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 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):
Find much more in our Google LibGuide.
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.
Unlike a general search engine, these are databases of quality web sites selected by librarians and academics.
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.