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NET Gain No. 3: Searching
(March 1996)

Each day, more information becomes available on the internet, especially via the World Wide Web. How can you possibly know what's out there, and how can you find it? This installment of "NET Gain" is devoted to tips on finding what you're looking for.

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.

Searching for Web Pages

InfoSeek is a Web-based service that claims to process five million searches per day. Since it is the first item on NetScape's own Net Search page, that's no surprise. http://www2.infoseek.com/

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/

Searching Netnews Newsgroups

DejaNews is a Web-based service that allows you to search newsgroups (two to four weeks back) by keyword. You can filter by newsgroup name, date, and sender to further refine your search. http://www.dejanews.com/

Searching Gopher Servers

Veronica is a Gopher-based service that lets you search gopher menu items for keywords. The menu at veronica's home has excellent background material and even a Web page for those who are so enabled. gopher://gopher.scs.unr.edu:70/11/veronica

Searching Telnet Hosts

Hytelnet is a searchable compilation of telnet resources, such as library catalogs and bulletin board systems. There are Web, gopher, and stand-alone PC versions. http://www.lights.com/hytelnet/ or gopher://liberty.uc.wlu.edu/11/internet/hytelnet

Question Answering Services

If you need help finding information, you can send an e-mail message to ERIC or NCRVE for assistance. Questions are referred to the appropriate experts within the organization or to other sources. Contact AskERIC@ericir.syr.edu or AskNCRVE@ncrve.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; wagner.6@osu.edu


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