When to Use Web Resources
Web resources are helpful if:
- You need up-to-the minute news and information about current events, trends, and controversial topics. Example: Health care.
- You need government publications such as reports, statistics or legislation. Example: The latest unemployment figures.
Web resources may not be as helpful because:
- Anyone can publish anything on the web, website information is frequently inaccurate or biased, and sometimes outdated.
- Only a limited amount of scholarly information is available on the web for free.
Ask a Librarian
If chat is offline or if the librarian does not respond, please email us or call us at (310) 434-4254.
Finding Web Resources
Search engines such as Google make it very easy to find websites. Just type in the term you are looking for and you will be taken to a results page. Below are some tips to make your web search more productive:
- Add more words to your search
- Use quotes to search for an exact word or set of words. Only use this if you're looking for a very precise word or phrase, because otherwise you could be excluding helpful results by mistake.
- If you are looking for more results from a certain website, include
site:in your query. For example, you can find the Library hours on the Santa Monica College website by searching: library hours site:smc.edu
Because anyone can create content on the web, it is important to know how to evaluate a website for authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency and coverage. Below are some tips to help you evaluate websites.
- Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
- What credentials are listed for the authors?
- Are they an expert?
- Where is the document published? Check URL (.edu, .org, .gov, .mil, .com, etc).
- Can the information be verified in other sources?
- What sort of information is it - facts, opinion, conjecture?
- Is there an e-mail or a contact address/phone number for the author?
- What are the author's goals?
- Is there a slant or bias?
- What is the purpose?
- View any Web page as you would an infomercial.
- Ask yourself: why was this written and for whom?
- When was it produced?
- When was it updated and is the information out of date?
- How up-to-date are the links?
- Are the links current or updated regularly?
- Are there a lot of dead links?
- Are the links (if any) evaluated and related to the theme?
- How detailed is the information?
- Is it a balance of text and images?
- Are there links to the 'other side' of the debate?