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HEAL 2800: Principles of Nutrition: Using the Web

About Finding Information on the Internet

The Internet includes a wide range of resources; some of them very scholarly and academic, and others that are not.  The Library can help you use the Internet effectively by guiding you to the good resources, helping you search more efficiently, and showing you how to evaluate what you find.

Search Engines

Search engines gather websites to include in their database using an electronic "spider" that crawls the web looking for new websites, updates current sites, or deletes obsolete sites.  Search engines index every word on the web pages they know about, so they may find a lot of irrelevant pages.  Results are displayed in order of relevance. 

Tips for improving your search engine results (see also Google Basics & more):

  • Put words in "quotation marks" if you want them to be searched as a phrase (next to each other).
  • Put a minus sign (-) in front of words or phrases that you want to exclude from your results.
  • Use the advanced searching features to limit to a specific domain, such as: gov, org, edu.

Find much more in our Google LibGuide.

Search Google

Google Web Search

Meta-Search Engines

Meta-search engines search the content of several individual search engines and then show the top results from each.  Many of the meta-search engines list the most relevant first, but can be changed to list them by search engine.

Sources for Quality Internet Sites

Unlike a general search engine, these are databases of quality web sites selected by librarians and academics.

Evaluating Internet Sources

It is important to remember that anyone can put up a web page, and there is no 'quality control' or editor for what you find on the Internet.  Therefore, you must be ready to make your own evaluation of web sites, especially if you are going to be using them for research purposes.  You will want to find out as much as you can about the authority, currency, relevance, and accuracy of the web sites you use.  These checklists and other resources will help you ask the right questions.