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General Library Research Tutorial

Fundamental concepts and vocabulary used in library and information research.

A. Using Internet Sources

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a worldwide network of computers. It contains a wealth of information published by governments, organizations, educational institutions, commercial enterprises, and private individuals. It includes text, sound, video, and images. Since there are no standards for quality, users must evaluate all information carefully to make sure it is reliable. Generally speaking, you can find reliable information in Web sites published by:

  • Federal government agencies and departments -- .gov
    • Example: http://www.nih.gov/ (National Institutes of Health)
       
  • Professional societies and organizations -- .org
    • Example: http://www.apa.org/ (American Psychological Association)
      Note:  Some .org sites are not professional in nature.  Be sure to evaluate them carefully.

       
  • Colleges and universities (excluding student pages) -- .edu
    • Example: http://www.harvard.edu (Harvard University)

Although the Internet provides a vast amount of information, it does not include everything. Books, periodicals, databases, and other publications that are commercially available are not usually available for open access on the Internet. Thus, some of the most reliable information in existence must still be obtained from print sources or electronic sources available by subscription only.

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