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Searching: Website Searching

Use this guide to learn how to search effectively for information sources

Discerning Websites

Check out the URL (address) to assess the authority of a source. One part of the URL indicates the type of domain:

  • .ac or .edu - higher education college or university
  • .gov - government agency or organization
  • .com - commercial organization
  • .net - network provider
  • .org - non-profit organization
  • .int - international

The origin of a web page can help you evaluate the legitimacy of a page. Generally, you expect accurate information to be found at domains with .gov or .ac or .edu and you can limit your searches to specific domains. For example, a search for heutagogy site: will bring up results on heutagogy from all UK higher education institutions.

However, be aware that this type of search is not necessarily foolproof. Not everything with .gov or .ac  or .edu in the URL will pass the information evaluation test. A good example of an .edu site not linked to higher education institutions is It is a commercial site purchased before the standardisation of domain names for the web.


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