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USP 173GS - History/Urban Planning & Design (Summer 2018): Find Websites

Websites as Research Resources

Websites are a bit trickier than other types of sources when you're doing academic research. With books, journals, newspapers and other types of databases that the Library pays for, you can use those resources knowing that a professional librarian has vetted them and found them to meet some generally-accepted research standards. Websites, on the other hand, can be created by virtually anyone and go through no formal process to identify them as acceptable resources. When using websites in your research, you should carefully consider their accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and usability.

City Websites

Links to official city websites are below. You might also want to search for tourism-related websites for your city, which may provide additional and/or historical information.

Note that  some of these websites may not have English translations available. You may have some luck translating text with online resources such as Google Translate.

Searching for Websites from Specific Countries

You may wish to try searching for websites that originate from the country you're researching, rather than searching the entire open internet. You can do this by adding the relevant country code. If you add  to your search, for example, you will only get results from German websites. Check out the full list of country codes, or ...

Brazil  -- .br | France --  .fr | Germany --  .de | Israel -- .il

Digitized Collections

Many libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions are continuously working to digitize texts, audio & video files, maps, images, and other material to make them widely available via the Internet. 

Because copyright law may limit the ability to digitize more "recent" material, these digital collections are especially useful for historical material. They also generally have many government publications, which are not protected by copyright and may therefore include very recent information.

The largest of these projects are linked here; browse their collections or try a keyword search and you may be surprised by what you find!


Google Search Tips

Try adding "libguide" to your search to find research guides created by other librarians.

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase.  “urban design”

Use OR (capitalized) to search for sites that may use one word instead of another. Without the OR, the search defaults to AND and finds only sites that include both terms.   buildings OR architecture | transportation OR roads

Use quotes and OR to search for either of multiple phrases.  "land use" OR "built environment"

Add a dash (-) before a word to exclude results that include that word; can also be used before a site to exclude results from a specific website or domain. This is especially useful for words with multiple meanings, like green the color and green the environmental term.     green buildings -paint 

Use site: to limit your search to a specific website or domain. “general plan” (this will return hits only from the San Diego government website)  |  “general plan” (this will return hits from any .gov domain)

Use parentheses to combine and search for similar terms.  (buildings OR architecture) (monumental OR iconic)

Use filetype: to limit your search to a specific type of document. "history of chicago" filetype:pdf    (this will only find .pdf files; other filetype choices include html, ppt, and doc; note that you can also exclude certain filetypes by using the dash before the word filetype)

Combine two or more of these for power searching.   “(green OR sustainable) (buildings OR architecture)"  -“new york” ( OR OR filetype:pdf