Internet Searches on Campus Computers

Newman students access the Dugan Library's computer system

Conducting an Internet Search

There are three approaches you can use to find information on the Internet: directories, search engines and virtual libraries.

  • Directories

    • Used for browsing specific subjects and for finding quality web sites.
      • Examples: Yahoo.com, Looksmart.com, and Dmoz.org
    • Directories organize web sites by categories (subjects). Humans who decide into which category a web site should fit construct these. Directories list fewer web sites than search engines and the sites are of better quality, but they are not necessarily always quality sites.
  • Search Engines

    • Used for finding specific sites or specific information.
      • Examples: Altavista.com, Surfwax.com, Google.com, etc.
    • Search engines use software called spiders, web crawlers, or bots to automatically collect the words on millions of web pages. These words are fed into a searchable database. When you use a search engine, you are not searching the Web; you are searching a database of words from web pages collected by the search engine’s software. There is little overlap between what each search engine collects so you need to use more than one search engine.
    • Tips For Using Search Engines

      • Word order
        • Put your most important words first.
      • Specific to general
        • Be very specific in your search.
      • Revise
        • If your first search doesn’t give you the expected results, revise it.
      • Punctuation
        • Enclose your search statement in quotations “”. This will force the software to find the EXACT phrase you specify.
          • Use + (AND) to include terms
          • Use - (NOT) to exclude terms
          • +Dogs +Cats will call up sites dealing with both dogs AND cats.
          • +Dogs –Cats will probably give you dog sites without cats.
      • Information about the site
        • You can tell what the site is by the URL
        • .com - Businesses. They want to sell you something.
        • .edu - Schools, universities, colleges.
        • .gov - Government sites.
        • .mil - Military sites.
        • .org - Organizations, hospitals, non-profits, etc.
      • Use search tips
        • Use aids provided by each search engine. One searching method may not apply to all search engines
  • Virtual Libraries

    • You are presently using a virtual library
    • College and university librarians and subject experts construct virtual libraries for students and faculty to use for searching relevant Internet resources. A virtual library is a reference tool containing highly useful Internet resources including electronic databases, electronic journals, electronic books, online library catalogs, tutorials, directories, and many other types of information. These pages are separated into subject categories for your review.

Ask a librarian for help.