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Information Literacy: Information on Internet

Information Literacy

Using Internet Information

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a worldwide network of computers. It contains a wealth of information published by governments, organizations, educational institutions, commercial enterprises, and private individuals.   It includes text, sound, video, and images.  Since there are no standards for quality, users must evaluate all information carefully to make sure it is reliable. Generally speaking, you can find reliable information in Web sites published by:

  • Federal government agencies and departments -- .gov
    • Example: (National Institutes of Health)
  • Professional societies and organizations -- .org
    • Example: (American Psychological Association)

Note:  Some .org sites are not professional in nature.  Be sure to evaluate them carefully.

  • Colleges and universities (excluding student pages) -- .edu
    • Example: (Harvard University)

Although the Internet provides a vast amount of information, it does not include everything. Books, periodicals, databases, and other publications that are commercially available are not usually available for open access on the Internet. Thus, some of the most reliable information in existence must still be obtained from print sources or electronic sources available by subscription only







Searching the Internet

Due to the vast and uncentralized nature of the Internet, the information as a whole has no meaningful organizational structure. You can, however, find useful information on the Internet by using:

Use search engines, such as Google, to search the Internet. An Internet search will generally retrieve a large number of hits ranked by relevancy. You can then sift through the most relevant sites for useful and reliable information. It is easy to limit a Google search to Government publications (gov) or organizational web sites (org).  Duck Duck Go is a valuable browser since it is not advertisement reliant  like Google and does not track individual acconts and their searches. 


Many databases that are particularly useful for scholarly research are available on the Internet by restricted access. Bethune Cookman University students, faculty, and staff have access to these subscription databases, which contain references to books, scholarly journal articles, and many other sources that are of high quality. Many contain full-text information or link directly to full-text journals to which the library subscribes.