Making sense of search results
Search engines won't help you assess the quality of a website. When
asearch engine gives its results, the ones at the top of the list are usually
those judged to be most relevant. This could mean that they are the web
pages that feature your keywords the most frequently, or the most
prominently or are from the largest organisations. How can you decide
if the information on these web pages is reliable?
Google uses a ranking system, which includes estimating how good
awebsite is by counting the numberof websites that have made links to it
(and how important these websites are). But ultimately, you'll still have to
use your own judgement to decide whether the article or data you have
found is a valid piece of work. Here are some things to consider:
Author –Do you recognise the authorortheirorganisation? Ifnot, see
if they feature in Yahoo Directory http://search.yahoo.com/dir or other
sources that you trust. Google's Advanced Search lets you see which
websites have linked to that source: put the webpage address into the box
labelled “Find pages that link to the page” and also in the “Domain” box
and select “don't”.
Currency –how up-to-date is the information?
Use recommendations - online directories orgateways select material on
your behalf, and many are listed in this book, but familiarise yourself with
theireditorial or selection policies e.g. www.siyanda.org/help.htm#editorial
For more advice on evaluating online information, see
You can find more advice on how to search the Internet
on the following websites:
Eldis Dossier on the Effective Use of the Internet
Webwise – the BBC's beginner's guide to the Internet
Using online library catalogues
Although search engines can point to you a lot of websites, they won't search
everything, including most online databases and library catalogues. Library
catalogues work slightly differently from search engines, but fortunately, once
you know how to use one library catalogue, you should find it fairly easy to
use most ofthem. The best advice is to check the library's own guidance
on searching its catalogue but there are usually three main ways to search:
Search by author
If the author is a person, enter the surname/family name first e.g.
.If the author is an organisation, enter the name
in the usual order e.g.
institute of development studies
Search by title
Enter the whole title of the publication or article, or just part ofit e.g.
place to start
Search by subject
When librarians are cataloguing, they use a standard vocabulary (a set
ofsubject headings) to describe each item. To conduct a subject search,
you will need to know the correct subject heading for your topic.
Sometimes you can make a guess, but for some subjects it may be harder.
Browse the headings and subjects in the UN OECD Macrothesaurus at
http://22.214.171.124/ar/oecd-macroth/en/2551.html which some specialist
libraries, such as the BLDS (British Library for Development Studies), use to
catalogue their items.
Some catalogues will also allow you to search by keyword, which may
feature in the title, or subject, while others have preset searches on
popular topics to help you find your way through the catalogue. Catalogues
and other databases allow you to use what are known as Boolean search
has a good introduction into how Boolean terms work.
Making sense of search res
The WHO library services give access to worldwide health, medical and
development information resources. The library in Geneva is open to anyone
who wishes to use it, and the collection is made available through the WHO
library database, WHOLIS, which includes more than 70,000 bibliographic
records and 30,000 links to full text documents. The site is available in
English, French and Spanish.
The FES library is one of the world’s largest scientific specialised libraries,
focusing on the international labourmovement and social and contemporary
history. Its collections include a selection of inventories, publications from
the FES development programme worldwide and bibliographies on topics
such as the labourmarket and employment. You can also use the document
delivery service and access resources electronically, with information being
in both English and German.
Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES)
World Health Organization Library (WHO)
Selected by Caroline Knowles,
Head of Communications, IDS
The British Library is one of the largest libraries in the world and holds every
book orjournal published in the UK as well as all UN publications. The online
catalogue is extensive and easy to search, with an increasing number of
online bibliographies compiled by specialist staff. Many documents are available
online and the British Library also runs an extensive document delivery service
as well as links tomany libraries and archives around the world.
The NYPL has a particularpolicy of promoting access and has long been a
leaderin abstracting and indexing services to make information about their
collection available to a worldwide public audience. The library has extensive
catalogues in both area studies and the social sciences and humanities, and
provides access to more than 300 research databases in these areas, as well
as a large collection of online journals and other resources.
Online Development Libraries
New York Public Library (NYPL)
Forbooks and journals on a particularaspect ofdevelopment, any one
ofthese libraries would be a good place to start, all offering extensive
catalogues and databases detailing both print and electronicpublications.
But this section would not be complete without briefly mentioning the
BLDS (the British Library for Development Studies based at IDS –
www.blds.ids.ac.uk) which is an excellent resource fordevelopment
information (print and online) including email Updates, Subject Guides,
Country Profiles, an E-Library and a speedy Document Delivery service.
Acentral part ofthe IDS strategy is about influencing development policy
and practice, based on the belief that our work is only as useful as the influence
it exerts. The IDS approach to influence and communications is about engaging
in a dynamicconversation with external stakeholders, to share research
and knowledge. This dialogue ensures that research
is informed by learning from others and can absorb
adiversity ofperspectives. The IDS communicates
its work through a variety ofchannels, including
an extensive publishing programme, the website,
events, media work and the IDS alumni network.
Email contact: email@example.com
The BLDS is Europe's largest research collection on economic
and social change in developing countries, with a unique set
of materials built up over the past 40 years. BLDS supports
teaching and research at IDS and Sussex University and operates
anumber of services specifically designed to provide remote
users with access to its collection, much of which is unavailable
What's on the website?
The BLDS online catalogue has more than one million items made up
of books, journals, working papers and government publications – sources
include governments of developing and donor countries, international
organisations (World Bank, UN, ILO etc), non-government organisations
and research institutes from all continents. There are also Subject Guides
to give you easy entry points to subject-specific materials in the catalogue
and Country Profiles allowing users to find materials on a particular country,
quickly and easily.
What else does BLDS offer?
BLDS Updates – a regularemail updating service covering new acquisitions
on key development topics and regions: www.blds.ids.ac.uk/updates
E-Library – access to a range of full-text electronic resources
Document Delivery – fast turnaround delivery (by email orfax)
of documents in the BLDS collection. This service is available free of charge
to many developing country organisations.
British Library for
Development Studies (BLDS)
BRIDGE supports gender advocacy and mainstreaming efforts
of policymakers and practitioners by bridging the gaps between
theory, policy and practice with accessible and diverse gender
information. It was established in 1992 as a specialised gender and
development research and information service and now works
in partnership with 21 primarily southern-based gender experts,
who form an International Advisory Committee to help shape
future strategy and guide priority themes for BRIDGE’s work.
What’s on the website?
All of BRIDGE's publications are available to download for free in a range
of formats and languages. BRIDGE Cutting Edge Packs contain an overview
report on a specially selected theme, an In Brief bulletin and a collection
of supporting resources including summaries of key materials, good practice
cases, lists of tools and checklists and key online resources. BRIDGE Reports
synthesise the key gender and development debates, policies and practice
in a selected area, for example, global trade expansion and liberalisation.
BRIDGE Bibliographies provide brief overviews of a particular area,
with the key resources identified and summarised.
What else does BRIDGE offer?
You can subscribe via the website to Gender and Development In Brief - the
international bulletin for development practitioners and policymakers, with
75% of its readers based in the South. www.bridge.ids.ac.uk/cf/subscribe.cfm
BRIDGE coordinates the gender equality website, Siyanda,
which is a comprehensive database of gender resources from
around the world, with summaries and links to hundreds
of full-text resources. It is also an interactive space for
practitioners, policymakers and researchers to share ideas,
experiences and resources.
What’s on the website?
As well as the database of gender resources, Siyanda offers a GenderExperts
and Consultants Database which can be used as a networking tool for
connecting practitioners, researchers, activists, students and experts with
like-minded colleagues, persons working on similarthemes, orin the same
geographical location. It is also an excellent resource forthose seeking experts
forgender-focused consultancies. You can add yourprofile to the database,
participate in discussions, suggest materials and share your short pieces ofwork
in the Users' Corner. There are country focused genderresources and you can
find new materials recommended by Siyanda users.
What else does Siyanda offer?
Siyanda Update – the monthly e-mail newsletterwith details of the latest
materials added to the website www.siyanda.org/subscribe.htm
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email contact: email@example.com
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested