Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is Google always good?

Nowadays, who doesn’t go to Google when a question about any topic comes to mind? The address of your friend’s house, bus schedules, yoga lessons in your area, restaurant ratings, the website of a particular organization in this country or abroad, the lyrics of your favorite songs, music videos, and news. We can go on, and on and on, about what people search with Google. Just type the words of what you are looking for and in two seconds you will get more than a million links related to your question. But, the problem with this is, how do we know the information we are getting is reliable? How can we tell the information we are reading on our screen is written by a trustworthy author or organization?

These questions are more important when looking for information on sensitive topics like health or legal help, for example. In the case of health, good sources for these questions are the organizations that advocate or specialize in particular illnesses like the American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association among others. There are also websites that compile information on health diseases or symptoms that can help like Medline by the National Library or Medicine.

Legal help is the other topic that can be tricky when searching on Internet. Websites like Texas Law Help or Find Law are reliable sources when looking for lawyers or information about particular laws or rights.

Austin Public Library offers access to databases on different topics, including the ones mentioned above, that you can access from home for free with your library card or also at the library. The librarians of the Central Library have also put together a list of trustworthy resources on line that you can access from our website by going to the Research Guides section or to Recommended Web Sites. Don’t forget that librarians are also another tool you can use in your research. Visit us, Call us, e-mail us or chat with us. We will be very happy to help you!

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