TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

Finding/Evaluating Internet Information

Two important points to consider:

1.  Anyone can publish on the WWW.
        (World Trade Organization - formerly known as GATT:  General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade)

2.  There's a big difference between the average Web site and an article in a magazine or journal.

        Articles in magazines have gone through the publishing process.  The publisher's reputation is on the line.  Staff reporters gather and write the articles.  Scholarly periodical articles are reviewed by experts before publication, etc.



Find out who sponsors the page.   Example 1   Example 2
            Look at the header or footer of the page.       
            Look at the URL:  protocol://  for a clue to its authority.
                    What institution (company, government, university, etc.) or Internet provider supports this information?

        U. S. domains. 
           .edu - institution of higher education 
           .gov - official government - federal or state
           .mil - U.S. military 

            .org - non-profit organization 
           .net - network 
         .com - commercial - for profit/business 
      New domains have recently been added: 
    A tilde ~ usually indicates a personal page
     Foreign domains include a 2-letter country code
                  British Broadcasting Co. = 
      International agencies use .int
                    Interpol =

Who wrote the page?         Example 1         Example 2      Example 3
             Credentials?  You may have to consult other sources to find information on the author.

What is the purpose of the page/site--to inform?  to persuade?  
           Political or other bias?           Example 1
           Information or advertising?    Example 2 and Example 3   
           Is it true or parody?                 Example 4  

Check the date!
            When was the information created or last updated?  (Usually found at the bottom of the page)   

Reputation:  Where cited?
            Did you get this site from a reputable source or from a search engine?
            Who links to it?  (In Google-- search LINKS in Advanced Search)



When you "search the Web"--you are not searching the Web.

You are searching a database of Web sites -- this database created by humans, or by automated programs called spiders.

When we enter terms, we generally either want

        ANY of the terms: colleges OR universities
        ALL the terms:  drugs AND sports
        ALL the terms in this exact order (phrase):  chinese new year
        NOT this term:  dolphins NOT football

Learn the basics of search engine math or use Advanced Search!
        + indicates the term must appear
        -  indicates the terms must NOT appear
        "   "  indicates a phrase

Using Advanced Search

1.  You can also search for specific domains:  edu, gov, etc.

Note:  Some search engines are paid to include Web sites. "The FTC has asked the search engine industry to ensure that they are being 'clear and conspicuous' in disclosing their use of paid content."

2.  You can find out what other sites link to it.
For example, Google's Advanced Search.    Look down to Page-Specific Search.
You can find other sites like it, and you can find other sites that link to it.
Just put the URL in the box.


OTHER WEB search services and information guides:

    Use more than one search engine for comprehensive results.
 will compare results in two different search engines.

     Meta search engines search several search engines and directories at one time.
           Example:   Dogpile
     Many libraries have pre-selected useful resources. 
            Example:   Pickler Library's SubjectsPlus.      



Finding words in a Web page:
        1.  Click on Edit, then Find in Page.
        2.  Type the word you want to find in the dialog box
        3.  Click on the Find Next Button.

                        shortcut is CTRL/f

        1.  Print a portion of a page:  Highlight a portion of the Web page you wish to print.
          Click on File, then Print.  Click on Selection

        2.  Print a document in PDF:  Be sure to click on the print icon in Adobe, not on your browser!

Find out more about searching with Search Engine Watch (

Encouraging Discovery