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Internet Guides

We are convinced that the web contains many resources that significantly improve the efforts of researchers and clergypersons to learn about religious happenings and research on religion. That is one of the main reasons we created this web site.  

However, with the addition of thousands of new pages each week from every imaginable source, the web can be a confusing place to look for trustworthy resources.  We offer the following information to assist in the search, assessment, and understanding of web sites.  

An introduction to the web

Searching the web

What are favorites and bookmarks?

Evaluating the content of web sites

Glossary of Internet Terms



Information and the access to it has always played a vital role in the progression of humanity. The sharing of information has toppled tyrants and freed slaves. Throughout history many battles have been fought through the use of, or withholding of information. Although it may sound trite, knowledge, and indeed information, are power.

From the onset of humanity, people began to develop the means of communicating what they knew, what they saw and what they learned to others. Cave, paintings, oral histories, primitive forms of writing; all methods of leaving a record of knowledge. It is no surprise that many of the earliest writings were religious in nature. With the mass production of manuscripts came still greater access to information. The impact of the printing press, and the Gutenberg Bible cannot be understated. For the first time, literate people could actually afford to own, read and study their own Bible, thus freeing them from the constraints imposed, even if inadvertently, by others. Newspapers, radios, televisions, and satellites each introduced by a new era of technology, brought about faster and more complete access to information. Now, there is the Internet.

From the original concept in the 60’s through research in Britain, Washington and California, the Internet has grown from a network for institutional communication into a vital source of information. First limited to text transmission and postings, it has evolved into a multimedia marvel. It is still amazing to consider that the World Wide Web, first designed to share information between a small group of physicists, did not exist prior to 1991.bar

The Internet has encompassed the best features of previous information technology breakthroughs. While this author would never give up libraries, the availability of research information archived online provides many of the same functions. The speed with which news is disbursed rivals newspapers, television and radio. Finally, the fact that messages, whether written or oral, can be sent instantly rival the telephone. Combining all of these assets makes the Internet and World Wide Web an incredible tool.

Today the Internet is being used for a myriad of purposes. People of all ages, races, religions, and social groups use it to communicate with one another, to shop, work and play. Any group or individual with enough bandwidth and something to say can make a web page, thus creating their very own space in the online world.

The purpose of this guide is to provide the basic tools necessary to begin taking advantage of the resources available online. Imagine not knowing what channels were available on the radio, having no television guide, no index or familiarity with a newspaper or no card catalog in a library to work with. With enough hunting, trial and error one might find what he was looking for, but there are easier, more efficient means available. The online world is much the same. Hopefully this guide can assist the novice online user as he or she becomes familiar with the Internet and World Wide Web, or perchance aid the more experienced user in a few areas as well.

From cave drawings to the mass transfer of data packets, the evolution of information has opened many doors. No one knows what the future holds, but the progress made online in the past forty years indicates that humanity’s progress in this field is no more limited than its dreams and its spirit.


Searching the web
You may use the following search engines to locate information.  Each engine is an effective web surfing tool but each supports a different method of searching.  It may be helpful to use a few different sites before concluding your search as each engine might obtain varied results.

The Wabash Center has published a good introduction to searching on the web which can be found at: www.wabashcenter.wabash.edu/Internet/search.htm

They also have an excellent collection of many different religion search sites at:


What are favorites and bookmarks?
While you are researching on the web, you may come across sites that you want to be sure to revisit.  How can you be sure that you will see the site again without having to write down the web address?  By using what is called a "favorite" or "bookmark."   (read more...)


Evaluating the content of web sites
It is not always easy to determine the validity or authenticity of information you uncover in web pages.  We will soon have several suggestions about the ways in which we go about evaluating the reliability of the information we find on web sites.  Until then we offer links to several excellent guides written by various University research librarians.

How to Critically Analyze Information Sources  by Cornell University Library

Thinking Critically about WWW Resources by UCLA Library 

Evaluating Web Resources: Links to sites

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly:  or, Why it's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources from New Mexico State University


Glossary of Internet Terms
Navigating the 'Net can be even more difficult if you do not understand all the terminology that is often used on websites.  This glossary offers a list of common used words and a simplified definition of its meaning.  (read more...)





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