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Cornell-in-Washington: Searching the Web

Library Research Guide

Searching the Web:

Searching the Web:
Organizations, government departments and agencies, interest groups and think tanks are posting a great deal of information (articles, studies, even data) to the web. The web can be very useful, but it also has limitations.

Search relevance
Search engine algorithms are based on a variety of factors that may not always be relevant for scholarly research. Personalization, ad revenue, even "most cited" (or most popular) rankings may in fact hide some of the content you need to find. In addition, search engines do not always reach the "deep web," content in databases and other structures that are invisible to search engines.

Data on the Web
Many federal organizations and international government organizations are posting statistics to their websites, but that doesn't guarantee that you can discover the statistics you need simply by searching the web. The information may be deep within an online database structure not exposed to search engines. In addition, the historical back files of reports and data you find on the web may fall short of what you need.
For more options, see Finding Data.

Articles on the Web
Many articles from academic, peer-reviewed sources are not free. The abstracts may be there, but once you attempt to view the full article, you will  be asked to pay for full-text content. Don't do it!  If you find an article online and you can't get access, ask us. We may have a subscription to the online journal. If we don't have it, we can get it for you via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). The Interlibrary Loan office will email the article to you in 1-3 days.

Even better, for comprehensive access to scholarly articles, see Finding Articles (Social Science and Newspaper Databases)

Searching the Web?
If you're using Google Scholar to search for academic, scholarly articles, install Passkey.

Google Scholar scoops up citations to peer-reviewed, scholarly sources, but Google Scholar itself isn't able to provide full text articles from fee-based publications. Libraries purchase content and make it available to the campus community or, off-campus, via NetID and password. Away from campus, you can sync up Google Scholar with the online and print content the library purchases by installing passkey.

See also: Finding Articles (Social Science and Newspaper Databases)

Web Accessibility Assistance