5: How to Search the Web - Find and Evaluate Web Sites

Determine if your instructor wants you to include Internet resources. Learn how to use search engines and subject directories to locate authoritative materials on the web. Books, periodicals and webliographies can also help to find appropriate sources on the Internet. Develop your search skills and practice often!

Evaluating The Web - Criteria for Evaluating a Webpage

Learn how to evaluate web sites by determining their authority, relevancy and currency:

NOTE: Unlike scholarly print periodicals and books, where the information is subjected to a process of review, anyone can publish on the web. Many web sites are also designed for commercial purposes and, consequently, are designed to influence!

General Information about Searching the Internet

Search the Web

Here is a selection of recommended search engines:

  • Ixquick
    Metasearch engine that provides anonymous and untracked searching as well as combines results from multiple search engines simultaneously. Also known as Startpage.
  • DuckDuckGo
    Search results that emphasize human generated fact nuggets and aggregated quality web sites related to the search topic; provides anonymous and untracked searching with no auto-completion or advertising.
  • Google
    Provides full text of web pages and other files on the web, images, sound files, maps, map making, and machine translation; results prioritized by sites most used and shared.
  • Google Scholar
    Search peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities, and other scholarly organizations.
  • Dogpile
    Metasearch engine that gathers results from several other popular search engines, including those from audio and video content providers.
  • Bing
    Provides web pages, especially those related to news and scientific content; lookup; videos, images, and maps; events in the user’s preset geographic area; and social searching that can access the photos and pages of the searcher’s social media connections.
  • Internet Archive
    Use the Wayback Machine to search the history of over 284 billion web pages. This is a non-profit library that provides access to millions of free books, movies, software, music, and archived websites.

Search the Web for Images

The following websites are great for finding images:

  • Featured Digital Libraries
    This is a Pinterest page created by American Libraries. It provides a complete collection of the Digital Libraries of the Week featured in AL Direct since 2007.
  • flickr
    Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.
  • Google Images
    Search engine of images on the web. Thumbnails of images are displayed based on the search keywords used.
  • Library of Congress: American Memory Collection: Photos and Prints
  • Creative Commons
    Through the use of CC licenses, millions of people around the world have made their photos, videos, etc. available for any member of the public to use.
  • UC Berkeley Library Image Databases

Books In The Oakton Library

The following books have information about finding and evaluating web sites:

  • The College Student's Research Companion: Finding, Evaluating, and Citing the Resources You Need to Succeed
    Call Number: (DP) Z710 .Q37 2011; (RHC) RHC. Z710 .Q37 2011 
  • The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher
    Call Number: (DP) ZA4230 .H63 2010
  • An Introduction to Search Engines and Web Navigation
    Call Number: (DP) ZA4230 .L48 2010
  • Searching & Researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web
    Call Number: (DP) ZA4201 .A25 2010


You probably know a lot about the web already; there's definitely no lack of information about this subject! Look around you and notice the webliographies in your favorite magazines and web addresses mentioned on your favorite television and radio programs. Be sure to attend a Library's Got Research workshops this semester.

  • Look at the "help screen" links that can usually be found on the top or side of the screen. Information in these "help screens" can save you time and offer ideas on how to search more effectively and efficiently.
  • Some periodicals may have their own web sites but that information may not be complete or may require a fee to access and obtain.