Internet Research Tips

Evaluating Internet Sources

One of the trickiest parts of using the Internet for research is figuring out if you've found a credible site or junk. If you need a reminder of what you should look for in a good site, check out this helpful Evaluating Internet Sources video tutorial.

Search Engines

Search engines are the way most of us search the Internet. Most search engines return not just websites but also maps, images, videos, and news related to your search terms.

Microsoft's search engine. A general search engine.

The world's most popular search engine. A general search engine.
A search engine just for US government websites. 

Wolfram Alpha
A "computational knowledge engine." Wolfram Alpha is a little different from Google or Bing in that it specializes in data that can be computed, from something as simple as a currency conversion to something as complex as statistical demographic data. For an example of the kind of results you'll get with this search engine, see this search for Bend, Oregon

Scholarly Search Engines

These search engines look specifically for academic literature. While they can be helpful, we recommend that you use the Library's databases to find scholarly literature. As a COCC student, faculty, or staff, you'll have the best experience with the Library's subscription databases, which we've selected especially to meet your needs. If you are confused by the Library's databases or just need a little help to use them more effectively, just contact us - that's what we're here for!

Google Scholar
Searches for academic literature from journals, conferences, and other publications. Free full-text is sometimes available.

Microsoft Academic Search
Searches academic literature. Search by keyword, or browse by subject area, author, or publication. Free full-text is sometimes available.


Directories are different from search engines in that they organize websites into groups by subject (called categories), providing an additional way you can access information. Benefits of directories are that they are often human-edited and may improve your overall search results. Also, if you don't know how to phrase your search, the category organization can help you find information. One disadvantage is that you have to watch out for out-of-date sites.

Yahoo! Directory
The first large-scale directory of the web. Yahoo! describes its directory as "a human-created and maintained collection of websites organized into categories and subcategories."

Internet Archives

Ever wondered how a website has changed over time, or wanted to see websites from earlier years for historical purposes? These resources let you travel into the Internet's past.

Library of Congress Web Archives
The Library of Congress Web Archvies project has archived sites relating to significant events, such as the 9/11 attacks, US elections, and the Iraq War.

Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine, from the Internet Archive, lets you see a particular website's development over time.