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					Searching the World Wide Web




   St. James’ Junior High


       February 2003
Getting Started
To complete the following, you will need to have the following:


Skills
Using Internet Explorer
Using Copernic Search Engine


Software
Internet Explorer
Copernic


Web Search Stratgies

Because the Web is not indexed in any standard manner, finding information can seem
difficult. Search engines are popular tools for locating web pages, but they often return
thousands of results. Search engines crawl the Web and log the words from the web
pages they find in their databases. Because some search engines have logged the words
from over 1 billion documents, results can be overwhelming. Without a clear search
strategy, using a search engine is like wandering aimlessly in the stacks of a library trying
to find a particular book.

Successful searching involves two key steps. First, you must have a clear understanding
of how to prepare your search. You must identify the main concepts in your topic and
determine any synonyms, alternate spellings, or variant word forms for the concepts.
Second, you need to know how to use the various search tools available on the Internet.
For example, search engines (e.g., AltaVista) are very different than subject directories
(e.g., Yahoo). Even search engines themselves can vary greatly in size, accuracy,
features, and flexibility.

This tutorial presents an easy-to-follow process on using search engines and subject
directories for finding what you need on the World Wide Web. To complete the online
version of this tutorial, please visit http://home.sprintmail.com/~debflanagan/main.html
and complete the sections that interest you. If you would like to try some more practical
exercises, then continue with this tutorial.

Introduction
In order to effectively utilize search engines to find information and resources on the
web, you should some basic skills to work from. It is important to have the following
basic knowledge:
1. Meta Name – Search engines search for text in a part of a code in a web site called
   the Meta Name Description. Therefore sites that have many descriptors in the
   description section usually appear at the top. Companies who want their sites to
   appear at the top of search engines must register their pages with key search engines
   and continually update their keywords and Meta Name Description. Of course,
   sometimes the power of the people and the media makes a certain site highly popular,
   such as is the case with msn.ca or expedia.ca.
2. Some knowledge of Boolean script. Don’t panic. It simply means being able to use a
   + or – sign (and/or/not) to improve accuracy when searching on the Internet. Also,
   using the advanced search that is often available on search engines is a handy thing to
   know, however it is often time consuming to use.
3. Making good keyword choice, ones which will provide accurate “hits” but that will
   not undermine the task by limiting the number of hits. Some search engines such as
   askjeeves.com will allow you to perform the search in the form of a question.
4. Use of quotations around multiple words will help narrow searches. It is probably the
   most accurate manner of finding sites that will only contain those words. Not all
   search engines recognize the quotes, so it good to know other methods.
5. Quality search engines – Select search engines that you know are reliable. Here is a
   quick list, there are plenty more!
        a. www.google.ca (Canadian and it’s fairly accurate)
        b. www.dogpile.com (this is actually a webot. It will search multiple search
           engines.)
        c. ca.altavista.com – Canadian content searches
        d. www.alltheweb.com – very fast and accurate
6. Time on task is very important. Don’t waste time searching for things during class
   time. Always be prepared in advance.
7. Have a checklist in mind that you can use with students to teach them how to
   discriminate quality web information or sites. Read from sites such as
   http://www.multcolib.org/homework/webeval.html that offer insight into critical
   literacy. As well, the site located at http://www.metrac.org/programs/info/assess.htm
   offers excellent insight into assessing web pages.
8. Using web resources is great teaching tool, but make sure that they are directly
   related to curriculum outcomes.

   REMEMBER – ANYONE CAN MAKE A WEBSITE!! Always evaluate content and
accuracy!!


The remainder of this tutorial will be divided into two sections, using on line search
engines and using Copernic, a resident Internet search tool.
Tutorial A

On line Search Engines

The following will focus on two search engines/bots, Google and Dogpile.

Google has the largest database at 1.5 billion pages and is very adept at returning relevant
results. Google uses mathematical formulas to rank a web page based on the number of
"important" pages that link to it. The philosophy is that high-quality websites point to
other high-quality websites. When a search is conducted, Google determines the websites
that meet the search criteria and then lists the most popular sites among high-quality
resources at the top of the list.

Please Note: Google supports OR (in all caps), but does not support full Boolean AND
NOT. However, it does allow the implied Boolean minus sign (-). When multiple
keywords are entered, all keywords are treated as "AND" queries. Because Google
automatically returns pages that include all keywords, the plus sign (+) and the operator
AND are not necessary. Also, quotation marks for phrase searching are not required as
Google returns pages with keywords in close proximity.

Finally, unlike other search engines, Google offers a cached copy of each result. The
cached copy can be especially helpful if the site's server is down or the web page is no
longer available.


* Hint. It is best not to use capitals when doing searches.

   1. Let’s try a few. Go to Google. It is easy to remember www.google.ca

   2. Try searching some of the following to see what kinds of “hits” you receive
         a. Type "grade nine math" and enter – look at the second hit in the list.
             Visit it by clicking the right button and selecting “open in new window”.
             This will open another instance of your browser, thus allowing you to
             “toggle” between the sites you searched and the site you are currently
             browsing. Try some other sites.

   3. Try some of the following searches:
         a. space exploration shuttle. You will notice you still have about
         121,000 pages of sites to sift through so you may need to become even more
         precise. Try space exploration shuttle columbia. Again, you will notice you
         have about 13,000 sites to sift through (top right corner for statistics on
         number of hits). But using the + allows you to add more key words than
         quotations and you can continue to narrow the search in this matter. Usually,
         the search engine identifies the better quality sites near the beginning as well,
         thus decreasing the necessity to check through all those pages.
b. Try this one: current events canada and observe the number of hits.
c. Try it again and another word such as +politics and observe the number of
   hits.
d. Try it again and add +Newfoundland and observe the number of hits…
e. Again, to browse a certain site, right click on the link and select open in
   new window.
f. Try some other searches that are of interest to you. Remember to use
   accurate phrases and keywords.
Tutorial B Copernic Search Database

                             Copernic Agent
Copernic Agent is a search tool that resides on your PC and allows you to
organize searches that you have completed. It is different from other search
engines in that it maintains a database of your results and allows you to
recall the database at your leisure. Using a tool such as this in your
classroom will allow you to take full advantage of the power of the Internet
for research and information purposes. It also allows you to focus and
control class research so that students do not lose important time wandering
aimlessly around the Internet looking for information.

This software is available for download at www.copernic.com.


Folders
If you are sharing your computer with other teachers or if you are teaching
multiple courses, then using folders for your searches will help you and
students to organize search results. For example, you may want to keep your
searches for Math sites in a folder separate from searches in your science
course.


To create a new folder to save your search results in:




1.   Locate the Copernic Basic Icon on your screen.
2.   Double click with the left mouse button to activate the software.
3.   Click on the File, select Folder, New.
4.   Type “Science” as the folder name and press OK
5.   You will see the folder appear in the pane to the right under My searches
     that looks like this
To use Copernic Agent to search the Internet:

1. Click on the category The Web on the left margin
2. In the search for bar, type “science fair ideas” in quotations and hit the
   ENTER key.




4. Hint  (If you use two or more words, use “quotes” around the words or
   plus + signs between each word. You will then get more accurate hits.)
5. You will notice that your search results appear in the middle window.
   You can choose to either browse your results here or use the browse
   command located in the top menu. This will open Internet Explorer
   which will allow you to read the descriptions and follow the links to the
   sites.
6. Try clicking on one of the “hits” returned by the software.
7. Click on the Back button to return you to the previous page.
8. To open a new window, right click on the title and select Open in New
   Window. This makes it easier to jump back and forth between pages.


Challenges

Try some other searches in the science category. If you do not teach science,
try some searches in a category of your choice.

1. Try creating some supplementary folders:
   a) Click “File”, “Folder”, “New” and create a folder for each of the
      following: (Make sure they are created under the “Default” folder and
      not under the “science” folder you created earlier
           social studies;
           math;
           geography;
           english,;
           etc.


More Practice

Try doing some searches using the other options available on the left margin,
such as “The Web – Canada” for example.

Try using these keywords for some of your searches:

      mammals
      reptiles
      tropical fish (in quotes)
      duck billed platypus
      volleyball drills
      ancient rome
      math skills grade 8
      science fair ideas
      science fair projects
      webquest

Or try typing a question by doing the following:
     1. Click “The Web”
     2. Select “Answer my Question” from the choices below.
     3. Type a question in the box. Try these.

              Why is the sky blue?
              Where is Alberta?
              What is a possum?
              etc

Note that as you complete each search, that web sites relative to the subjects
appear at the bottom of the page. Click the Browse button in the menu if you
would like to read the description and then click on the site name to access
the actual sites.
What do I do with all these searches? Why bother

Well, if you are going to integrate technology into your classroom, you should become
accustomed to using it to enhance your teaching.

     1. Design a WebQuest.

     A webquest is defined as the following:

A webquest is a web page which provides opportunities for students to role-play specific
scenarios. Students work in cooperative groups to solve a problem and create a product
(presentation, slideshow, video, web page, report, speech, etc.). WebQuests contain lists
of resources that can be used to complete the task and often contain an evaluation tool.
To learn more about WebQuests and browse through samples, visit
http://edweb.sdsu.edu/webquest/webquest.html.

Or

Try this WebQuest generator that you can use to develop a webquest for your class. All
you need to do is input the information and the generator will produce the handout for
you.

http://teachers.teach-nology.com/web_tools/web_quest/



2. Find supplementary activities for your courses.
3.   Find graphics
4.   Find current events information
5.   Find novel studies
6.   Find medical information
7.   Find mathematical problem solving strategies
8.   Find engineering specification

				
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