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Internet Sources   Tags: google, how to find, internet, web  

Last Updated: May 7, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About Finding Information on the Internet

The Internet includes a wide range of resources; some of them very scholarly and academic, and others that are not.  The Library can help you use the Internet effectively by guiding you to the good resources, helping you search more efficiently, and showing you how to evaluate what you find.

Search Engines

Search engines gather websites to include in their database using an electronic "spider" that crawls the web looking for new websites, updates current sites, or deletes obsolete sites.  Search engines index every word on the web pages they know about, so they may find a lot of irrelevant pages.  Results are displayed in order of relevance. 

Tips for improving your search engine results (see also Google Basics & more):

  • Put words in "quotation marks" if you want them to be searched as a phrase (next to each other).
  • Put a minus sign (-) in front of words or phrases that you want to exclude from your results.
  • Use the advanced searching features to limit to a specific domain, such as: gov, org, edu.

Find much more in our Google LibGuide.

Search Google

Meta-Search Engines

Meta-search engines search the content of several individual search engines and then show the top results from each.  Many of the meta-search engines list the most relevant first, but can be changed to list them by search engine.

Sources for Quality Internet Sites

Unlike a general search engine, these are databases of quality web sites selected by librarians and academics.

Evaluating Internet Sources

It is important to remember that anyone can put up a web page, and there is no 'quality control' or editor for what you find on the Internet.  Therefore, you must be ready to make your own evaluation of web sites, especially if you are going to be using them for research purposes.  You will want to find out as much as you can about the authority, currency, relevance, and accuracy of the web sites you use.  These checklists and other resources will help you ask the right questions.

  • Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources
    The World Wide Web has a lot to offer, but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable. Here are some points to consider. (UCLA Library)
  • Thinking Critically about Web 2.0 and Beyond
    Social networking sites, blogs, wikis, virtual worlds, mashups, and filesharing sites of all kinds, etc. offer many opportunities for collaboration, global community, personal connection, creativity and enterprise, but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable. Here are some points to consider when entering or using these and other tools and environments yet to come. (UCLA Library)
  • Evaluating Information Found on the Internet
    This guide discusses the criteria by which scholars in most fields evaluate print information, and shows how the same criteria can be used to assess information found on the Internet. (Johns Hopkins Library)
  • Evaluating Web Content
    This guide offers tips for evaluating the quality of content on the Web. Scroll to the bottom for specific sources. (University at Albany (SUNY) Library)
  • Evaluate Web Pages
    Tutorial and exercise/worksheet (Widener University Libraries)
  • Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask
    Evaluating web pages skillfully requires you to do two things at once:
    1. Train your eye and your fingers to employ a series of techniques that help you quickly find what you need to know about web pages;
    2. Train your mind to think critically, even suspiciously, by asking a series of questions that will help you decide how much a web page is to be trusted.
  • Evaluating Web Sites
    Tutorial from Ohio State University Libraries.
  • Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test (PDF)  
    How to evaluate Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

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