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Microbiology: Advanced Web Searching

This guide provides resources to help in creating reports detailing the identification and description of microorganisms.

The Importance of Web Sites

Librarians often, rightly, warn students that the Internet may not be the best or easiest place to find good information on a topic, but to instead use books and periodical articles. Good information can be found on the web, but it requires careful searching and evaluation.

Microbiology and the sciences in general, though, are an area in which the strengths of the Internet can be put to good use. Governmental and educational research agencies and professional organizations may publish articles and databases which are freely available. There is also an increasing amount of peer-reviewed scientific information available. Finally, some individuals and subject directory creators have created portals which usefully collect good sites in a field.

A great strength of the Internet is the availability many images which can be downloaded for reports and papers.

Advanced Searching on Search Engines

Google and other search engines offer Advanced Search options which allow you to target your searching by either modifying your search terms or applying limits.

Modifying Search Limits

On Google's Advanced Search everything under the phrase "Need More Tools?" applies limits to either how your results are displayed or which type of results are displayed. At the bottom of the page there are even more limits.

Modifying Search Terms

  • The 1st search box on Google's Advanced Search is a simple search box. To narrow your search it is helpful to include more search terms.
  • Any words placed in the 2nd seach box will be searched by Google as a phrase. You can do this on a regular Google search page simply by placing quotation marks around a phrase or name.
  • And words placed in the 3rd search box(es) will be searched separately and all the results shown. This broadens your search and is not recommended except for obscure topics.
  • And words placed in the 4th search box will be excluded from your search. Again, unless you have a specific need to do this, this is not recommended as you might miss out on useful results. Instead, include more terms using the first box to try to narrow your topic.

 

Finding Images

Perhaps one of the Internet's greatest strengths is the ability to provide images which can be easily downloaded. Almost every search engine presents the opportunity to search for images simply by clicking on a tab labeled "Images" or something similar.

You may either click on "Images" after you have done your search, in which case all of the limits you have applied will also apply to your image search or you may go directly to the Image search section of a web site and do a search there. Note, that the image search sections also have the ability to do advanced searches. One limit particular to image searches is the limit that lets you determine how much to filter your images. The default for most image searches is "Moderate filtering."

A Word About Saving and Copyrighting

Unless, the creator of an image has disabled the ability to do so, generally you can save any image by right-clicking on the image and saving it somewhere on your computer or jump-drive for later use in a paper or report.

If you are using the image for educational purposes, generally you do not need to worry about obtaining copyright permission to use the image. It is a courtesy to the creator of the image, however, to give them credit and list them in a citation if possible.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000