Books Vs. Internet Research Paper

Library VS Internet - ten good reasons to use the library

Joyce B. Radcliff (Serials Librarian)

The Internet is not a substitute for the library, but a search tool to be used in addition to traditional sources in the library.

1. Everything Is Not On the InternetThe Internet consists of a small percentage of what’s published. Search engines such as Google, AltaVista, and Yahoo access are limited. ALA reports that only 8% of all journals and even fewer books are on the Internet.  The most reliable scholarly information is available in books and journals.  Preliminary steps to find the appropriate search terms should start with print indexes and subject headings volumes.  

2. The Internet Is Not Organized

There is not a system that catalogs and organizes all resources on the Internet.   A search on the Internet is similar to searching an unclassified catalog.  When you use any of the search engines, you’re searching only part of the Internet.  Searches are not always relevant to your topic and can cause a lot of wasted time, frustration and confusion

3. The Internet Doesn’t Have Quality Control

Quality control isn’t easy to achieve on the Internet.  Open Source information on the Internet is quite common and easy to get misinformed information.  Anyone with access to the Internet can publish a Website.

4. Sources on the Internet are Harder to Identify

Information on the WWW is hard to tell who’s telling you what and where is the location of the information. When you use information in your paper from the Internet, it’s important to print it out and cite your sources.   Information taken from the Web can change overnight.  Information taken from the library or databases in the library gives the exact location.  One must give full documentation when using information from a site.  See the Academic Integrity Statement under Academic and Classroom Conduct for Tennessee State University’s response to plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

To Cite the Internet:

  • Author’s name (if known)
  • Full title of document in quotation marks
  • Title of complete work if applicable (in italics)
  • Date of publication of last revision (if available).
  • Full URL address (http) enclosed within angle brackets
  • Date of visit in parenthesis

 Follow the guidelines in the following texts kept in reference in Brown Daniels and Avon Williams Libraries.

The Chicago manual of style. Ref. Z253 .U69 2003

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. BF76.7 .P83 2001

MLA handbook for writers of research papers.  Ref. LB2369. C53 2003.

See Online Reference Resources for Research

http://www.tnstate.edu/interior.asp?mid=1028&ptid=1

5. Library Online Resources are Available 24/7

Online databases can be accessed 24 hours a day 7 days a week from the library’s webpage. These databases are in the library’s collection and can be accessed on campus and remotely with your University ID via the Internet. This is not to be confused with searching the Internet.

Complete List of Online Print and Print Journals

http://fj8cm8pf4g.search.serialssolutions.com

6. Tuition and Fees Pay for Library Use

Library resources are paid for with your tuition and fees, so take advantage of it.  Libraries provide free access to scholarly books, journals, newspapers, encyclopedias, and other print reference sources.  A lot of information on the Internet is FREE, except scholarly materials.  A paid subscription is required to access.

7. Trained  Professionals Available For Assistance

Knowledgeable and friendly librarians are available to assist with locating information in person, chat, e-mail or telephone. Request assistance at the beginning of your research and spare valuable time spent on the Internet.

8. E-books are Available

E-books are full-text and searchable. Text can be searched automatically, and cross-referenced using hyperlinks.  Dictionaries, reference works, and some textbooks, benefit from search and cross-reference capabilities.  Content is available 24/7.  TSU’s Webpage provide e-books at:  http://www.tnstate.edu/library/milcat/ebooks.htm

9. The Internet Has Fewer Archival Materials

The library has older materials than the Internet. Digitalization that goes back more than 10-15 years can be difficult to locate on the Internet. The Internet provides more timely information, and is constantly updated.

10. Does Library-less Universities Work

A virtual librarycannot replace the traditional library. To California libraries (Monterey and California Polytechnic University) attempted this method, only to find out first hand that it can’t work. They found out that everything is not on the Internet.


Adapted from Mark Herring’s 10 Reasons Why the Internet is No Substitute for a Library, American Libraries, April 2001, p.76-78. 


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One of the most important tasks in doing research is evaluating the material you find. All information is not created equal, and your objective is to find the best available information for your research needs. Unfortunately most times the easiest thing to find is not always the best information available. 

This guide will help you think about what is necessary to do to evaluate information. You always need to keep in mind what your information needs are, and what the objective of the assignment is. 

How you evaluate an item will depend on the assignment you need to do. For example: If you were writing a paper on the medical treatment options for cancer for an Advanced Biology course, you would not be looking for opinion pieces, you would be looking for empirical research studies. But if your assignment for an  Interpersonal Communications course where you are looking at peer communication around the medical options for cancer treatment, you may be looking at all sorts of opinion pieces, blogs and other more casual content.  

  If you'd like more assistance with evaluating information, please feel free to contact any one of the Reference Librarians and we will be happy to assist you.

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