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How to search: Home

This guide will show you how to search in the different Unisa Library resources to find relevant information for your research needs

Request a Literature Search

Need sources for your literature review? Struggling to find sources for your assignment, research proposal or thesis?

The Library can assist with a literature search, which is a systematic and comprehensive search for published, academic material on your specific subject/topic. How do you request one? Simply go to Request a literature search .

If you are experiencing problems accessing the form, please use this link

Library Support

A word about copyright

In accordance with the Unisa Policy for Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism, you are personally accountable for respecting copyright and licensing requirements. Violations of any of these restrictions could result not only in the loss of your own access to the information resources, but in the loss of access for the entire Unisa community. Disciplinary action may also be taken in terms of any applicable policy or disciplinary code, for example, the Unisa Student Disciplinary Code.

Be conscientious about copyright. 

How to search for information in the Unisa Library (the basics)

Welcome to the Unisa Library's Guide to Searching!

If you are not sure how to search for a book or an article on your assignment or research topic, this is the Guide for you.

Follow the tabs at the top (Start here, Search the Library's electronic resources, Search Google Scholar, Search Google) to learn the basics of searching for information in your Library's resources.


The biasness of search engines

Search engines have become our most trusted sources of information and arbiters of truth. But can we ever get an unbiased search result? Swedish author and journalist Andreas Ekström argues that such a thing is a philosophical impossibility. In this thoughtful talk, he calls on us to strengthen the bonds between technology and the humanities, and he reminds us that behind every algorithm is a set of personal beliefs that no code can ever completely eradicate.

Scholarly articles on Search Engine Bias

Measuring search engine bias /

Original Research Article / Information Processing & Management, Volume 41, Issue 5, September 2005, Pages 1193-1205 / Abbe Mowshowitz, Akira Kawaguchi

This paper examines a real-time measure of bias in Web search engines. The measure captures the degree to which the distribution of URLs, retrieved in response to a query, deviates from an ideal or fair distribution for that query. This ideal is approximated by the distribution produced by a collection of search engines. Differences between bias and classical retrieval measures are highlighted by examining the possibilities for bias in four extreme cases of recall and precision. The results of experiments examining the influence on bias measurement of subject domains, search engines, and search terms are presented. Three general conclusions are drawn: (1) the performance of search engines can be distinguished with the aid of the bias measure; (2) bias values depend on the subject matter under consideration; (3) choice of search terms does not account for much of the variance in bias values. These conclusions underscore the need to develop “bias profiles” for search engines.





In Google we trust? /

Original Research Article / International Journal of Industrial Organization, Volume 39, March 2015, Pages 44-55 / Roberto Burguet, Ramon Caminal, Matthew Ellman

We examine the incentives of a monopolistic search engine, funded by advertising, to provide reliable search results. We distinguish two types of search results: sponsored and organic (not-paid-for). Organic results are most important in searches for online content, while sponsored results are more important in product searches. By modeling the underlying markets for online content and offline products, we can identify the sources of distortions for each type of result, and their interaction. This explicit treatment proves crucial for understanding, not only spillovers across markets, but also fundamental policy issues, such as the welfare effects of integration. In particular, integration of the engine with a small fraction of content providers is welfare-enhancing when incentives to distort are stronger for sponsored than organic search, but welfare-reducing in the opposite case.


Can't find something?

If you cannot find a book or article in our own collections, fill out an Interlibrary Loan request (for books or articles). We will do our best to get it for you as fast as possible!

The items you request will be sent to the Unisa Library (Muckleneuk, Pretoria) and you will be notified by an email and a telephone call from the Interlibrary Loans section to let you know your interlibrary loan request has arrived. Depending on the method of delivery you requested, the item may be collected from the Lending Counter of the Muckleneuk Library or posted to you.

Click here for more information on Interlibrary Loans.