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Searching the web Print

ImageThink about the following questions when planning to research any topic

  • What do I need to find out?
  • What do I already know?
  • How should I start?

Think about possible search terms/ key words. There are so many internet pages that finding what you want can be difficult. Most searches result in hundreds of “hits”, and people generally only skim the first few sites before loosing interest. It is therefore essential that the site you require appears on the first page of “hits”.

Search in three ways:
  • Use simple search engine http://www.google.co.uk/is the favourite, others are http://www.lycos.com/and http://www.altavista.com/Search engines search a data base for words you have entered in your query. This method is good for finding a specific piece of information. If you know exactly what you want, a search engine can take you to it. The drawback is that if your keyword isn't exact, you will get thousands of irrelevant “hits”.
  • Subject directory . These are good for researching a general question. Information is organised into subjects, and you can refine your search by clicking on a subject, then clicking a sub-category, then another, until you have defined what it is you require. http://www.yahoo.com/or http://uk.yahoo.com/are good examples. http://www.kidsclick.org/is a web search by librarians for kids, although it is US biased.
Virtual libraries
Websites offering advice for searching on the internet
Websites offering answers to specific e-mailed questions
Evaluating a website
  • Look for date of publication
  • Is there any information about the author of the page which indicates its reliability?
  • Is the author a recognised authority on the subject?
  • Why was the page published? Is there a commercial gain?
  • Is the site content pitched at a level you can understand?
  • Is the site easy to negotiate?

There are no controls over the accuracy of material published on the World Wide Web http://www.quick.org.uk/is a quality information checklist.