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LIS 1001 Fall 2014: Search and Evaluate

For use with the classes taught by Librarians

Search Engines

Search Engines

 is an example of a search engine.    

When you enter your search in a search engine, it searches within its own database of web pages

for the keywords you enter, wherever they appear on a web page.

Other search engines include: Bing, Alta Vista and Hot Bot.

Use search engines to find web pages containing information about: specific terms or phrases

names of organizations or places or schools news, travel and shopping services

image collections thousands of visual images representing any subject

a seemingly infinite variety of topics by people all over the world

Evaluate what you find

Remember these five points as you review a web site:


1. Accuracy                        

Does the information presented seem accurate and free of grammatical 
mistakes? Are the facts cited so they can be verified? Is it possible to 
contact someone responsible for the website?

 2. Currency                        

On what date was the page created? Has the site been updated recently? Do links on the site still connect to their destination?

 3. Authority                           

Who is the author? What expertise does s/he have on this topic? Who sponsors the site? Check the domain name to see if it is a university, business, organization, or an individual.

 4. Objectivity                            

What is the stated purpose of the site? Check the "About..." link if there is one. What position or opinion is presented and does it seem biased? What kind of sites does this one link to?

 5. Coverage                                            

How well is the information covered? Does the content have unique value? Are there credible supporting links or sources cited?


Subject Directories: Commercial


     is an example of a commercial subject directory.

Subject directories are collections of websites that people have selected and organized.

Sometimes links are annotated so you'll know before clicking on them what a site contains. Many commercial subject directories, such as Yahoo, also have a search engine function.

Best for browsing and topics that are broad or general. You may have to click through categories and subcategories.

Other commercial subject directories:,

Tips for better search results

Be specific                                                                                                                                                                         

    EXAMPLE: Hurricane Andrew                    

Put most important terms first and put a +sign in front of each one                                                                              

EXAMPLE: +environment +everglades +water +pollution

Use at least three keywords in your query                                                                                                                                                      

EXAMPLE: Florida tourism economy

Use quotation marks around phrase                                                                                                                                                                                    

s EXAMPLE: "art deco"

Use Boolean connectors to indicate inclusion, exclusion, or proximity.                                                                            

EXAMPLE: dolphins NOT football        tradition OR culture          tsunami AND Thailand

Think about words you'd expect to find , and use as keywords                                                                             

EXAMPLE: students drinking alcohol accidents

Write down your search statement before typing it into a search engine                                                                                       

EXAMPLE: +"Miami Dade College" +"financial aid" +scholarships +grants