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INTR 100: Locating & Evaluating Web Sources: Overview

Library Guide

·         A Pokemon cup.

·         A couple of smart phones: The LG4 and the Apple SE.  

·         A hat with batman characters on it.

·         A pair of Vans

·         A CD collection

·         Mac cosmetics lipstick

·         Starbucks coffee cup

·         Princess of Celeste (a collectible from My Little Pony)

·         A pair of Nike soccer cleats

·         A comic book

·         A collection of Star Wars VHS tapes

·         An arm band from Live Action Role Playing

·         An anime figure

·         Jewelry linked to the Rave music scene

·         An object associated with Astrology




... Search... Read... Refine... Search...


Choice of language may indicate perspective or bias in your sources, and words that you choose for searching also influence the nature of the information that you retrieve. Being conscious of this can help your search strategy.

Consider the differences in search results when you use one or another of the words in these sets:

  • headdress / war bonnet -- see:
  • fashion / art / hipster
  • Indian / First Nations / Native American / Blackfoot / Siksika / neo-tribal
  • cultural appropriation / political correctness
  • fake news / propaganda / lies / truth

Settings, personalization, and algorithms influence the nature and ranking of search results. Only some of this may be controlled by the researcher.

"Media scholars are increasingly problematizing the idea that search engines are neutral technologies or tools..."

See: "Search Engine Bias/“Google Bias." Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics, 2014


See also:

Not all Internet content can be readily retrieved through search engines such as Google. Much valuable web-based information may be located within databases that are not or cannot be crawled.

As part of your search strategy, consider which types of organizations or agencies might be expected to produce or disseminate the kind of information that you're looking for.

For example: headdresses

> museums > culture > MoA at UBC; Smithsonian ; NMAI ; Glenbow,

                  > art > Metropolitan Museum of Art

                          > fashion

> fashion industry websites (corporate) > e.g. Chanel images 1 and 2

> cultural groups > UBCIC 


> user, consumer, or advocacy groups > Osheaga Festival

Long term viability of information ("link rot") is also a consideration in evaluating web sources: how to determine credibility when linked evidence seems to have disappeared?

Services that periodically capture and preserve Internet content, such as the Internet Archive (otherwise known as the Wayback Machine), can be helpful: