Getting Started

The resources available through the Cornell Library will help you to find reputable information for your projects.

The Cornell Library website's search function is a great way to find publications and read articles for free.

If you are using Google or Google Scholar to find articles and hit paywalls, download the Passkey. This browser add-on will enable you to gain access to many journals through Cornell's subscription without going back to our website.

Evaluating Sources

When you are selecting articles to cite for your article, take a minute to evaluate whether this is the best resource. This is true of any source but doubly true with evaluating source found through Google or other search engines. Library resources come pre-vetted because the library is selective about what we purchase for Cornell's collection. However not every article from library databases would be appropriate for your project. Here are some criteria to consider when evaluating your sources.


  • When it comes to health, you often need current, up-to-date information. Check the website for a copyright date, or 'last updated' date, often at the very bottom of the page.
  • Try the links on the page. If many of them are 'broken', it's likely that the page has not been updated or maintained.


  • Check that the information is relevant to your question. Choose your search terms carefully to retrieve the most relevant results.
  • Who is the intended audience of the website? Is the information meant for health consumers (lay people) or health professionals?


  • A good website will provide clear information as to the author/owner of the site and the source of the information. You should be able to find an 'About' link somewhere on the page.
  • Legitimate sites often provide contact information.
  • The web address can be a clue to authorship: .edu indicates an educational institution and .gov indicates a government website. 


  • The accuracy of the information can be difficult to determine, but some clues may be a warning sign. Trust your judgement and beware of sites that make health claims that you know to be false or that are debunked by another reliable, trustworthy source.
  • Beware of biased or opinionated language.
  • Steer clear of websites that are poorly written, full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, or lots of exclamation points.


  • The purpose of a reliable health information website should be to teach or inform. The information should be objective and impartial.
  • Beware of sites whose primary purpose seems to be selling products, entertaining, or sites that are strongly biased or opinionated.