Internet versus Library sources
Great! We now know that using Internet sources involves a certain risk. That does not mean that they cannot be useful for your research. Internet research has its own methods, advantages and disadvantages in comparison with library sources.
Advantages of internet research:
- available 24/7;
- sources are never out on loan;
- most up-to-date information;
- possibility of two-way communication;
- offers Access to collections from all parts of the world—saves on commute time;
- not only a platform for text documents, but also for videos, interactive elements, audio, hyperlinks, etc;
- publishing platform for groups outside the academic world; allowing insight into (international) information unavailable through traditional academic research.
Disadvantages of internet research:
- no system that organizes or catalogues the information;
- since the Internet is freely available to all, anyone can put anything imaginable on the Internet;
- no verification or selection; the user must judge quality or usefulness for himself;
- no access to data from subscription databases and sources, like digital journals and statistical information. The UL does have access to these;
- there is no help available from staff who are familiar with the sources, possibilities and other services;
- websites can be discontinued or moved; links can suddenly stop working, and online archives can be cleaned up or removed.
So, both sources have their advantages and disadvantages. But why pick and choose if you can use both? If you could use some help with focused searching for information in UL sources, read the online course Get to know the University Library. You will find some manuals here that help you with using the UL’s databases. If you need more assistance, ask one of the UL's specialists for help with searching.