Getting More Information from the World Wide Web

Many people begin the search for information by "surfing the Web." Strategies for using search engines have some similarities to those for the library catalog and article databases that the library provides. However, search engines are different from these databases in some important ways.

  • Very few search engines gather their content the way library catalogs and article databasees do. Most search engines find their pages or sites using automated means, which means no person has verified any of the information included (other than the creator of the page).
  • Search engines commonly include links to documents in the search results that match any of the keywords you entered, not necessarily all of the words.
  • As mentioned before, search engines may find the words you entered "buried" within other words, especially with short or common words. They may also automatically add alternative endings to your words, such as federal, federalist, federalism, etc.

By understanding search engines and recognizing where you are on the Web, you will be able to develop more successful search strategies for finding useful materials.