The Internet can be an incredible research tool, if you use it with care. The Internet has often been compared to a giant library -- but it's much closer to a giant warehouse. When using the numerous subject guides and search engines you have at your disposal, it is important to recognize the qualitative differences between them.
There are two excellent Web sites with information on public health issues and current outbreaks of viral and bacterial diseases. These are the Web sites of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control . Also recommended is the FDA/CFSAN Bad Bug Book: Introduction to Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins. This is an extremely helpful guide created by the Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition.
Search engines utilize programs called robots or spiders to create huge indexes consisting of millions of Web pages. An example or a popular, heavily used search engine is Google. Google at present maintain the largest index of any search engine, allowing users to retrieve information from over three billion Web pages. To make your findings more exact, it is highly recommended that you use Google's Advanced Search feature. Here you may restrict your findings by domain name (.edu, .com, .gov), file format and exact date of creation.
There also exist general subject guides that have been created by subject experts such as researchers and college professors. Infomine , the creation of the University of California, is an example of an academic subject guide. Like commercial guides, the information on Infomine is organized into categories and subcategories. For example, if you select Biological, Agricultural & Medical Resources, you will be directed to a page from which you can either browse the subject guide or search for a topic. Everything you find on Infomine will either have been created or selected by a subject expert, usually a college professor.
To learn about how to properly cite the information found in both print and electronic resources, please see APA research guides.