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Finding information in the Internet
by Enrique de Argaez

The content on this article has been updated to reflect the latest trends in search engines, directories, and evaluating web pages. The fact is that there is a lot of great material on the Web - primary sources, specialized directories and databases, statistical information, educational sites on many levels, policy, opinion of all kinds, and much more - however you need the right tools for finding all of this wealth of knowledge, much available for free, other for a fee.

Before you start searching, there are a few things you must bear in mind. Finding the Web documents, which people usually refer to as Web "pages" or "sites", can be made easy with the right tools and by looking in the correct places. This is very importante due to the sheer size of the world wide web (WWW), currently estimated to contain 100 billion or many more documents. No one really knows its size, and it is in constant growth.

Searching the Web also presents difficulties because the WWW is not indexed in any standard way. Unlike a library's catalogs, in which content is classified and listed in a standardized format. In Web searching you are always guessing what words will be in the pages you want to find or guessing what subject terms were chosen by someone to organize a web page or site covering the topic of your interest. Something is amiss.

When you "search the Web," you are not searching it directly. It is not possible to search the WWW directly because the Web comprises the totality of the many web pages which reside on computers (called "servers") all over the world. Your computer cannot find or go to them all directly. What you are able to do through the Internet using your computer is to access one or more of the many intermediate search tools (search engines) available. You search a search engine's database or collection of sites -- a relatively small subset of the entire World Wide Web. The search tool provides you with hypertext links with URLs to other pages. You click on these links, and retrieve documents, images, sound, video and more from individual servers around the world.


Much progress in the search tools has been made in recent years. However it is a long way for anyone to search the entire Web, and any search tool that claims that it offers it all to you is distorting the truth. In addition to what you can find in search tools of various types, there is vast content that never appears in any general, free web search tool. This is called the Invisible Web or Deep Web

At present, there are three main types of search tools available for your web search and for finding the information you are seeking. You will use different strategies to find and exploit the potential of the tools in each class:
  • Search Engines and Meta-Search Engines.
  • Subject Directories.
  • Specialized Databases.

In the following web page you can find links to the best search tools. Search Engines and Directories.

About the Author:
Enrique De Argaez is the webmaster of the
"Internet World Stats" website. Since 2000 he has been collecting Internet Usage Statistics, and publishing the data for over 233 countries and regions of the world for free use by the academia, the global business community and the general public. For more information on Internet World Usage, please visit: http://www.InternetWorldStats.com

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