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Genealogy: Searching the Internet

Google

Google can be helpful for your research. Here are some ways to make sure you're getting the best you can out of it:

·     Use Search operators: A list of search tips from Google is available from Google.

·     Use Google Scholar: go up to the top of the Google page, and click on the link "more." Choose Scholar from the list. Google Scholar will bring you back scholarly journal articles; we have access to the ones with links on the right!

·     Use Google Books: in the same place you clicked for Scholar, try Books. Some books are available online, full-text, in PDF!

Use your skepticism: don't forget that Google is primarily a company that exists to make money. Try going to the second and third results pages.

Evaluating a Website

When considering using an external website (not an SC4 database article or e-book) as a source for an assignment or for research, be sure to evaluate that site with a critical eye.

Important aspects of the web page include:

Author:  Who is responsible for the information found on this website? The author of the page could be an individual or group of individuals, an organization, a branch of government, or a private company. Is this author credible?

 

Bias / Intent: What is the author’s intent? Why did they publish this page? Is it to share information or is it to sell a product or service? Is the information objective, or is there a slant to their point of view?

 

Currency: How recently was this webpage updated? Use your best judgment and consider how current you need the information to be for your research topic. Is the homepage of the website updated regularly? Or does the page appear abandoned?

 

Substance: Read through the content on the web page and determine how much useful information is found on the page. Is the information original to the author, or is it a repost from another source? (If this is the case, try to find the original source of information). Is the information well written and does it make sense grammatically?

 

Links: Are there external links on the webpage, and if so, where do they lead you? If the links are broken, or lead you to suspicious sites, odds are this webpage is not a reliable one. Links (both internal and external) should be helpful and provide additional information.

 

Internet Search Engines

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Google Books

Try Google Books from here!

Google Scholar

Try Google Scholar from here!