How to Find Anything on The Internet (Part 1)

How to Find Anything on The Internet (Part 1)

Reprinted from Roadmaster Directory
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Millions of people are accessing the Internet, and at least half of them put up "home pages" and websites, as well as information files. That being the case, you'd think that the Internet would be a veritable encyclopedia, and you'd be right. However, there's one small problem...

The Internet is somewhat of a chaotic mess.

This can wreak havoc on the inexperienced Net surfer who needs information and needs it now. However, if you know the secrets, you can get around pretty well on the Internet, with the bonus of being able to find the information you want, when you want it.

Website Search Databases

The first stop on your information-gathering expedition should be a search database. These are like the cardfiles (or, more likely, the computer terminals) at your local library, and contain the URL's, or addresses, of thousands of websites. You can search for websites simply by entering a word or words pertaining to the information you want to find.

For example, suppose I'm writing a magazine article on the deforestation of South America, and I'd like to see what information I can find on that subject on the Internet. My first stop would be the most often used (and, arguably, the most comprehensive) search database, Yahoo. You can access Yahoo by typing this URL into your web browser: http://www.yahoo.com Yahoo is very simple to use. When you access this website, you will be presented with a box to type your search words in, and a clickable button which will start the search. In this example, I might type "deforestation" into the box and would then click the button. In a few seconds, I will be presented with every record in the Yahoo database that contains the word "deforestation," whether or not it deals with South America (since I didn't specify South America in the search box).

At this point, I can manually look through the entries for the ones I want to investigate further, or I can do a new search (by typing "deforestation South America" in the search box) to weed out the records I don't want. If I see a record I want to investigate, I can click on the record, and I will be transported to that website. It couldn't be easier!

A few guidelines to keep in mind while using search databases:

>Be as specific as possible in your search criteria, or you will be presented with a ton of records to look through.

>No search database contains every reference to a particular subject. In most cases, the only way a database will have a record on a particular website is if someone specifically submitted information to the database. So, it pays to search more than one database, if you want more information.

>Be careful with the words you search by. Some databases will look only for records that contain all the words you typed in, some will look for any record that contains one or more of the words you type in. In the example above, if I used a database that uses the latter method, I would receive all the records that contain "south" and "america" anywhere in their description. This would be a ridiculously long list!

Here's a list of the most commonly used search databases, and their URL's:
LYCOS: http://www.lycos.com/
YAHOO: http://www.yahoo.com
GOOGLE: http://www.google.com
MSN: http://www.msn.com
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