Document 6511850


Document 6511850
How to …
Surf the Internet
The Internet is made up from a vast collection of interconnected computers called ‘Servers’.
Each of these Servers contains many thousands, millions even, of pages of information, pictures,
drawings and diagrams.
With such a vast store of information it should be easy to retrieve and information stored on the
servers. At least it would be if the information was indexed. Unfortunately this is not the case.
There is no definitive index to the content on the internet.
Realising this situation existed, many companies began to construct programs that would
automatically trawl through the entire internet, cataloguing and indexing the content they found.
This content was indexed and stored in such a way that content could be searched for.
For many, Google is the definitive search source for the internet. In fact the word "Google" was
added to the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15th, 2006. In their definition, it has a capital
"G" and never a lower-case "g." It always refers to searching for information using the Google
search engine, which was named in 1998. There are however many more providers of this
search facility:
Description (
Search engine and directory from AOL. Used to be NetFind. Features
regional search. Fast.
An all-time great, superfast. Has news service from ABC; a translation service
and incorporates Looksmart directories.
Make queries using plain English. "Uses sophisticated natural language
processing to understand and match users' questions to an extensive
knowledge base." Often throws up links you'd never thought of looking for.
Has been licensed by many other services.
North American yellow pages.
Fast meta-searcher, returning comprehensive results from various other
search engines
Categorised search
European business directory listing
Searches based on concepts and keywords with very useful 'more of this'
feature. Good for exploratory searches. Now has a UK site. Seems that it has
also merged with/taken over the old Magellan site.
Another UK based categorised Web site searcher
indicates preference)
Description (
Formerly INFOSEEK. Search categories include news, education, business,
Good fast search engine
Fast searcher (formerly the World Wide Web Worm)
Searches the entire Web, if a site is registered, then it will be found. Fast and
comprehensive once connected.
A directory service, also integrated into AltaVista from Readers Digest. Has
UK site.
Another favourite with loads of indexed pages, including a directory of popular
A meta-search engine that sends queries to a number of search engines then
organises the responses and presents them according to relevance and
source. Quite good.
Launched in 1999, this is a search engine with a bias towards UK content
(about time!). Easy to use, very quick and has a number of unique search
indicates preference)
Gets at least
Categorised search, not bad.
A neat search engine that places your search results into folders to let you
quickly home in on your criteria. A bit slow though.
It's goal is to "goal is to produce the most comprehensive directory of the
web, by relying on a vast army of volunteer editors". Replaces NewHoo.
Often throws up links that others miss.
Seems good, haven't used it in anger yet. For the moment,
A meta-searcher, simultaneously searches and returns results from 9 internet
search engines. Users can choose which search engines to used, including
things like "fastest"; "best".
Another meta-searcher, simultaneously searches and returns results from
several internet search engines. Tells you which engine returned a result.
Part of Quite good.
Description (
A meta-search engine plus directory. Searches can be directed to "true"
search engines or to "directories" and can be customised according to
country. Can be confusing to first time user.
Directory of businesses in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and France. Much
like yellow pages.
Another good, no frills search engine, which returns quite relevant results.
A directory service, which can be personalised by users. It has a "speed"
feature that presents more information to users with high speed internet
connections. Strangely, all the UK stuff is listed under England!?!
A meta-search engine
A search tool with a difference. You enter your search criteria, and web sites
you want to monitor and it sends the results to you via email. Uses AltaVista,
Excite, InfoSeek and Lycos although you can only specify one engine per
search criterion. A neat
A search engine for locating products and company info.
indicates preference) Another meta-search system, that submits your queries to 11 search engines
including Usenet News sites. But its up to you to go into each of the
respective search sites to view the results. Saves time going to each one, but
consolidation of results would be nice.
A site catalog, with generating results quite quickly. Catagorises sites instead
of pages. However, it seems limited at the moment (still experimental Aug.
98) and results seem to return mainly commercial sites.
Directory search engine for locating UK based resources and companies
As name implies, only indexes UK sites, can be slow
News, arts, entertainment, etc. in the USA
A comprehensive categorised search facility.
Replaces the old EuroFerret. Quite fast and comprehensive.
Claims to support "natural language" queries, but turns up all kinds of weird
results. Seem to rely heavily on Yahoo directories.
The classic with categorised sites, one of the first and most extensive. Very
popular, so can be slow. Use the Yahoo's UK and Ireland site to search for
local information.
BT's Yellow Pages online (slow for a UK based service … too popular??)
Another categorised search of European Web sites
Note that some of the website addresses above are prefixed with http:// - this must be
included in the address. In all other cases the prefix www is optional and will usually be inserted
by the web browser automatically.
How to Surf
Let’s stick with Google for the moment and start searching. To start Google just open your web
browser of choice (Internet Explorer, Firefox etc) type in in the address bar and
either click on the ‘Go’ arrow or hit the Enter key.
The screen will now change and allow you to enter your search criteria:
The red arrow shows where you enter data. Note that in addition to searching the web for text
entries you can also search for images, groups, news and even ‘Froogle’
There is a regime to follow when searching:
a. Single word search. Entering the single word dictionary and clicking the Google
Search button will bring up all pages on the web in which Google has found the word
dictionary. In this case over 31,000,000 pages in English were found.
b. Two (or more ) word search. Entering two or more words will bring up all instances
where pages contain not only both words but instances where at least one of the chosen
words is present. For example entering oxford english dictionary showed that around
1,990,000 pages contained the search words.
c. A phrase. To search for a phrase, and not the individual words alone, enclose the phrase
in quotes. Searching for “oxford english dictionary” found 1,230,000 matches.
d. A mixture of word and phrase. Suppose you are looking for the word Google in the OED
then enter “oxford English dictionary” google definition. This found 335,000
matching entries
The search results are ranked by the Google search engine in the order ‘best match to worst
match’. Click on the actual heading (as indicated by the red arrow) to view the web page that
Google found.
It is possible to tell Google to ignore all web pages that contain a word that is not required. For
instance if you were looking for instances of John Smith in Scotland with no references to
Canada you would pre-fix the word Canada with a minus sign. i,e, “John Smith” Scotland –
canada This produced around 240,000 entries which match. By adding further search criteria
the search can be n\arrowed down even further. For example adding in the word Glasgow and
bookseller to the search reduced the number of pages found to 802 pages. This method is in fact
extensively used by genealogists searching for their ancestors with the hope that someone with a
web site has the information they seek. Try entering your own name either as words or as a
phrase and see what comes up. Narrowing the search by putting in a minus sign before criteria
that are not required.
Google will ignore some commonly used words such as the and how and digits. To ensure that
these are included in the search preface them with a ‘+’ sign. Thus Star Wars +1 will search for
pages containing Star Wars and include the digit 1.
For further tips to assist in your searches click on Advanced Search
Advanced searching allows much more control over the search criteria. For instance you can
change the number of results shown per page to more than the standard ten results.
Clicking on Preferences will allow the Search language to be changed from all to English only.
This can help by filtering out non-English language results of the search.
Don’t forget to save your preferences before closing the page.
Finally, should you have set the search language to any language you can view the page
translated into English by clicking on Translate this page.
Do bear in mind that this is a computer generated automatic translation and may not be 100%
perfect. Should your search in the English language produce few results it might be worthwhile
searching all languages to see what the search engine turns up.
stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol
stands for Uniform Resource Locator
stands for World Wide Web
A website address is a URL and is made up with the prefix HTTP followed by a colon and two
forward slashes. Then follows the actual address itself which can be in one of three forms:, or
https://securepage/ for passing information to a site which is ‘secure’ against