Guide to Library Research
Mary Livermore Library
Unit 4: Searching for Resources

If you are like many other students, you begin-and perhaps end-your research on the Internet.  We began this unit, however, with directions for finding books and then showed you how to find articles. Did we save the best for last? Not exactly.


Although the Internet is a valuable resource that provides easy access to millions of pages of information, the lack of editorial controls for many Web sites makes for potential problems with credibility, a subject we will examine in Unit 5. For this reason, you should begin your research with reference sources, other books, and articles in serials.


Once you have located several credible print sources, you may want to search for credible material on the Internet. In this unit, you will learn how to use a search engine, how to narrow the focus of your searches by adding other keywords, and how to use subject directories.


Search Engines
Search engines are tools that help you to find information on the Internet. Google, one of the more popular search engines, indexes more pages than any other single search engine and has a very good relevancy ranking system, meaning it does a good job of matching Internet sites with your keywords. To use Google, visit

Example: Let's say that you have been assigned to research "reform of public schools in the United States." You have come up with several keywords, including education and reform and united states. Simply enter these words into the find box in Google.


Google Search


You do not need to use the Boolean operator AND in Google. You may want to use it however, as this is a good practice to use when searching library databases.


You can also search keywords as phrases inside of quotes (see image below).


Click the "Google Search" button.