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Section: What is available on the WWW?

Public versus Subscription Content

Who can search for and view content?

Publicly accessible content can be searched and viewed by anyone with access to a computer with a browser and a connection to the internet.

Subscription accessible content can only be viewed by individuals who have subscriptions with the various content providers.  Through your affiliation with York University, you have access to many subscription-based  services.  The York University Libraries website provides information on accessing these services.

How is it searched?

Publicly accessible content is often found with a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Ask Jeeves.  Or it is linked to by websites that you regularly view or through word of mouth.

Subscription accessible content is usually accessed through a log-in screen or through an institutional website that has given you permission to access subscription services.

Who can place content here?

Anyone with a computer, an internet connection, and a bit of technical know-how can place content on the publicly accessible WWW.  This freedom allows a great variety of content to reside here but can create problems for quality control.

Only an authorized institution, scholarly society or publisher can add content to the subscription accessible WWW.  These restrictions place limits on the type of material you will find here, but also provides an initial filter for the quality of content.

How is it organized?

The publicly accessible WWW has very little organization.  When you search it using a search engine, you are looking for your search words to appear somewhere in the title, description or content of an individual page.  It can be very difficult to control a search to get only the type of content you need.

Content on the subscription accessible WWW is often highly organized, much like most materials in the Library.  Depending on the type of resource, there may be many different ways to perform a search and often you can control your search to get exactly the type of content you need.


Question: What is a potential problem with using publicly accessible content on the WWW for scholarly research? [select the best answer]


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