About The Internet

About the Internet
Click on each computer before moving on

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Use the Web...
  • to find current information.
  • to link to information provided by the library online.
  • to find information from all levels of government - federal to local.
  • to find both expert and popular opinions.
The Open Web

The information you can find on the Web by using search engines and by typing a URL directly into your browser's address bar is information that is open to anyone who has access to the Web. open sign

  • Contains very current information like stock prices and news stories
  • Includes information from professional organizations and blogs 
  • There are billions of web pages available
  • Useful for services such as job hunting, travel services, and shopping
  • Information may be inaccurate or biased because no one is reviewing the content
  • There is so much information available that it is hard to find what you are looking for
  • The information isn't organized 

The Library Online

library computers The Library's website is an ideal place to find information for your research because it was built with that purpose in mind! While anyone can browse through the website, only WSU students, faculty & staff have access to many paid scholarly resources.

  • The library pays for access to electronic databases, fulltext journals, and ebooks 
  • Information has been carefully chosen and reviewed by librarians 
  • The information is organized
  • May not include the most current information on some topics
  • The amount of information may be limited for some topics
Search Engines

Search engines are tools that help you find what you want on the Web. They use algorithms (often called spiders or crawlers) that are programs used to compile a database of pages found on the publicly accessible Web.

When you enter a search, the search engine scans its own database to match your terms against terms in the pages of its database. So, each search engine searches the part of the Web it has collected - not the whole Web, but a large portion of it - and each has a somewhat different database which is why results can vary between each one.  searching the world

Google has the largest database of any search engine, but some others you might try are Ask.com and Yahoo!.

Tips for Better Search Results

Use these tips when using a search engine to optimize your results.

Be specific
Use nouns and unique words
Use multiple terms when possible
If your topic is "human morality in Star Wars" you could search for:  morals, moral philsophy, ethics, movies, star wars, etc.
Use quotes around phrases
so the search engine will search for the words as a phrase not as separate words
To look for a complete term, rather than individual words in a term, use quotes around it:
"Star Wars Epsiode I"
String words together
so the search engine will search for the words only if they appear together
Use hyphens between words to find them only when they are next to each other in a page. So Star Wars becomes Star-Wars
Use a plus sign to require words
Search engines may remove common words from your search, such as: an, and, the, I, where, how
Add a plus sign (+) in front of a common word to include it. So Episode I becomes Episode +I

Check the advanced features of your search engine to discover other tips for searching.

Judging What You Find

Because there is no review process or regulation for the public Web, you will need to judge for yourself the quality of the material you find. Keep in mind these questions:

Accuracy Does the information presented seem accurate? Are the facts verifiable?
Authority Who is the author? What expertise does he or she have on this topic? Who sponsors the site?
Objectivity What is the stated purpose of the site? What position or opinion is presented and does it seem biased? What kind of sites does this one link to?
Currency On what date was the page created? Do you need more current information? Do links on the site still connect to their destination?
Use Would you quote information from this site in a college research paper?

For more help evaluating webpages check this guide  
(Credit to WSU)

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