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Google Crazy!



I know a lot of you default to Google when the library's resources aren't cutting it. That's cool, Google can unearth helpful stuff. But when can you trust a website drudged up by Google, and when should you be suspicious of it?

We have quite a few handouts on this topic, all taken from the Research Guides page:

1. Evaluating Information Found on the Web

Beware of web pages that a group, association, or agency does not govern. For example, a personal homepage should be trusted less than a section of the American Cancer Society's website.

Clink on the link above for questions you should ask about a webpage, such as: Who created this page? A group or an individual? What are their qualifications? Are they trying to sell you something? Does the url end with: .edu or .gov or .org or .com?

2. Google Scholar

Click on the link above to find out what Google Scholar is, what the limitations are, how to search it, etc.

Google Scholar is a nice academic alternative to regular Google. If you're on campus, in most cases you can easily link to the full text in one of the databases to which the library subscribes.

3. Getting Primary Sources from the Web

You can search the web specifically for primary sources, such as memoirs and documents from a particular historical period that have been digitized.

Click on the link above to see some guidelines and links to online archives of primary sources.

4. Using Web 2.0 Resources, such as blogs and wikis.

Click on the link above for tips on how to search for blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos; how to set up a RSS reader; and how to evaluate the content of a blog, wiki, etc.

This is especially helpful when you or a patron uses Wikipedia for information -- can you trust it? What is the scope? Who created it? What is the content?



How do you decide if you can trust a webpage? What are some hilariously untrustworthy websites you've come across when attempting to do research?

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 15th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
I always go to Wikipedia but don't think someone should use any information unless they find the reference it has at the end of the page and that they can be sure that it's a legitimate source.

I always tell people to use Google scholar or Google government because it's relatively easy to trust their content compared to normal Google.

-Mike
(Anonymous)
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC)
Like you said you have to go through the page and make sure it’s trustworthy. You could check to see if there is an author or if the homepage of the website looks suspicious.

A hilarious website I came across was when doing research on the topic of hosting the Olympics in Tibet, it asked for a donation which would go towards the Olympics to be hosted in Beijing China. I thought it was funny because it was so obvious this website was not legit.

-Mekdi
(Anonymous)
Apr. 15th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Google Scholar is a totally different animal from Google Google.

Wikipedia can be pretty hilarious when the users start fighting with each other. Also, there's always everyone's favorite "fair and balanced" source for news, www.foxnews.com. Of course, all "news" sources should be taken with a grain of salt or five.

Thanks for the primary source info from UW. Setting up an RSS feeder is helpful for a long-term research project and podcast searches are often very useful.

Melodee
(Anonymous)
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tips Kelci!

I don't trust Wikipedia because I know that anyone can edit it and it sometimes takes days or weeks for the Wikipedia people to catch an edit someone made that was an error. People used to edit the Wiki site for my hometown and put the most ridiculous, false information on it.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 16th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tips Kelci!

I don't trust Wikipedia because I know that anyone can edit it and it sometimes takes days or weeks for the Wikipedia people to catch an edit someone made that was an error. People used to edit the Wiki site for my hometown and put the most ridiculous, false information on it.

----Eva B.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 17th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
i still love google
-andrew
(Anonymous)
Apr. 17th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
As you said, you can't trust everything you find on the web which is exactly why it is necessary to be critical of sources and verify that the authors are credible. It is also reassuring to find another credible site that supports the information you have found. Thus I believe Google can be a great research assistant as long as you verify that the sites are providing accurate information.
-Katie Patterson
(Anonymous)
Apr. 19th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
thanks for the tips, will be helpful in the future.
-Valeria
(Anonymous)
Apr. 28th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Like you mentioned, when I m doing research, I always look for websites that end with : .edu or .gov or .org, which is the easiest way to determine the creditability of the web pages. Otherwise, I would have to go through details such as who is the author, the sponsor, is the information reliable, does the information show bias, and if the page is dated? Or when is it last updated, etc…
Here I found a good site that shows you how to evaluate the web resources http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html

Katie.C
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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