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Evaluating resources is an important part of the research process. Whether you are using books, newspapers, or articles, you should always be sure that the source you use is the best fit for your research. It is especially important to evaluate material found on the Web.
The Internet (Net) is the vast collection of interconnected networks, facilitating data communication services such as email, file transfer and the World Wide Web (Web).
Information on the internet is mostly unfiltered, requiring extra caution in selecting reliable sources. Virtually anyone can create a web site on a topic, regardless of their training, education or experience in the subject field. When conducting Web searches via a search engine (e. g.Google), it is often not possible to tell if these documents are accurate or authoritative. The Internet is a constantly changing, international environment that is ungoverned, generally uncensored and uncontrolled.
By comparison to the World Wide Web, the journal articles and other online resources available through the UMSL Libraries have been evaluated and determined to be authoritative sources by editors, scholars, and librarians. These databases (or, electronic resources) allow you to simultaneously search through hundreds of magazines, journals and newspapers from credible publishing companies. Your results show you who wrote the article, who published it,and when it was published.
Most of the Libraries’ databases are provided to current UMSL students, faculty, and staff through the Internet, but they are more reliable than the average source on the open Web.To search only these authoritative sources
If you have questions,consult with a reference librarian for the best sources of online and print information on your topic.
Summon, the Libraries' Google-like search engine, indexes many of our print and online resources, including journals and books. Enter your keywords; on the results screen, use the options on the left to refine your search. If you do not find what you need, use a specific, specialized database or consult a reference librarian.
A subset of the Google search engine, searches for academic materials such as journal articles, theses, books, abstracts, and technical reports from all disciplines.
If you use Google Scholar on campus, it will automatically connect to library resources.To sync Scholar with library resources from off-campus, change the following setting.
From Google Scholar:
Now when you search,the option for “Full-Text @ My Library” will appear on available resources. Clicking on this link will take you to the full text. You may need to log in with your SSO ID and password.(For more information about access to online library resources, please see these guides:
|Evaluation of Web documents||How to interpret the basics|
Accuracy of Web Documents
Authority of Web Documents
Objectivity of Web Documents
Currency of Web Documents
Coverage of the Web Documents
Table created by Jim Kapoun, adapted by Clinton Berry. Used with permission.
Is Wikipedia a reliable source?
For the answer to this question, see the Evaluating Websites guide from the University of Texas Arlington Library. In addition to information about how to use Wikipedia, it also has more great information and examples about how to determine which websites are reliable.