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Searching for information


The resources on this this page introduce the basic principles of searching, which apply whether you are searching databases, library catalogues or the Web.

Being digital activities

Choosing good keywords (5 minutes)
How to focus your search using targeted keywords.
Explore library resouces (10 minutes)
A collection of short videos introducing you to the rich variety of online resources provided by OU Library Services. Choose the subject you are interested in. Transcripts are available.
Filtering information quickly (10 minutes)
Strategies for fast filtering of results when searching the web.
Finding hidden information online (10 minutes)
Strategies for fast filtering of results when searching the web.
Keeping up-to-date using blogs (10 minutes)
How to find reliable blogs that will help you to keep up-to-date with your specialist interests.
Keeping up-to-date using online networking (10 minutes)
Learn how online networks can help you keep up-to-date and how to choose an appropriate network for your needs.
Keeping up-to-date using RSS (10 minutes)
RSS makes it easier and quicker to keep up-to-date with the latest news, articles and blogs.
Making the most of Twitter (10 minutes)
How to make the most of Twitter for your purposes.
Search slips and tips (10 minutes)
Avoid the pitfalls of searching for information online, and conduct more efficient searches.
Social networking: is it for me? (10 minutes)
Decide if social networking is for you, and select the most approriate networking site.
Target your Google search (10 minutes)
Find relevant information quickly using Google's advanced search options.

Library activities (requires an OUCU)

Searching academic databases (Level 1: 30 minutes)
This activity uses Academic Search Complete to introduce the principles of searching; from choosing good keywords to saving articles from your searches.
Planning a search (Level 1: 30 minutes)
Introduces the basic steps involved in planning an effective search; from choosing good keywords to adapting search terms and searching databases.
Introduction to searching Google (Level 1: 30 minutes)
This activity gives you an overview of what happens when you search the web using a search engine. It also introduces you to some basic principles of effective searching using Google
Finding images and copyright (Level 2: 1 hour)
How to find and use images ethically and legally for your academic studies.
Citation searching (Level 3: 30 minutes)
Citation searching allows you to follow links to the research that academic authors themselves have used to write their articles.

Further activities

RSS in plain English (3 minutes)
Short video by Commoncraft. Find out how you can use RSS to save time by having information come to you.
Finding information for your assignment (1 hour)
Guidance on the key steps in finding information for your assignment.

Original Safari content

If you would like to access the original Safari content, please download the PDF below. Please note that this is archive material, and may not be up-to-date.
Original Safari content: Searching for information