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Using websites can be tricky. Ask these questions to get a sense for whether the website is reliable:
- Ask who is responsible for the information.
Are they qualified to teach you? Why are they providing this information? Does someone take credit for the information by name? Can you contact them if you have questions?
- Ask whether the information is objective.
Does it present both sides of an issue? Is it designed to persuade you? Does anything about the information seem fishy?
- Ask how current the information is.
Is the site dated? Has it been updated recently enough to provide good information? Are there old or out of date links?
The internet has a lot of great information - but also a lot of bad information. It's easy to get bogged down when trying to sort one from the other. Try the following tips to make searching and using internet resources easier!
- Know what domains mean.
Anyone in the world can own most domain endings, such as .com and .org. A .org site does not mean that the site is run by an organization, or that the information is trustworthy. Two domains endings you can usually trust: .gov, or .us.gov, are always government-owned websites; .edu are always school-based websites.
- Use the advanced search.
Google has an advanced search option that lets you be more specific in your search. Tell it NOT to find pages that use certain words. Tell it to find pages from certain dates. Most usefully, tell it to find pages that have a certain domain ending.
- Let other people help judge the quality for you.
Don't do all the hard work yourself! If you've found a website you really trust - maybe a government site, or the site of a well-known and respected organization - check out their links pages. You can also use great resources like the Internet Public Library to search through pre-judged webpages. Be careful, though - you should always have your critical thinking and judgement engaged when using the web.
The University of Arizona Biology Project
Interactive online resource containing problem sets, tutorials, and other helpful tools
Tree of Life Web Project
The Tree of Life Web Project is a collection of information about biodiversity compiled collaboratively by hundreds of expert and amateur contributors. Its goal is to contain a page with pictures, text, and other information for every species and for each group of organisms, living or extinct.
Contains 3D anatomical models of the human body. Some content requires payment.
Reproductive Physiology Animations
Reproductive Physiology Animations is a collection of learning modules on human reproduction from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The modules have animation, and some have sound. This collection is open to the public.
Free, open access archive of journal articles in the life sciences.
PubChem, released in 2004, provides information on the biological activities of small molecules.
PubChem is organized as three linked databases within the NCBI's Entrez information retrieval system. These are PubChem Substance, PubChem Compound, and PubChem BioAssay. PubChem also provides a fast chemical structure similarity search tool. More information about using each component database may be found using the links in the homepage.
Science.gov is a gateway to government science information and research results. Currently in its fifth generation, Science.gov provides a search of over 60 scientific databases and 200 million pages of science information with just one query, and is a gateway to over 2200 scientific Websites (see Science.gov fact sheet).
The goal of the Species 2000 project is to create a validated checklist of all the world's species (plants, animals, fungi and microbes). This is being achieved by bringing together an array of global species databases covering each of the major groups of organisms.
Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics
The Borror Laboratory houses one of the largest collections of recorded animal sounds in the world. Founded by the late Dr. Donald Borror, Professor of Entomology and Zoology at The Ohio State University, the collection contains more than 30,000 recordings of over 1000 species of animals.
The Complete Works of Charles Darwin
This digital library of Darwin's writings includes over 50,000 pages of text and 40,000 images of his manuscripts and published articles.