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Determine the Quality of the Search

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There is no right or wrong way to search for information on the Internet. There are only different ways.

Rather than espouse a one size fits all approach - it is preferable to learn about and consider all of the specialized search tools and techniques. From there each query can be customized for the task at hand.

Billions of webpages are indexed by search engines. An even greater number are not indexed and are referred to as the Invisible Web . Unless one knows the url of pages in the Invisible Web it is virtually impossible to find what is out there.

With so much information available, how can one assess the quality and veracity of the documents?

How Current is the Information?

Make sure that what you are looking at is not outdated or obsolete information. Check the page for a copyright date or the tags for when the page was last updated. There may even be a time frame reference within the text itself

Who is Providing the Information?

Where does the content originate? Is it from a known and respected author or organization?

Sometimes the url itself can provide clues.

A url with a top level domain of .edu suggests that the source is from an education institution most likely located in the United States. For example, is the University of Michigan. Here you have two clues . First, the .edu tells you that it is an education entity. Second, the domain name of umich is easily identified as the University of Michigan.

In addition, viewing the webpage itself may reveal who owns or operates the website. If the individual webpage fails to show this - go to the Home page or an About Us page or a Privacy page - where the identity is shown. Or there might be an inspectable copyright or author html tag by viewing the source code.

Be careful of website urls with names CLOSE to other names. Sometimes these look-alike web names are intended to trick the viewer into believing they are on the reputable site when, in fact, they are not.

A top level domain of .gov indicates the website owner is a unit or subdivision of the United States government . Search engines often accord greater trust and quality evaluations of such sites.

Other respected sources might include academic journals, major corporations, high quality Internet organizations such as W3C or ICANN, news or media resources or encyclopedias.

Let's continue with more ideas about evaluating the Internet's sources of information .

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