It may be tempting to think....Isn't everything on the internet? Can't I just use Google and Wikipedia for my research?
While Google, Wikipedia, and other internet sources can be useful, you don't want to rely on them for your research. Why not?
- Not everything is openly accessible on the internet. The UMD Library subscribes to and purchases high quality resources that are not available on the internet.
- Information overload: using a search engine, like Google, often means that you get thousands or millions of results. Library databases are organized in such a way that the results are more manageable. This allows you to find the best resources for your topic quickly.
- Authority & accuracy: keep in mind that anyone can create or edit an entry in Wikipedia. Anyone can create a website. How will you know if the author is an expert? How will you verify the information?
- Your professors want to see high quality, scholarly sources cited in your papers. Impress them by using library resources!
Is it ever okay to use Google or Wikipedia?
- If you need background information about a topic before you research it, looking in a place like Wikipedia can be helpful. You can also find background information and overviews of various topics by using online encyclopedias at the UMD Library.
- Think of internet resources as a starting point, but NEVER a stopping point. Always go beyond Wikipedia!