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The Internet offers the researcher much more than simply an electronic version of printed resources. It contains a wealth of unique information that can be accommodated in new and innovative formats.
- How do I find the resources I need
There is a growing body of web based material that, for a variety of technical and logistical reasons, traditional search engines do not or cannot index. This material is usually known as the "Invisible Web".
There are other mechanisms available via the Internet to find out what research is being carried out in your field. You will find it useful to consult other areas of this guide, in particular:
- How can I evaluate the quality of the resources
This is a very important. The quality control (or lack of it!) of information on the Internet is an issue that researchers have to be aware of. You must be very critical of information that you retrieve. The Internet's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness - it is truly egalitarian and anyone can set up a Web site. As there are no baseline standards for information provision, the onus rests with you (the user) to filter out material that is inappropriate to your needs.
There are some excellent free online tutorials that go into more detail on the critical thinking and evaluative skills needed:
- Some online reference services
- Some recommended subject specific websites
The Robinson Library web pages contain a lot of helpful subject specific information to get you started on searching the Internet.
- Need some more help?
If you feel that youd like more help with using the Internet or would like more advanced information on topics such as constructing effective search strategies or citing information correctly from the Internet, there are a range of online support materials that you can access, free of charge.
Perhaps the most useful is one that was launched in May 2001:
- Intute Virtual Training Suite is a set of online subject specific tutorials designed to help students, lecturers and researchers improve their Internet information skills. The tutorials offer self-directed learning, take around an hour each to complete, and include practical scenarios of Internet usage, quizzes and interactive exercises to lighten the learning experience.
- The Online
Netskills Interactive Course (TONIC)