tuesdays: Using Consumer Reports

The process of buying things in person or online can be daunting. Whether they are electronics, appliances, cars, or even health products, finding reliable information on the quality of different items can seem impossible. If you’re feeling unsure of what to buy this holiday season, give Consume Reports a try! You may have already heard of or even used Consumer Reports, but what is it, exactly? “Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace” ( This organization is “dedicated to unbiased product testing, investigative journalism, consumer-oriented research, public education, and consumer advocacy” ( Source Article). In other words, CR tests products rigorously and writes detailed reviews so that you can be properly informed before you buy a product.

With your Franklin Township Public Library card, you have access to professional reviews and recommendations any time! Here’s how you can get started right now:

1. Find our website at Look for the Explore tab in the yellow navigation bar. Or, if you’re using a mobile device, click on the menu button to find Explore.

2. Click on Databases. Without any additional navigating, you will be able to see the Consumer Reports search bar on the Databases page.

3. Enter your search term/keywords. (In the example below, if you are looking for reviews on microwaves, you would enter ‘microwave’ in the search bar). Then, hit enter.

(If you would like the most recent reviews, make sure that the “Last Two Years Only” box is checked.)

4. Next, you can view your results. Limit and refine your search results on the left of the page.

5. Once you find an article of interest, you can click “HTML Full Text” or “PDF Full Text.”

6. You will be asked to enter your library card number (the long number under the bar code on the back of your FTPL card). Enter your number and hit enter, or click sign in.

7. You will be taken to the article of your choosing. You will find both short, cursory reviews and longer, in-depth articles.

This blog has covered the basics of using the CR database, but there is a lot more you can do with it. Have any questions? Leave a comment below or call the Reference Desk at 732-873-8700 ext. 111.

Thanks for reading!
-George, FTPL

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