Many impressive automated search services use computer programs to locate items and compile huge databases that can be searched by keyword. These are useful to locate an organization or specific topic, as long as the name or terms are contained in the portion of the item that was indexed. But if an organization's name appears only in an image or logo (and not in text on the page), that name won't appear in the index, and it won't be retrieved. When using these systems, be sure to read the online help for search syntax on each service; each one differs in its use of punctuation, capitalization, and other search operators.
Although the automated indexes certainly have their uses, they can't index concepts or organize resources on a given topic the way someone familiar with the topic can. Fortunately, there are many dedicated folks on the Net who devote significant amounts of time and energy to compiling guides to resources. Future installments of "NET Gain" will be devoted to spreading the word about where to find resources on specific subject areas.
Inktomi is another Web-based service that doesn't boast as much use as InfoSeek but claims to have a larger database (Inktomi says it has 1.3 million compared to InfoSeek's 200,000). http://inktomi.berkeley.edu/
"NET Gain" is compiled by David Carlson, Peter Seidman (NCRVE, University of California at Berkeley) and Judith Wagner (ERIC/ACVE, Ohio State University). An online version of this column will be available on the NCRVE World Wide Web server (http://ncrve.berkeley.edu/NetGain/). Readers are encouraged to let the authors know about any changes in the resources listed, as well as about other resources they find useful.
David Carlson: 800-(old phone deleted);
Peter Seidman: 800-(old phone deleted);
Judy Wagner: 800-848-4815; firstname.lastname@example.org