Beginner's Internet Class
Class Five - Introduction to Searching
Reminder
Basics
Sample Search
More Search Engines

Reminder

Remember, when you want to find information, learn about something, or read something on the Internet, there are basically three ways you can get to the information.

Basics

There is basic searching and advanced searching. Today we will cover basic searching.

There are many search engines available - today let's use Google (http://www.google.com). Links to more search engines can be found at the bottom of this page.

Google is an index to the Internet. That means that it is basically like the index of a book or a library catalog. You can use it to get at the rest of the information. Google does not contain the Internet - it is only a searchable index of the Internet.

We may be looking for the answer to a simple question, or perhaps we are looking for the address of a person or business. We may be looking for a picture or a song, or maybe we want to learn a language or take an online course. Whatever the case is, we can use a search engine to get us there.

Sample Search

Ok, let's start with a simple search. Why is the sky blue? Let's go to Google and try that search. (It might be a good idea to open up a second window and do the search there. That way you can have these instructions up at the same time.) Type in the question exactly as it is - "why is the sky blue" - into the search box and then click on the button for "Google Search". You do not need to type the question mark (?) or CAPITALIZE anything.

When you are done and have found the answer, come BACK here, and continue below.


Now we will look at some of the "hits" or results we received from Google for this question. A hit is a website or address that is listed after we do a search. Let's look at two different ones. (The Internet does not stay the same - it grows every day. The day I did this search, these were the top sites, but they may not be the top two when you do your search).


Why is the sky Blue?
... Original by Philip Gibbs 22-May-1997. Why is the
sky blue? A clear cloudless day-time ...
math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/blue_sky.html - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

Why is the sky blue?
Why is the sky blue ? ... Why is the sky blue? Why is the ocean blue? Why
are sunsets red? Why are clouds white? Why is Mars red? ...
Description: Answers questions such as why the sky is blue and why sunsets are red. Includes quizzes to test understan...
Category: Kids and Teens > School Time > Science > Earth Science
www.why-is-the-sky-blue.org/ - 3k - Cached - Similar pages


Each of the search engines lays out their results a little different. The following information is specific for Google, but it may also apply to other search engines.

The first thing in each result is the "title" of the page. This is information which the author has entered as a title. For example, the title of this page is "Class Five - Intro to Searching". You will usually see the title of the page in the top bar of the web browser. The title of both webpages above is "Why is the sky Blue?". The title is usually a link to the actual page.

The next piece of information is usually the first few lines of text from within that page or the text which specifically contains the words you searched for. Sometimes, authors give their web page a short description, as we see in the second result above. It also may be included in a category of websites, if the search engine provides category listings as well.

Finally, the result lists the actual URL of the page, and this is a link just like the title link. If you are interested finding out what the rest of the results page means, see this page for more info: http://www.google.com/help/interpret.html.

To learn more about how Google works and to learn some tips for better searching, go to this "Help File" on Google: http://www.google.com/help/.


More Resources

Search Engine Name
URL
Search Help File
Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/ysearch/
AltaVista http://www.altavista.com/ http://www.altavista.com/sites/help
Excite http://www.excite.com/ http://www.excite.com/info/search_help/general_search_tips/
iWon http://www.iwon.com/ http://www.iwon.com/home/search/search_tips/
HotBot http://www.hotbot.com http://hotbot.lycos.com/help/
DMOZ http://dmoz.org/ http://dmoz.org/searchguide.html
Netscape Search http://search.netscape.com/ http://home.netscape.com/escapes/search/tips_0.html

Page Last Modified : June 9, 2001

May be freely copied and used for all educational purposes.