Wikipedia may be one of the most popular sources of knowledge on the web, but it's by no means the best, nor is it the most reliable. Check these sites out for some superior searching:

1. When seeking general information, a search engine such as Google can overwhelm you with unhelpful links. Often an online encyclopaedia such as Encarta or Encyclopaedia Britannica will return relevant results more quickly. Both sites have limited free content.

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2. Academic types looking for extra help with their studies should consider two useful Google add-ons: Scholar and Books, which allow you to search a range of journals and books. Some copyrighted material has to be paid for, while other content is available for free.

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3. Google may be the world’s biggest search engine, but serious scholars go to the British Library and its extensive resources – 13,000 million books, nearly a million journals and newspapers and a huge collection of artefacts. The library’s site has information on these, along with resources for students.

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4. NHS Direct provides a useful self-help health guide. If you click on ‘A-Z index’ you’ll be presented with an alphabetical list of symptoms. Alternatively, select the ‘Body key’ link to read information on various parts of the body and the problems that can afflict them.

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5. NHS Direct’s simple approach to medical information will be suitable for most users but, for more detailed medical research, PubMed is an invaluable resource. Part of an international archive, it provides free access to searchable medical journals and papers.

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6. Although it’s heavily US-focused, the Library of Congress is a superb starting point for anyone engaged in research from school to university level. Of particular note is the Virtual Reference Shelf, which provides annotated links to hundreds of online resources.

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See also:

How to search more effectively with Google

How to use Google Notebook