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Nursing - Information Literacy

Websites and Meta Sites

The World Wide Web is not organized according to any scheme (although the information contained in any individual site may be an organized database, such as MEDLINE or your library's catalog). As you saw in Lesson 2 and 3, you might search a specialized biomedical database such as Medline/PubMed, or a database of psychology literature, such as PsycINFO.

No one organization owns, monitors, or controls the Internet. As a result, finding information can be challenging and requires combining search strategies.There are several ways to explore the Web. Sometimes you know the URL (uniform resource locator), much like you'd memorize someone's phone number, and you can locate a site directly.

Often a Web site will provide a collection of preselected links in a category, also known as a "meta site." Meta sites are an excellent starting point for beginning searchers. For example:

  • Essential Nursing Resources: published biennially by the Interagency Council on Information Resources in Nursing (ICIRN), this list includes print, electronic, and web sources to support nursing practice, education, administration, and research activities.

From a website or meta site one can link to related sites ("surf"), but the web is not arranged in a linear way, and this can be a very inefficient way to search for specific information.