Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Using Search Tools

How big is the Web? x

  • Size of the Web: over 2 million web sites
  • Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, the world’s largest index of the Internet, estimated the size at roughly 5 million terabytes of data. That’s over 5 billion gigabytes of data, or 5 trillion megabytes. Google has indexed roughly 200 terabytes of that, or .004% of the total size.
  • Growth of the Internet
  • Internet Usage Statistics
  • History of the Internet

How do I find Web sites?

  • For known sites, follow links or type in a Web site address, also known as a Uniform Resource Locator or URL.
  • Make an educated guess about what the URL might be:
    • All Web addresses start with http://
    • Many addresses include www first
    • Use the name or acronym of the company or organization in the middle
    • Add the appropriate top level domain:
      • edu for educational sites
      • gov for US government sites
      • org for non-profit organizations
      • com for commercial sites
      • country codes for non-US sites, such as .cn for China
    • Separate each element with a period and add a slash at the end
    • Example:
      • Note: Modern browsers do not require you enter the "http://" part of web address
  • For topical searches, use a search tool.
  • Search Engines
  • Meta-Search Engines
  • Specialized Web Guides

Search Engines

Search engines allow you to search through huge indexes of Web sites created by computer programs called robots or spiders and display results according to relevance.

Use search engines to find:

  • Unique keywords or hard to find information
  • Combinations of unique key words
  • Pages buried deep in a Web site

Many search engines use the following search techniques. Check the search engine's HELP for specifics.

  • "double quotes" for phrase searching
    • ex. "lung cancer"
  • + means the word or phrase must be in your results
    • ex. +diabetes+Hispanics

–   toyota operator manual bluetooth youtube
–   pizza manchester pa
–   family doctors fort myers fl

Top Three Search Engines

Meta-Search Engines

Meta-search engines allow you to send searches to more than one search engine at a time.

Specialized Web Guides

Specialized Web guides are comprehensive directories to Web sites on a particular topic.


Tips and Strategies

Use the built in search window in your browser.

  • Mozilla Firefox
    • Search box is located at the upper right corner of the browser
    • Type in your search term.
      • Hit enter key or
      • At the right side of search box click the search icon
    • To choose the search engine to use for the current search, change default search or add new search provider.
      • Click the icon at the left side of search box.
        • Select a search engine or
        • Manage search engine and click "Get more search engines"

Choose your browser's starting page so it contains links to relevant Web sites.

To change your starting page:

  • Mozilla Firefox
    • Navigate the web site you want as start page.
    • Click Tools > Options> At the General Tab > Click "Choose Current Page" button
  • Internet Explorer
    • Navigate the web site you want as start page.
    • Tools > Internet Options > General Tab > Click "Choose Current" button
  • Create Favorites/Bookmarks and organize them into folders.
  • Look for a Specialized Web Guide to your topic on HealthLinks or Yahoo.
    • Google Directory  Search the web, organized by topic or category
    • Web Search Features Find movies, music, stocks, books and more
    • Books  Search the full text of books
    • Finance Business info, news and interactive charts
    • Images Search for images on the web
    • News Search thousands of news stories
    • Google Realtime Get live updates from popular social sites, news sources, and blogs
    • Scholar Search scholarly papers
  • Know when not to search. Not all useful information is available for free, especially journal articles and some statistical information.
  • If you need…
    • A few good hits fast?
      • Try a metasearch engine such as DogPile. Or Google returns important, relevant hits quickly.
      • The top level site for an organization, government agency, or university?
    • Information about current events?
      • Use Google to find a news site such as CNN.
    • An answer to a common question?
  • Pick two tools and learn them well! Read the online help to learn each tool's unique search tricks and check often for new features.
  • Ask a librarian.

Problems with Web Sites

  • Almost anyone can publish on the Web.
  • It's often difficult to determine the author of a site.
  • There's a lack of basic quality standards.
  • Most information is unfiltered.
  • The Web often functions as a soapbox.
  • Users face the "garbage in, gospel out" phenomenon.
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