Using Internet Resources

(This project is worth 20 points.)


Purpose

Search Engines such as Google are very useful to quickly find information.  Too often however, even when using advanced searching techniques, there are too many web pages found.  At other times not enough results are found. 

There are specialty search engines available that can be used to limit the results.  In addition there are on-line libraries and directories that allow you to find information in different ways besides keyword searching.  In this project you will learn to use these other resources.

A major problem with the Internet is that many web sites seem fine but often contain incorrect information or worse.  As you answer these questions, try to find more than one website with the required information and compare them.  This isn't always possible but it is worth spending a few extra minutes trying to decide which sites are better or more accurate than others.  Learning how to evaluate web sites is an important skill when finding information and avoiding illegal content or malware (viruses, spyware, etc.).

To evaluate a web site you should compare its information with one or more (different) web sites.  Of course that isn't possible in all cases.  You can also check a site for information you already know to see if it correct.  Finally you can use Google or another search engine to see if others have complained about some web site, say by its having spyware, bad data, or other problems.


Submission Instructions

Complete the following steps and submit your answers as follows.

  1. Using the same submission steps as with the practice assignment, save this file to your computer as resources.htm.  Be sure to save as Web page, HTML only, and not Web page, Complete or any other type.
  2. Enter the following information here:

    Student Name: replace these seven words with your name

  3. Perform the steps below and search the Internet for answers to the questions asked (in the Assignment Directions).  Then enter your answers to the questions in the file you saved (resources.htm).  When possible, make sure your answers are accurate by evaluating the web sites you use.
  4. Using the same file saving steps as with the practice assignment, save the edited file as resources.htm.
  5. View your resources.htm in your web browser and make sure it displays your answers correctly.  (The page style will be plain but that is fine!)  If you note any problems, go back and edit the file to correct them before uploading and submitting your project.
  6. Return to MyHCC then follow the directions to select, upload and submit the completed file to the correct drop-box.
  7. Note that improperly completed and/or improperly identified mail WILL NOT be graded.

Assignment Directions

  1. Using Directories

    A directory in this context is a collection of web links, organized in a hierarchical manner that permits you to explore and find web sites related to some subject.  Directories are useful when you only know approximately what you are looking for, but not precisely enough to use a search engine effectively.

    A more familiar directory is a phone book yellow pages.  Suppose you are hungry and want to go out but aren't sure what restaurants or even types of restaurants are in your area.  When you look up restaurants in your local phone book, you may discover there are Persian, Indian, Brazilian steakhouse, ..., restaurants that you wouldn't have found by using a search engine for restaurant.  By exploring you may see Italian section, and can examine that for a good New York style pizza in your area.  Yummy!

    Directions:

    1. Use Yahoo  directories,  dir.yahoo.com  to find talent agencies or casting agencies for actors.  Write down the URL for one.
    2. Use Yahoo directories to find Cuban recipes.  Write down the URL for a recipe for Ropa Vieja:
  2. Using On-line Libraries

    For centuries there have been public libraries, which are huge repositories of public domain images, music, statistics, government reports, corporate data, books, magazines, and newspapers.  Some of that material that is copyrighted and can't be used without permission, but much is freely available.  And all this is a free service to citizens (in most of the world), supported by government funding.

    Today much material is available on the web, but the majority of books and reports are still not available that way.  A library can be used to locate and information available both on the web and off of it.  Library indexes contain information about all the material in any library in the world, not just the books in that one library.  Using a library you can locate some book or other data of interest and request the loan of those materials, which can be sent to your nearest branch for you to pick up.

    Today most libraries provide their services through a web site.  the purpose of this assignment is practice using the library to search for information.

    Directions:

    1. Access the Internet Public Library  http://www.ipl.org.
    2. There is an exhibit called Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey.  Who is the photographer?
    3. Are there any online texts about scuba diving in the library?
    4. Access the Brittish Public Library  http://catalogue.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do.
    5. Find a book by David Cameron titled Nationalism, Self-Determination and the Quebec Question.  (HINT: Look for a card catalog type link).  What is the call (Dewey Decimal) number? How many copies of the book does the library hold? Does the library have any other books by David Cameron?
  3. Using Databases

    By their very nature, websites can change often.  Some people perceive this as one of the biggest problems on the World Wide Web today.  One site, The Internet Archive, maintains a huge and growing database of old versions of websites.

    Directions:

    1. Go to www.madonna.com.  Who is this site promoting today?
    2. Go to The Internet Archive and locate the Website www.madonna.com in their database, known as the wayback machine.  (This is named after a cartoon time machine.)  Who had that website in 1996?
      Warning - you are not asked to check 1998-99.  USE caution if you choose to check 1998-1999.  While the content at that time is not fully archived for obvious reasons, closing the web page may cause a new page to open, to a website that some may find objectionable.  IF YOU CHECK 1998-99, YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED TO CLOSE THE NEW WINDOW QUICKLY.
    3. Who had that website in October, 2000?
    4. Who had that website in April, 2001?
  4. Using Specialty Search Engines

    There are number of specialty search engines, used for more focused searching.  By only searching for books, movies, people, laws, appliances, etc., you can use a simpler search than with a general search engine such as Google, and still end up with only relevant matches.  (The trick is to know how to find these specialty search engines!)

    Directions:

    1. You can use BestBookBuys.com, isbn.nu, or FetchBook.info to search on-line bookstores to find which ones sell some book.

      What is the lowest cost to buy a brand-new (not used) copy of the current edition of your class textbook available?  Which store sells it (new, not used) the cheapest (non-member pricing) with a rating of 3 or more stars?

    2. If you wanted to know which on-line stores sold clock-radios or pianos, or who offered plumbing services in your area, you could use any search engine such as Google.  But if you wanted to see what people who recently bought them thought about them, it will be difficult or impossible to find that information on Google.  Most reviews, opinions, etc. are not posted on regular websites, but on web logs or blogstechnorati.com is a search engine just for blogs.  A better one is Google Blog Search.  Another source for reviews of products and the stores that sell them is bizrate.com.

      Suppose you were in the market to buy a fancy home stereo system.  What do most people think of the JBL line of bookshelf speakers?

    3. Once you find a good site for something you usually add it to your favorites/bookmarks.  But such great sites can be difficult to find in the first place!  delicious.com (formally known as del.icio.us) is a website that allows people to share their favorites/bookmarks with others.  You can then search through this collection to find useful websites.  You can find my bookmarks at http://delicious.com/wpollock.  This is sometimes known as social bookmarking  (You can also upload your own bookmarks/favorites, to use at both home and work.)

      Based on the bookmarks on delicious.com, what is a good website to locate song lyrics? What is the chorus to the song Louie Louie by the Kingsmen?

    4. Based on the bookmarks on delicious.com, what is a good movie trivia website? In how many movies to date has Clint Eastwood appeared as an actor (and not just as a director)?

Copyright ©2011 by Wayne Pollock