Bioinformatics: Web Sites

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Genetics & Genomics

Molecular Biology

Evaluating Websites

Depending on the purpose of your paper and your professor's guidelines, you may use online web sources. By applying these five criteria you can decide if they are appropriate to use. Ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Authority
Is the document author or site sponsor clearly identified?
Does the site provide contact information for the author or sponsor?

2.  Objectivity or clear disclosure of advocacy
Is the site's purpose clear (for example, to inform, entertain or persuade)
Is the site explicit about declaring its point of view?
Does the site indicate whether it is directed toward a specific audience?

3.  Coverage
Are the topics covered by the site clear?
Does the site exhibit a suitable depth and comprehensiveness for its purpose?
Is sufficient evidence provides to support the ideas and options presented?

4.  Accuracy
Are the sources of information stated?
Do the facts appear to be accurate?
Can you verify this information by comparing this source with other sources in the field?

5.  Currency
Are the dates included in the website?
Is the information current, or at least still relevant for the site's purpose? For you purpose?

Criteria list taken in whole from: Ramage, Bean and Johnson. The Allyn and Becon Guide to Writing. 5th Ed. customized for Marquette University. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009: 602.

Bioinformatics & Computational Biology


Internet Search Tips

Try these to get more specific or broader results

Wild Card

•  Use a * to include forms or variants of words in your search
•  Example: type test* to search for test, testing, tests

Adding a ~

•  Adding a tilde (~) to your search term will return related terms.
•  Example: ~nutrition will search also nutrition, food and health

Adding a -

•  Adding a negative (-) to your search term will take away that term in your search.
•  Example: Pets -cats will not find web sites that focus upon cats as pets.

Phrase Search

•  By inserting quotes around an exact phrase, you will search only the words you type in, in that exact order with no words in between term.
•  Example: "consumer product chemistry"

Boolean Operators

•  Using AND, OR, NOT can broaden or narrow a search depending on your inquiry. "AND" will give you results that contain both words. "OR" will give results about either word and "NOT" will not search the term preceding.
•  Example: Summer AND Flower, Summer OR Flower, Summer NOT flower

Google Tips & Tricks

  1. Use the Advanced feature of Google to be more specific in your search
  2. Type "intitle:" to search only page titles.. Try intitle:digital divide (no space!)
  3. Type "inurl:" to search only the web address of a page. Try inurl:raynor
  4. Type "related:" to find pages that Google thinks are related in content. Try
  5. Type "search tips site:" to specify a site to search within. Try search tips international shipping
  6. Access Google Directory at
  7. Type "site:" to return results from a specific domain. Try library
  8. Type "intext" in Google News to pull terms from the body of the story
  9. Type "define:" to access the built-in dictionary
  10. No Calculator handy? Type 12*78 and hitting search will give you the answer
  11. The calculator also converts measurements and currency.  Try 200 pounds in euros
  12. Type weather and a location or zipcode to get a four day forecast.
  13. Include a  zipcode in your search for local results. Try subs 53233
  14. Type time and a name of place to find the time anywhere in the world
  15. Enter a statistics-based query like "population of Britain" and it will show you the answer on top of the results
  16. You can search foreign sites by clicking "language tools" on the right of the search box which allows you to choose what countries sites to translate your query to.