The Web is vast and includes sources of all types. You might consider searching the Web if you need the following:
- Addresses and contact information
If you are looking for ways to contact a person or organization, your best bet is to visit the appropriate website.
- Government information
Many government documents are published on the Web in order to make them available to a greater percentage of the population. While not everything published by the government is freely available online, many useful resources are. For more information about locating government documents, please see our Government Documents page.
- Newspaper articles
While LexisNexis is the best place to search for newspaper articles from 1980 onward, older articles can be found in the Google News Archive. Note that you may need to use the library catalog to access some of these articles without paying.
- Popular culture
Some topics have not been deeply considered by academics, but are covered extensively on the Internet. For example, you may want to use the Web if you are looking for reviews of recent movies or biographies of current celebrities. This is especially true of very recent topics.
- Primary sources
Careful archival research cannot be accomplished using the Internet alone. However, many primary sources have been made available online by colleges and universities. One excellent example is the William Blake Archive, which makes scanned copies of Blake's poetry and illustrations available on the Web.
If you are interested in scholarly articles and books, you are better off starting in databases or the library catalog, but many other kinds of information are available freely on the Web.