Prepare: The internet

The internet facilitates access to vast amounts of information. This means you have the biggest library of information available to you than ever before, but it is essential you are fully aware that the internet consists of a great deal of material which is of inferior quality or of dubious origin.

To find the kind of information that you need, there are 2 sets of internet resources:

1. Using the internet as a search tool to find scholarly information

  • Library search
    • Search books and more
      • search for items in any of our libraries and the Spiral Digital Repository
    • Search articles and more
      • search our extensive full-text journal collection
  • The library website
    • Electronic peer reviewed journals
    • E-books
    • Databases
  • E-journals and e-books
    • Online journals from a range of publishers, both those subscribed to by the Library and freely available open source journals
  • Open access repositories / e-print servers
    • Discipline specific
    • Institutional
      • such as Spiral, Imperial College London’s digital repository of research output
  • Google Scholar
    • Useful to track down a specific article, not so useful for an overview of a subject as you cannot identify what sources Google is searching and what it leaves out
Advantages Disadvantages
Aggregate research publications/ data by scientists in your field
Includes peer reviewed content Also includes non peer reviewed content
Current Information: updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis The quantity of material can be overwhelming
 SFX links to subscribed material

2. Using the internet to find general web resources

  • Search engines
  • Subject gateways
  • Personal web pages
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Social networking sites
Advantages Disadvantages
Instant information at your fingertips from:organisations / societiescompany informationfull text government publications

online e-journals & e-books

The information found may not be of appropriate academic level or quality
Current Information: updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basisa vast selection of subjects The quantity of material can be overwhelming
Authenticity can be difficult if sometimes impossible to establish


Critical and evaluative skills are very important when considering information from a website, even more so than when considering a paper source, such as a book. Evaluating the quality of a book is easier, as it is more obvious who has published it and to judge whether the author is an authority on the subject. A list of websites may not be enthusiastically received by your lecturer; therefore, you must be very sure that the information you are using is authoritative. You need to be discerning when you select information.


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