Searching the Internet
So, now you can tell an IP address from the Gettysburg Address, lets give ya some guidelines on getting around the net. On this page, we will be covering networks (briefly) and search engines.
First, you will most likely want to search for things from around the world, and not just in a school, home or office. There are little bitty networks which are only in one building or organization. These are called intranet. An intranet allows you to share info between two or more computers without connecting to the world. This can also be called a LAN, or Local Area Network. Accessing intranet resources is done the same way you access the internet, or the global network.
When many novices access the internet for the first time, they get a little overwhelmed with the info. Additionally, most don't know how to look things up effectively. It is a VERY bad habit to just type in what you want and add ".com" afterwards. There is no guarantee you'll get what you're looking for, you may get more than you've bargained for, and it's a lousy way to research.
For example, if a student were assigned to do a report on fish, and they typed www.fish.com into the address bar, they might get a page that has nothing to do with fish at all. It's best to NEVER type in random words with a .com ending.
Instead, use a Search Engine. A search engine is like having a librarian as your personal slave. You tell it what you're looking for and it brings you oodles of information. Also, it gives you a short description of what the page is about. This description is very useful. ALWAYS read it before you click on the link.
There are many good search engines on the internet, and some lousy ones. Here are a list of several:
These aren't nearly all the search engines that exist. These are just a few that were either highly recommended or ones I've used successfully. Some are sites that other people like, but if I don't I included my "not recommended" afterwards. But hey, it's a free country.
- Google (the best)
- MSN (distracting)
- AOL (not recommended)
- Excite (not recommended)
- Netscape (distracting)
- Overture (formerly goto.com)
Some students have asked why I haven't included Ask Jeeves as a decent website. Frankly, I hate it. It's not great at getting good information. It has limited returns and most of those aren't that great. Besides, I think Jeeves makes a profit on how many ads he sells. Stick to a site that doesn't rely on a batty British butler to get your work done. I will add, however, that some students swear by him. I'll keep the next comment to myself.
Anyway, moving on, let's talk about a few rules of using the internet before we get much farther. Those will be found in the next section.