Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get Your Learn On: Web Research 2.0

Mark your calendars for the September 17 Library Instruction session "Get Your Learn On: Web Research 2.0".

Web research is like juggling dynamite: done right it’s spectacular, done wrong it blows up in your face. Effective Web research requires training and knowledge of select tools and resources. Learn how to do it right:

  • 10 rules for effective Web research
  • Organizing and sharing online research - tools & communities
  • Free online bibliographic tools
  • Top 5 Web research mistakes
10 Rules for Effective Web Research
  1. Define your topic Think about what you are researching, write or think of the three most important elements of your research -- sometimes it helps to frame your research topic as a question.
  2. Understand subject-oriented searching vs. keyword searching A directory is an examples of a subject-oriented search tool, whereas Google is a keyword search engine. Some search engines, like and clusty combine keyword and subject-oriented searching.
  3. Explore different search engines - know your search engine Finding What You Need with the Best Search Engine very good annotated, catogorized list of search engines by Phil Bradley, Choose the Best Search for Your Information Needs excellent guide from NoodleTools
  4. Utilize advanced searching
  5. Use directories Directories compile selected Websites, grouped by subject. Recommended directories:
  6. Unique terms deliver more precise results Use the most unique element of your research topic in your search term. For example, if you are researching the current Queen of England, do not enter "queen", "the queen" or "queen of england" as a search term, as there have been many queens. Instead be precise and search "Queen Elizabeth II".
  7. Using quote marks " " when searching an exact phrase
  8. Metasearch engines will help refine your search Metasearch engines show you search results from a selection of search engines: Google, Yahoo!, Ask, etc. Recommended metasearch engines: Mamma and Dogpile.
  9. Use the invisible Web Invisible Web: What It Is, How to Find It, and Its Inherent Ambiguity an excellent introduction from UC Berkley Library
  10. Know how to evaluate Web resources Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask another excellent tutorial from UC Berkley Library
Organizing & Sharing Online Research - Tools & Communities

Free Online Bibliographic Tools
Top 5 Web Research Mistakes
  1. "Research = Finding" Research is not just finding stuff -- it's finding and evaluating the best, most appropriate stuff
  2. "I found this online; it's true." Just because it's online doesn't mean it's true or accurate
  3. "Everything is online." Not everything is available online
  4. "This was the top result!" The top search results are not necessarily the best
  5. "I'll just Google it." Google does not index everything on the Web

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