With the start of the academic year in Australia I have been taking note of internet research tools that are useful to students. Here is the start of the list.
TechTracer2.0 has written 10 Most Amazing Google Search Tricks.
Top search tip when teaching in an Art school is showing students how to use Googles Image Search and introducing them to Google Scholar
With Google’s glossary search engine you can look up a word or a group of words in many of the glossaries online. To use it, add the define: operator in front of your query. In other words if you wanted a definition of Surrealism In Google’s search box type define: Surrealism
In 1996 the Wayback Machine began cataloging the internet. Often if the article you are looking for is no longer available you can find it archived there
The Art School Library has a resource page Online Images Collections and Search Engines
The Internet is a self-publishing medium which means everything must be analyzed for its appropriateness. You need to evaluate the information you have found.Ask what is the type of site and why does it exist.
Sometimes the domain suffix will help you evaluate a site. For instance education sites run by educational institutions have a .edu and/or country code suffix. In the case of Australia it is .au. A government site has a .gov suffix. Non-profit organisations have a .org suffix Here is a list of country TLD codes and a list of Internet top-level domains from Wikipedia
Ask do they provide references or links to source material? If so what is the quality of the source material. See if the information is dated and find out if it is current. Ask yourself who published the page? Look for authorship and the credentials of that writer. If the author is affiliated with an academic institution, or organization, check the directory on the Web site to confirm that this is in fact the truth.
If it is not clear you can use Whois Lookup to find out who owns the domain name.
As a side note: If ever you are dealing with copyright problems this is how you you trace the owner of a site.
Laura B. Cohen has produced Evaluating Web Content which covers the topic well. It includes evaluating web genres like blogs and wikis, social networking sites, Social bookmarking sites and multimedia sites such as YouTube