“It’s not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure”
 — title of presentation by technology commentator Clay Shirky at Web 2.0 Expo NY, 2008


“[T]he fear that keeps us awake at night is not that all this information will cause us to have a mental breakdown but that we are not getting enough of the information we need.”    
— David Weinberger, senior researcher at Harvard's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society (from Too Big to Know [Basic Books, 2012])
   

Below are some strategies to help you more directly access the information you are seeking on the open Web. Consider them a beginning toolkit to draw upon for your web research. The web is always changing, and so is search. Be attentive to new tools as they become available.


While internet search engines have made locating sources online easier, there are still many digital sources beyond websites. Databases contract with publishers and other content providers to package access to articles, reports, conference proceedings, ebooks, films, images, and other material. Using databases and having access to such a variety of source material is an important part of the research process.

Search magazine articles, research reports, journal articles, and abstracts published in magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals.

Magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals provide contemporary material that is often on very narrow topics. Magazines are written in a more popular style and aimed at a general audience. The term "journals" is used for scholarly research publications. (Librarians use the term "periodicals" to include both magazines and journals.) Often journals are peer-reviewed, which means that the articles are read by a number of scholars in the field before being approved for publication. There are thousands of journals, magazines, and newspapers published annually. Instead of leafing through journals, magazines, and newspapers themselves, you can consult a periodical database to find out what articles have appeared on a given topic.