TAG | research

Search Engines come in many different varieties, and can often be more useful than Google when searching for specific types of information.

Why not try some of these instead of going straight to Google?

1. Clustering Search Engines  e.g. Clusty, Grokker, Exalead

2. Meta Search Engines e.g. Dogpile, Copernicus, Ixquick, Mamma, Surfwax MetaCrawler

3. Image Search Engines e.g. TinEye, Flickr, Picture Australia, DigiMorph search engine,

4. Music Search Engines e.g. Shazam, OWL

5. People Search Engines e.g. Pipl

6. Archived Web Pages Search Engine e.g. Wayback Machine

7. Customised Search Engine e.g. Rollyo

8. Deep Web Search Engines e.g. Intute, Infomine, Incy Wincy

9. Blog Search Engines e.g. Bloglines, Technorati

10. Subject Search Engines e.g. Wolfram Alpha (Maths) Scirus (Science), Sweetsearch, Boolify



Bradley, Phil, Making the Net Easier http://www.philb.com/whichengine.htm

The Search engine List http://www.thesearchenginelist.com/

Choose the Best Search for Your Information Needs, NoodleTools  http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/5locate/adviceengine.html



This term our Year 7 students have been learning about Australia’s involvement in conflicts. The time frame has been from the Sudan in 1885 to Australians in Iraq at the present time. A large part of the students’ time has been taken up with researching a battle and writing a feature article to be shared with their classmates. This task has allowed them to improve their information literacy skills with a particular emphasis on developing their abilities to frame their own focus questions to guide their research.

As a literary activity to support this topic, the boys have also been working in groups to study picture books that deal with the issue of war. The task has involved them reading a picture book, responding to it in writing, learning about the background to the conflict in it, and working together to create a presentation of the book to share with the rest of the class. The group nature of the task allows them to work interdependently. This process reintroduces picture books to them and encourages them to explore this medium as a genre that can be appropriate to their age level.



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As we approach the end of the school year, we all become acutely aware of deadlines and due dates.  For students (and staff) in the middle of a research process, there is hardly anything more stressful than spending hours browsing through material that may be irrelevant for the task at hand.  Despite this, we often come across online material that may not be immediately useful but has potential value in the future.  Using social bookmarking tools, it is possible to save these sites for later reference, and when that time comes, it can make searching more efficient.

Most people are used to saving websites as ‘Favorites’ in their browser.  However, you can end up with an enormous and unmanageable list that can only be accessed from your computer.  Once registered (for free) with a social bookmarking tool, such as delicious or diigo, you can bookmark sites and organise them according to your own system of tags.  Bookmarks are saved online, so you can access them from any computer with an internet connection.  In diigo, which we find particularly useful, it is also possible to highlight and annotate websites with sticky notes, or join special interest groups to share and receive recently bookmarked sites that are relevant for that area.

For students, they are powerful organisational tools and can serve as an online research log.  For staff, it is a great way to participate in a global community of educators, particularly if you opt to receive the regular emails of shared links.

Used well, social bookmarking tools make researching collaborative, flexible and efficient.  This is just one way in which you can develop your own Personal Learning Network (PLN).

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See this and more information about Wikipedia at our Online Reference Centre LibGuide.

There is a difference of opinion amongst educators these days as to whether or not Wikipedia is a valid source of information for student research. Some argue that lots of people contributing to the sum of what is known and understood about a topic makes it more valid.  It is also a useful source of information for breaking news stories (as the image here indicates).  However, the constantly changing nature of Wikipedia – one of its strengths- is also a weakness when it comes to research, as students may not realise at which point in time the information presented is actually accurate and reliable.

As teacher librarians, we advise students to refer to Wikipedia, if they wish to, for a general overview of a topic, but to actually source their information from other more reliable sources – such as our academic databases and online encyclopedia.

Many students still seem to think that Wikipedia is a reliable and credible source of information – despite the fact that they have probably added information to it themselves!  Below are some thought-provoking reasons why they should not use Wikipedia for their assignments.

10 good reasons why you should never trust Wikipedia as an accurate source of information:

10. You must never fully rely on any one source for important information

9. You especially can’t rely on something when you don’t even know who wrote it

8.  The contributor with an agenda often prevails

7. Individuals with agendas sometimes have significant editing authority

6. Sometimes “vandals” create malicious entries that go uncorrected for month

5. There is little diversity among editors

4. The number of active Wikipedia editors has flat-lined

3. It has become harder for casual participants to contribute

2. Accurate contributors can be silenced

And the number one reason:

1. It says so on Wikipedia

“Wikipedia says, “We do not expect you to trust us.” It adds that it is “not a primary source” and that “because some articles may contain errors,” you should “not use Wikipedia to make critical decisions.”

Furthermore, Wikipedia notes in its “About” section, “Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information.”

Read more details about each of these reasons, including good examples, at:


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