Fact Sheet 5: Finding information
you want to find something on the Internet, you need a search engine. Three of
the most popular are Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com),
and Ask Jeeves (http://www.askjeeves.com).
Yahoo has a UK-specific site at (www.yahoo.co.uk),
as does AltaVista (http://www.altavista.co.uk). These typify the main approaches
taken by different sites: categorisation of sites into lists which they think
will interest you (Yahoo), just presenting you with giant lists of every single
page which mentions the word(s) you're looking for (AltaVista) and searching
lots of other web search engines and categorising the results (Ask Jeeves).
is useful if you're looking for, say, sites which will tell you what the
weather's like in New York. Just type 'weather' into the search box and it'll
present you with a list of sites like The Weather Channel. Click on the entry
and you'll be taken straight to the site.
is better if you want to find documents discussing global warming. Type 'global
warming' into the search box and you'll be presented with the first 20 pages it
knows about where those words occur. Enclose them in inverted commas and it'll
only return a list of those pages where the words occur next to each other. You
also get a short extract of the first few lines of the relevant page, so you can
judge if it fits your criteria.
Jeeves tries to present a human face by allowing you to ask questions in English
and trying to present them in the same way. However, it can be limiting
sometimes since companies can pay to have more prominent listings.
are also a few search engines now devoted to helping you find individuals on the
Internet. Four11 (http://www.four11.com)
both allows individuals to register their details with it and also scours places
like newsgroups for your e-mail address.
files is usually done using a protocol called ftp (file transfer protocol). You
can, if you're using it a lot, use a dedicated programme like Cuteftp (available
but for general use a world wide web browser like
Netscape or Internet Explorer will do the job just fine. If you have a file
which you want to download, click on the highlighted name and a dialog box will
pop up asking if you want to open or save it. Choose save, and make sure you put
it somewhere you can find it again - the desktop is an ideal temporary storage
place. You can short-circuit the process a little by (under Windows 95)
right-clicking on the name, or with a Macintosh clicking and holding your mouse
button down. The dialog box will pop up a little quicker. You can also save
whole pages (just click on File/Save) or individual pictures (right click for
Windows, click and hold for Macs) and choosing the Save Picture option.
files need to be unzipped after downloading. Use a programme like Winzip or
PKUnzip, both available from http://www.shareware.com.
Once you've downloaded the file, open up Winzip and then choose File/Open and
type in the name and location of the file you need to unzip.