Using the Internet
Chapter 2 catalogued a variety of online resources you can utilise throughout your learning lifetime. This will have given you a sense of the sheer volume of information that is available on the Internet. Whilst it is clearly one of the strengths of the Internet that it is possible to enquire into almost any subject that you might be interested in, this wealth of information is also arguably a potential weakness. With over two billion publicly accessible web pages, tens of thousands of experts operating online, and millions of non-web-based resources available though the wider Internet, ﬁnding the information you really need can be diﬃcult. However, there are some very useful ways in which you can inﬂuence the number and type of returns, or ‘hits’, you encounter when conducting Internet research. Thus, while the Internet is like an ocean and many people use it to surf from site to site, this chapter will help you learn how to turn the ocean into a pond that contains material of direct relevance to your interests. It will introduce you to the world of general, meta and specialised search engines and subject directories and will consider how you can make the best use of these tools. As part of this, we will also examine the structure of Internet addresses and endings to show you how it is often possible to guess the address of a site where you can ﬁnd the information you are looking for without having to spend time utilising a search tool.