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Religion: Navigating the Internet

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in Religion

Evaluating Websites

Criteria for evaluating websites include:

  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Coverage
  • Currency
  • Objectivity

Remember to examine websites carefully before using them for research purposes.  If you still aren't sure, ask a librarian or your professor for assistance.

Using Virtual Libraries

Virtual libraries . . .

♦  Provide directories of carefully selected Web resources.

♦  Include annotations (summaries) of the selected websites.

♦  Are usually maintained by librarians or other information specialists.

♦  Furnish the quality control that is lacking in web search engines.

Users can usually browse by subject or search.  For example, see:

Finding Dulcinea: Librarian of the Internet. (If the search feature does not work, try this link.)

See also the Library of Congress's Virtual Reference Shelf, which includes "selected online resources for research," and Alcove Nine: An Annotated List of Reference Websites.

Citing Your Sources

While writing research papers, you may need to:

  List your sources in bibliographies or works cited, and

♦  Provide either footnotes or endnotes.

Here is a link to the UMW Libraries' Guide to Citing Resources.

Navigation Menu

When looking for web resources related to any of the following topics, either click on these links or scroll down:

Directories and Guides

Religious Denominations

Google Tricks

Directories and Guides

A guide prepared by librarians at at the Internet Public Library.

A directory of resources compiled by librarians at the Internet Public Library.

A directory that "analyzes and highlights important content of religion-related websites."

"A selective, annotated guide to a wide variety of electronic resources of interest to those who are involved in the study and practice of religion."

Religious Denominations

A collection of some 44,000 "adherent statistics and religious geography citations," including references to congregation statistics for more than 4,200 churches, religions, denominations, and other religious bodies.

Provides resources on religious sects, alternative religions, cults, new religious movements, doctrines, and religious practices.

Google Tricks

  • Use quotation marks for exact words or phrases.
    • For example, “global warming” (to search global warming as a phrase rather than two separate words).
  • Use an asterisk as a wildcard or a placeholder. 
    • For example, universit* (for university or universities); “a * saved is a * earned”
  • Use OR to search for one word or the other.  Useful for synonyms. 
    • For example, attorneys OR lawyers
  • Use site: to search within a site or domain (no space after colon).
    • For example, “global warming” site:nytimes.com; climatology site:.gov
  • Use a dash to exclude a word or phrase from a search. 
    •  For example, cougar speed –car; “global warming” –site:wikipedia.org
  • Use allintitle: to show results with word(s) in the title (no space after colon).
    • For example, allintitle:“global warming”
      • You can also use allinurl to find websites with words in the URL.
  • Use related: to search for sites similar to ones you know (no space after colon).
    • For example, related:nbc.com
  • Use link: to find sites linked to a particular web page (no space after colon).
    • For example, link:freelancestar.com; link:pbs.org
  •  Use filetype: to restrict results to certain file type (no space after colon).
    • For example, climatology filetype:pdf
  • Use two periods without spaces to search for a number range, such as dates, prices, and measurements.
    • For example, “test scores” 2013..2014; microwaves $100..$300