Workshop: Finding reliable information for your assignments using web resources
2. How can you improve your search?
Tip 1: use advanced search
Tip 2: use Google Scholar/Books
Tip 3: use other search engines
Tip 4: use gateways, portals, catalogues
Tip 5: always evaluate your information sources
3. A word on Wikipedia
4. Final word
Web: 160 million websites? 40 billion pages?
Indexed Web contains at least 14 billion pages
Anyone can publish: quality control?
Google: uses ‘Pagerank’ : index/database of web pages, Google compiles from sites found by it’s spider programs. They send full text of sites to the Google index. Pagerank retrieves results based on word occurrence, proximity, location on page, links to the page, traffic etc. about 100-200 ‘ingredients’. For the most part a keyword search . See here for more
Problem: finding relevant scholarly material (also: doesn’t search the ‘deep web’). Quality and Quantity
Use ‘advanced search’ on Google and other search engines
Use Google Scholar and Google Books
Try other search engines – not just Google
4. Don’t always use search engines , go straight to good portals and sites that are suitable for your topic N.B. UCC Library
5. Always evaluate your findings for quality
Tip 1. Use Advanced Search
Won’t guarantee that you find quality web sites, but may help you to control the sheer quantity of results.
Example: You have an essay to write on the role that religion plays in the lives of Irish people who have emigrated :
Things to consider: word order, choice of words, ‘stop words’, domain search, operators, phrase search
Tip 2. Use Google Books & Google Scholar
Google Scholar: searches web for scholarly books & journals only. See: http:// scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html
an academic/scholarly journal is ‘peer-reviewed’: p apers are written by researchers & reviewed by other experts - papers accepted/rejected based on their contribution to the subject area. Should be no bias. Magazines are not peer-reviewed – articles written by journalists
on campus more likely to gain access to the full text - off-campus you should ensure that you log in to your Library account first.
Tip 2. (contd.)
Further tools to enhance your web searches:
Google mobile , Blog search , Translate ,
Language Tools , Maps , etc.
See also: Microsoft Academic Search as an alternative to Google Scholar
Tip 3. Use O ther Search Engines
Don’t use same search engine for everything - try others (examples below). See also: http ://www.weitzenegger.de/en/deepweb.html
Examples: Exalead , Ask Jeeves , Yahoo , Bing , Kartoo , Scirus , Scitopia , Microsoft Academic Search etc.
Semantic search: Hakia , Kngine context in which the words are being used
Metasearch: e.g. Zuula , Metacrawler , Yippy , Search.com , Dogpile , use several search engines simultaneously
Tip 3. (contd.)
The ‘Deep Web’ not accessible using a general search engine e.g. material within databases Infomine , Complete Planet
Custom Search : Google Custom search , Rollyo create your own search engines using the sites you know and trust
Tip 4. Don’t Always Use Search Engines
Save yourself a lot of time by going straight to the websites that are likely to be the most useful for your needs. Gateways and portals can help:
Examples: PINAKES , Internet Public Library , WWW Virtual Library , Infomine , Digital Librarian , Worldcat , DMOZ, INTUTE , Europeana , BUBL , DHO Discovery (Gateway to Irish digital collections), Academicinfo.net , Voice of the Shuttle
See the Library’s Subject Portals
Tip 4. (contd.)
See also: Internet Archive , British Library , Hathi Trust Digital Library , DRAPier , Library of Congress (U.S.): digital collections , RIAN (access to Irish open access research), OAIster (access to open access research worldwide), iTunesU
Search catalogues from other Libraries:
COPAC , British Library , Library of Congress , The European Library , Worldcat , World Digital Library
See the Selected Web Links: General Multimedia
Tip 5. Evaluate your Information Sources
Scholarly: aimed at those working within a field of study, disseminate research, scholarly methods are used, valid and trustworthy. These resources tend to be factual, methodical, scientific, based on clearly referenced sources and documentation
Popular: aimed at wider public/mass audience, to entertain, inform, promote viewpoints, sell products and services. These resources tend to be subjective, journalistic, based on personal accounts/impressions and opinion.
Look for clues based on the 12-point list
‘ Learn how to…evaluate information for your assignments ’
See also ‘Internet Detective
A Word on Wikipedia
‘ Wiki’: can be edited by anyone with permissions; Wikipedia is completely open, ANYONE can edit ANYTHING (within reason). Can’t rely on this information - you should not reference in assignments.
But… can be useful for ‘getting your head around’ something i.e. background information, understanding a word/concept and for finding relevant keywords for your search
See: Researching with Wikipedia
We recommend that you use Library reference resources listed here
When looking for information for assignments you should use the Library’s resources (print and e-resource). However if you are using the (free) web you should use it smartly , taking into account the tips that we have seen. This should save you time and hassle, and hopefully enable you to produce high quality assignments (and get better marks!).