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Free Web Resources on Religion / Finding Web Info

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Searching on the Internet

Google®.  Bing®.  Yahoo®.

These services use sophisticated algorithims in an attempt to index the millions of sites that are connected to the internet.  What they cannot do (not yet, maybe never) is help you as a researcher evaluate the data they link to.

Care must be taken in using information retrieved from internet sites. Unlike the print resources found in the library and the electronic databases and peer-reviewed journals provided by the library, freely-available Internet resources have not necessarily been published by reputable academic publishers nor have they been selected by librarians with expertise in their subject area. Nearly anything can be posted on a website.  Just because it is available online does not mean it is valid or authoritative.

This does not mean that you can't find good resources on the Internet; the key to doing so is to carefully evaluate what you find on the web. If you use web resources, be sure to ask these questions:

  • Who is the author of the Web site? Are the author's credentials listed?  Are the credentials relevant to the topic?
  • What institution or organization is behind the Web site?
  • When was the Web site created or last updated?
  • Who is the intended audience for the Web site?
  • Is the information provided objective or biased?
  • How does the quality of the information provided by the site compare to other works, including print works?

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