Thursday, August 22, 2013

Internet Resources - How Legitimate Is Your Resources

Internet is a large information storage device. It is so large that anyone on this planet can access it anywhere and anytime. You can find any types of information from any kind of topics available from managing a business to what happens in your bed. If that information is not enough, you also can interact with other people from around the globe using social network to get the information that you need. It sounds impossible at first but that is currently happening in our daily lives whether you realize it or not.

Even school children search the web for assignments. Internet makes it convenient to many of us. Complicated subjects are made easy with cut and paste service. You don’t have to re-type books or re-draw building plans when it is ready made. With so much easy-to-get information, people are going lazy but this is what technology is made for.

However, though it sound too good to be true, the information that we are retrieving sometimes are not accurate, tampered, unreliable or just a fake.  Internet can be accessed by anyone as long as there is an internet connection. This creates opportunities for people to commit fraud, identity theft, scam or any other criminal activities. The free information that we always get are also unreliable or it is coming from untrusted source.

Searching on the internet
For most internet users, beginners or even lazy people who don’t like to search a reliable database, they use search engines, which is very easy to use. For those people who doesn’t know what search engines, these are examples:, and Search engines are your best friend on the internet. You can just type in anything that you want to find on the search engines.

To use a search engine, you open your web browser (internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) and type the search engine’s URL for example After the page loads the search engine’s website, type the information you required at the search bar and click search. After a second, all the information on your search term will load. The page that contains documents shown to you is called search results.

In the existence of the search engines, many of us intend to ‘misuse’ its purpose. Some of us already know what is the web address of the webpage that you are looking for. Instead of typing the web address on the address bar, you type it in the search engine. So, how many of you type Facebook on Google instead of typing www.facebook.comon the address bar?

Search engine results
After you type in your search term, search results will appear. Usually you will click on the first result because it may be the best result available…or is it? How do you determine whether the information that you are looking for is reliable? The first step is seeing the domain name. All domain names will end with .com, .net, .org, .info, .edu and .gov.
        1.       .com
-          Commercial sites.
-          Seen almost every day online.
-          Can be used by individual.
-          E.g,
         2.       .net
-          Network infrastructures websites
-          Usually used by organizations that involves networking technologies
-          E.g,
         3.       .org
-          Organization sites
-          Mostly are not profit based websites
-          E.g,
         4.       .info
-          Intended to be informative sites
-          Unrestrictive domain, also can be obtained by any individual
-          E.g,
         5.       .edu
-          Educational sites
-          Usually used by higher learning education center
-          Cannot be used by individuals
-          Reliable sites for useful resources especially in research
-          E.g,
          6.       .gov
-          Government sites
-          Cannot be used by individual
-          Government owned websites
-          Reliable sites especially if you want to find statistics e.g crime index, population etc.
-          E.g,,
          7.       Other extensions E.g .my, .jp, .us.
-          Country extensions
-          For example .my for Malaysia, .jp for Japan and .us for United States

By looking at the domain name of the website that appears in your search result is the basic thing you should know when you are looking for reliable information. Now you should understand what is the purpose of the website and what kind of website are you looking at. After knowing about the website, you also should consider a few things about the content in the website.
      1.       Author of the website/article
Find out who is the author of the website and his/her qualifications to write the article. What is the author’s experience? Is it related to the article that he/she wrote? Ask yourself these questions when evaluating the information. These questions can help you determine the credibility of the information. Some website has many authors or they are allowing guest author to write articles in their website’s content.
      2.       Currency
See the date of the information given. Is it up-to-date or not. Most of information seekers want to get the latest information available. However, if you are looking for information according to history, the currency is not so important but the date is.
      3.       Objective or purpose of the website
What is the purpose of the website? Is it educational, informative or just a fake? Don’t misunderstand fake information. Some organization purposely place fake information on their website or on Youtube. This fake information has its purpose, whether to increase traffic or to stimulate visitors to comment. But always remember that fake information can lead to scams when you are visiting commercial sites.
      4.       Links provided
Do you see any links provided in the information? What is the purpose of the links? Does the links help the readers and the article itself?

Reliable resources
Professionals used internet in a different way. They look at the most reliable sources on information databases available. Unfortunately, the best resources are not free. You have to pay for membership to retrieve their information. You cannot always expect everything is free on the internet even if it is only information. Some examples of good internet resources are Google Scholar, EBSCOhost, Emerald Insight and other digital libraries such as UiTM Digital Library Collections, World Digital Libraryand The Smithsonian Libraries available online. These database services provide reliable sources you can get on the internet.

The good news is free resources are available at the digital library mentioned earlier. Only the database services are paid. May be it is because the databases are worth the money that you are paying. However, university digital libraries sometimes don’t allowed outsiders to log in to their library.

Be very careful with internet resources that you find on the internet and extra careful if the website sells anything. Fraud comes in many faces and it hurts the commercial industry in the internet. Use the techniques mentioned above to evaluate the information that you read online. Search for a few more information about the same title so you can conclude what you are reading and for your reference collection. If the information still doesn't satisfy you, ask nearby librarian for help.

Article by,
Albert Babok

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