Searching the World Wide Web

(From a Minuteman Library Network Internet Guide)

There are three main ways to find what you're looking for on the World Wide Web:
  • Connect directly to a Web Site by typing in a URL
  • Search for a specific word or phrase using a Search Engine
  • Search by a category using a Directory

By URL

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, but is commonly called a web address. If you have an address, you can go directly to that site by typing it in the area designated on the Browser. For example, www.edmund.com brings you to the home page of the Edmund's Automobile Buyer's Guide. A site that contains useful information on purchasing a new or used car.

Using A Search Engine

Search Engines are software programs that look for keywords throughout the Web and show you a list of every site that mentions that keyword. Search Engines differ in how much of the Web they search and the ways they allow you to search. In using Search Engines, you will get the best results by using unique words and proper names. For example, by using the Search Engine Excite and using the words "Chevrolet Lumina", your results will include a number of websites with information about that model, including the Edmund's Automobile Buyer's Guide (www.edmund.com). There are many search engines available, all differing slightly in their methods of use. Some of the more comprehensive and useful include:

  • Google (www.google.com)
  • Alta Vista (www.altavista.com)
  • Excite (www.excite.com)
  • Lycos (www.lycos.com)
There are also "meta-search" engines that search web sites through multiple search engines. They include:
  • Metacrawler (www.metacrawler.com)
  • Profusion (www.profusion.com)

Using A Directory

Part of the fun of using the World Wide Web is "surfing" for information and entertainment. This term refers to browsing the Web in the same way you might browse the book stacks in a selected area to find something of interest. The Internet can be browsed most successfully by the use of Subject Directories. Directories are selected and compiled for their accuracy and usefulness. Web sites are arranged into specific subject categories such as "Entertainment", "History", "Health", and so on. There many directories available. Two useful directories are:

  • The Minuteman Library Network's Useful Internet Resources (www.mln.lib.ma.us)
  • Yahoo (www.yahoo.com), Yahoo allows you to do keyword searches within the sites they've selected
For example, you can browse the Minuteman Library Network Useful Internet resources Directory for that new car information on the Chevrolet Lumina. From the Directory, choose the "Consumer Issues" subject. From there, you can further choose "Cars" and then link directly to the Edmund's Automobile Buyer's Guide (www.edmund.com).

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