or not to

Before you start searching ANYPLACE:

1. Define your need.

Purpose? personal, medical, legal, financial, for family, speech, paper?
Audience? just you, people depending on you, your boss, your teacher, the other students in you class?

Also consider:

Level of detail required
Graphics, maps, multimedia
Time constraints

2. Evaluate all sources.

Criteria for evaluating webpages

Propaganda vs Scholarship

3. Choose the appropriate source.

Library Catalog and Databases times the Library is the perfect source for information.

Google --

Google Advanced Search: Limit your search to specific domains like gov or edu or uk or or to search just within those domains. Still too many--limit to words in the title or recent pages.
Evaluate! Evaluate! Evaluate!

Google Advanced Scholar Search:
Set preferences for University of South Alabama to link to articles in databases the library subscribes to. You will need to login to one of our databases first to be able to access these resources directly from Scholar. You can limit to general subject areas. NB: the USA Library subscribes to more periodicals than are covered in Scholar! Evaluate! Evaluate!

Google Advanced Book Search:
Most valuable for searching within the text of a limited set of scanned books to identify books or sections of books that might be useful. It searches every word. Books are available in "snippet" "preview" and full view" depending upon the copyright agreement. Most 'full view" books are written before 1923. Many of these can be downloaded to your own computer. Great for identifying quotes (plagiarists beware.) Evaluate.

4. Use the utilities Google contains. define word; thesaurus use ~; spell check is automatic (if you are close)

Gmail: Signing up for a gmail account allows you to do all of the below. Very little spam; easy access. However, be aware that by signing in Google has access to everything you do for whatever purpose they might devise.

Google Docs (and Spreadsheets and Presentations)--Online word processor that will export to Word format. Online type spreadsheet that exports to Excel format. Create a slideshow and export to PowerPoint.

Google Calendar--Keep your important dates, meetings etc. online and available anywhere, even your iPhone. Have reminders sent to you ahead of time. Share a calendar with others to coordinate schedules.

Picasa Web Photo Album--share photos

Blogger-- Start your own blog

Google RSS Reader--Collect all your favorite blogs in one place

Google Site--Make your own website (old:

Google Finance--Keep track of your stocks (if you dare)

iGoogle--Put them altogether


2/12/2009 js
Writing Outreach