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Home > Basic Skills > Finding Information on the Internet spacer

Finding Information on the Internet

Section editor

Introduction

Within a relatively short period of time, the Internet has grown to the point where it is now possible to access information on almost every conceivable topic. However, finding relevant, high quality resources is becoming increasingly difficult and frustrating. Finding useful information on the Internet requires a combination of familiarity with the search tools and resources available, an understanding of search strategies and language, and persistence.

This ItrainOnline section aims to provide tools and resources to help guide you through the maze, and to evaluate the quality of information you find online.

Finding Information on the Internet - Search engine basics

A Guide to Google

Developed by: Nancy Blachman
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

An online tutorial, helping google users to know more about how Google works, its features and capabilities, the better it can serve users' needs.

This Google tutorial contains many examples and exercises designed to give users practice with the material presented and to inspire users to find amusing or useful information.

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Editor's choice: University of California (Berkeley) Searching Resources

Developed by: University of California (Berkeley)
Type of resource: Web articles, presentations and handouts
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

The University of California at Berkeley offers an excellent online tutorial on "finding information on the Internet", covering basic through advanced search techniques. Included are an overview of the features of major search engines, detailed instructions for using seven of the most commonly used search engines, PowerPoint slides for presentation purposes, and search engine exercises. This is probably the most useful search engine training site, and includes information on browsers and "getting connected", and a glossary of Netscape and Internet jargon. 

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ITrain Effective Internet Searching

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: Students' and instructors' manual in PDF and zipped MS Word format
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

This training module is designed to teach advanced Internet searching skills to participants. The materials explain how search engines work, how to choose among search engines, advanced search engine techniques, and how to go beyond search engines in finding information on the Internet.

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ITrain Reference Guide: Search Engine Links

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: PDF reference guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Reference guide which includes links to general and specific search engines.

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Bare Bones 101. A Very Basic Web Search Tutorial

Developed by: University of South Carolina Beaufort Library
Type of resource: Online tutorials
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Created by Ellen Chamberlain at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Library, this is a helpful and easy-to-understand tutorial to searching the Web. It is meant to be "bare bones" only, designed to get you started in the right direction with a minimum of time and effort-or if you are bewildered by the sometimes confusing 'Help' sections offered by the various search engines, some of which throw rather too much at you at once. There are a total of 20 lessons, including lessons and descriptions of the major search engines, the search options they offer and their special features. Each lesson concludes with an assignment, and there are also recommendations for other tutorials, including those for advanced searching.

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ICT for Library and Information Professionals: A Training Package for Developing Countries - Module 5

Developed by: Lourdes T. David
Type of resource: Website with downloadable resources
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

The package available on this website is intended to provide the knowledge and skills required to deal with the application of ICT to library and information services. It is meant for library and information personnel who may become trainers in the area.
By the end of Module 5, learners should Module 5 is designed to enable participants to acquire knowledge and skills that will help them train other information professionals to use the Internet.

By the end of the course, students should be able to:
1. Identify Internet tools and resources
2. Utilize Internet search tools and services
3. Evaluate Internet tools and resources
4. Cite properly the information found on the Internet
5. Address the trends and issues concerning the Internet
6. Use the Internet as an information resource

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Searching the Internet

Developed by: MMTK
Type of resource: MS Word files
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

This workshop kit for trainers covers the basic processes of finding information on the internet. Part of the Multimedia Training Kit.

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Searching Online Databases

Developed by: Information Literacy @ Wesleyan University
Type of resource: website
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

As your searching needs become more complex, simple search techniques will not suffice. Information Literacy @ Wesleyan University developed this online module to help improve search precision, understand the difference between "keyword" vs. "subject" searching, and use common searching methods such as Boolean searching, phrase searching or related terms identification more efficiently.

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Twitter Search In Plain English

Developed by: Common Craft
Type of resource: online video
Target audience: General, Information intermediaries
Cost: Free access

A simple video that explains how to use the Twitter Search function to search through contributions and trends on Twitter. The video illustrates how Twitter Search creates new opportunities for business feedback, tracking real time news and discovering trends.

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Finding Information on the Internet - NGO and subject-specific gateways

SDGateway

Developed by: IISD
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

SD Gateway contains over 1200 documents relating to sustainable development, a calendar of events, a job bank, information about mailing lists and news sites, and the SD Webworks section on using the Internet effectively for sustainable development.

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Choike: A Portal on Southern Civil Societies

Developed by: Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITeM)
Type of resource: Portal
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

A directory and search engine of Southern Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), grouped in five major thematic fields: the people, society, the environment, globalization and communication. Includes both our own and outside reports on these issues, as well as links to other international agencies and organizations.

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Eldis: the Gateway to Development Information

Developed by: Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Funded by Danida and Sida and hosted by the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, Eldis offers a large collection of resources for 40 development-related sectors.

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Finding News Articles on a Particular Subject

Developed by: UNITeS
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Gives a good overview of how you can use the Internet to find articles etc. on specific subjects. Additionally it also provides several links to several portals and newswires

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HuriSearch

Developed by: HURIDOCS
Type of resource: Search engine
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"HuriSearch is a HURIDOCS project. Its general objective is to facilitate access to human rights information on the web. Its specific objectives are as follows:

* To provide human rights professionals with a powerful web research tool.
* To increase the visibility of information published by human rights organisations, in particular small local organisations with first-hand information.
* To encourage webmasters to use metadata systematically, thus making human rights information searching much more reliable and efficient."

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Finding Information on the Internet - General

Your Guide to Better Searching on the Net

Developed by: BBC Training
Type of resource: PDF file
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

PDF guide with exercises - useful resources from the BBC with the quality one would expect from that organisation.

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Introduction to Using the Internet for Librarians

Developed by: INASP
Type of resource: Handouts, exercises and presentations
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

Course materials (presentations, handouts and exercises) are available to download as zip or stuffed archives containing Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. Areas covered are (day 1) introducing the Internet, browsing and searching; (day 2) searching (continued), information gateways and the importance of quality; (day 3) quality issues and web page design; (day 4) web page evaluation, software, copyright, e-mail, costing; (day 5) developing an Internet-related training programme. Registration is required.

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Finding Internet Resources on Preventing Violence Against Women

Developed by: APC WNSP
Type of resource: Zipped MS Word files
Target audience: General, Trainers, Women
Cost: Free access

This workshop kit for trainers forms the basis of a training sessions on navigating online and offline information sources of resources on VAW. Part of the Multimedia Training Kit.

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Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging: How to mark sites so you and others can find them

Developed by: TechSoup
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"How many times have you dug fruitlessly through the links you've saved in your browser's Favorites folder, struggling to remember how you categorized that site you wanted to remember? Or how often have you been unable to locate information you needed - simply because you didn't know what search word to use?" This TechSoup article offers tips for effective "tagging".

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Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication through Shared Meta Data

Developed by: Adam Mathes
Type of resource: web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This paper by Adam Mathes examines grassroots metadata classification as applied in two web services, Del.icio.us, a tool for organising web pages; and Flikr, a service for organising and sharing photos. Metadata - data about data - facilitates grouping and finding of information. It examines the individual and community aspects of tagging, and focuses on the role of immediate feedback and bridging the gap from the personal to communicative. The article uses illustrative examples from the two web services to help the reader better understand folksonomy and tagging, and offers suggestions for future research.

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The Hive Mind: Folksonomies and User-Based Tagging

Developed by: Ellyssa Kroski
Type of resource: web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This overview article by Ellyssa Kroski examines characteristics of folksonomies, describes tools for data organisation, and tag clouds. Folksonomies are inclusive, current, democratic and self-moderating, according to Kroski, but also have plenty of "hitches", which she also details.

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Social Bookmarking Tools (I)

Developed by: Tony Hammond, Timo Hannay, Ben Lund, and Joanna Scott
Type of resource: web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This article from D-Lib Magazine provides an overview of social bookmarking. It first examines link and bookmark history, tagging, and social issues relevant to social bookmarking. Itīs annex offers a review of common social bookmarking tools as of April 2005.

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Folksonomies: Power to the People

Developed by: Emanuele Quintarelli
Type of resource: web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This article helps readers understand different classification processes for web content, when each one is more suitable, and why and how the distributed classification folksonomy model has emerged. With folksonomies, people associate keywords to content (tagging). But tagging alone is not enough, states author Emanuele Quintarelli, it is the possibility of aggregation of that information - "the power is the people".

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7 Things You Should Know about Social Bookmarking

Developed by: Educause Learning Initiative
Type of resource: PDF
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This brief article presents two scenarios of bookmarking use to exemplify the benefits of "social bookmarking", especially in a teaching setting. The concept of social bookmarking is explained, who is doing it, why and how, as well as what the future holds as social bookmarking grows and some of its pros and cons.

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