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Have you ever tried to find something on the Internet, only to get hopelessly lost, sorting through dozens of articles that have nothing to do with what you are looking for? If you have -- or if you're searching the Web for the first time -- then this guide is for you.
Finding information on the Internet is not always as easy as typing a few words into a Google or Yahoo! search box. To get really good at it, you need to learn a few tricks.
The first step to finding anything on the Web is figuring out what you are looking for. Start by writing down the word for the subject. For example, if you are looking for information on the Northwest Rebellion, the subject is History. Specifically, it is Canadian History.
Next, write down other words and names that might help you narrow the search. How long this list is will depend on how much you know before you start. Here are two examples:
Next, you need to understand what kinds of tools there are on the Web, and which one you should start with. There are 5 main kinds of tools (full descriptions are below):
A simple rule of thumb is as follows:
Using the "women pioneers" example, it would be better to start with a subject directory. The directory will lead you through subject headings, to more subject headings, and eventually down to websites picked and organized by people who have already seen the site.
Using the "Northwest Rebellion" example, you could probably start with a search engine. This would introduce you to a number of sites. From there, you could look for other resources.
This does not mean that you should only use one kind of search tool. Below is a list of tools you can use to help find information on the Internet, with notes about how they work and when and how to use them.
Note: Whichever you choose, it is very important that you read the "Help" or "Advanced" pages of the search engines or directories, to learn how they are best used.
Use key words to search the full text of Web pages selected by computer programs called "spiders".
Specialized sites with selected links on a subject
Search engines can only identify a small percentage of the pages on the Web. Indeed, some of the best and most reliable information is locked away -- in databases that these engines cannot explore.
Search Engine Report: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/index.php
Search Engine Watch: http://searchenginewatch.com/
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