1 2.2 The Open Web

The open web is comprised of everything you can access online without logging in or paying fees. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web as a means for researchers to easily share information. He wanted the web to be available to everyone and not controlled by corporations, which is one reason why we see such a wide variety of content online today.

On one end of the open web spectrum, you can find someone’s personal website dedicated to their cat. On the other end of the spectrum, you can find high-quality and reliable research material.

The open web is full of websites that may or may not be reputable. Popular search engines like Google retrieve results from the open web regardless of quality or credibility, so you need to critically evaluate all the sources you find. Although you can find scholarly information through the open web, much of it is either not available without a subscription or is difficult to separate from unreliable websites.


LIB 160: Information Literacy Copyright © 2019 by Iowa State University Library Instruction Services. All Rights Reserved.

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