Module 4

Using Internet Sources

To complete this module Read the Objectives. Read the module contents below.

Contents of this page:

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a worldwide network of computers. The World Wide Web (WWW or Web) is a hypertext information system that links Internet documents and allows users to navigate through the Web, jumping quickly from one source to another. Documents on the Web can include text, sound, video, and images.

The Internet contains a wealth of information published by governments, organizations, educational institutions, commercial enterprises, and private individuals. Since there are no standards for quality, users must evaluate all information carefully to make sure it is reliable. Generally speaking, you can find reliable information in Web sites published by:

Federal government agencies and departments -- identified by .gov Example: National Institutes of Health

Professional societies and organizations -- identified by .org Example: American Psychological Association

Colleges and universities (excluding student pages) -- identified by .edu Example: Harvard University

Although the Internet provides a vast amount of information, it does not include everything. Books, periodicals, databases, and other publications that are commercially available are not usually available for open access on the Internet. Thus, some of the most reliable information in existence must still be obtained from traditional print sources or electronic sources available by subscription only.

How do I find useful information on the Internet?

Due to the vast and uncentralized nature of the Internet, the information as a whole has no meaningful organizational structure. You can, however, find useful information on the Internet by using:

  • Internet Search Systems (Connect to Search Systems)
    • Use systems, such as Google and Yahoo, to search the Internet for one or more keywords. An Internet search will generally retrieve a large number of hits which will be ranked by relevancy. You can then sift through the most relevant sites for useful and reliable information.
  • Subscription Databases (Connect to Research Data)
    • Many databases that are particularly useful for scholarly research are available on the Internet by restricted access. Castleton University Library subscribes to some of these databases. Castleton students have access to these subscription databases, which contain references to books, scholarly journal articles, and many other sources that are of high quality. Some contain full-text information.