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Level One:
Searching and Browsing Skills

(The Power of a Self-Directed Learner)

CONTEXT: It is fast becoming an essential skill to be able to find information upon a topic, reliably, competently, and at a moment's notice. Never before in human history have learners had the fingertip access to the global knowledge that they have today. Powerful software packages on the Internet generally referred to as search engines can search millions of resources for very specific information in seconds and are very easy to learn and use.

Minutes spent learning search engines will save hours, even weeks, of time. Learning effective techniques for use of search engines is one of the most important skills we can learn.

All software today includes thorough help guides, and since software keeps changing and improving, the skill of being able to teach oneself new software on an ongoing basis using these help guides is fundamentally important. One can observe youth being very aware of the usefulness of these help guides while many adults are often unaware of even their existence.

"Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where to find information upon it."
--Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

Lesson Goals

Keep the following general goals in mind as you work through hands-on exploration of the activities and resources presented in this lesson. A selection of the web resources referenced in this lesson is printed in the pages following the text of the lesson and elsewhere in this guide.

Suggested Hands-on Learning Opportunities

1. Email to your class listserv at least three quality searching tip/tricks, not included in your handbook or this lesson, that you have learned using the help buttons of search engines of your own choice. Include a short web tour with at least six web addresses on a particular topic of interest and share it on the class listserv as a text message or a web address - if you know how to post pages on the web. If you don't know how to post web pages, you'll learn how in the next lesson. Please don't send file attachments to the listserv.

2. Send your instructor a one-page write-up verifying you've reviewed all presented resources in this lesson. Verify you've mastered all skills referenced in both the Browsing and Searching Checklists presented in this lesson.

The Vision

Searching skills are essential to Ecommerce - because to keep your knowledge current you must have highly developed self-directed Internet learning skills. You'll need to monitor your competition and be alert to emerging new Ecommerce success models. By learning a few simple tricks you can quickly learn to retrieve highly specific information from the world's knowledge base. Your competition has all this at their fingertips, too. Your competitive edge depends on how well you learn to take advantage of this profound capability.

Searching and Browsing Basics

A. Master Web-Browsing and Cut-and-Paste Essential Skills

Select the "Checklist Activity; Web-Browsing and Cut-and-Paste Basics" http://lone-eagles.com/browse.htm from the online Internet Guide’s table of contents, http://lone-eagles.com/guide.htm and verify your mastery of each task on the checklist. This checklist is not browser specific. Please feel free to ask questions of your mentor.

Cut-and-Paste Skills: Make sure you can use cut and paste to move text and web addresses from any web page to any word processor. PC users: Select the Windows help button from the Start Menu, click on "Index" which is the help search engine, and type "cut-and-paste" (without the quotes). Mac users: do the same using the Mac help system.

Note: To use cut-and-paste you’d first open the wordprocessor of your choice, and then you will need to jump between your browser and the wordprocessor using the Windows taskbar or the Macintosh "finder" each time you move a URL or block of text. If you don’t know how to jump between two open applications, consult your Windows or Macintosh help menu on "Using or Running Programs." (Ask questions if you need help, it is easy!)

B. Master Searching Skills

Select the "Checklist Activity: Internet Searching Basics"
http://lone-eagles.com/search.htm from the online Internet Guide’s table of
contents http://lone-eagles.com/guide.htm and verify your mastery of each task on the checklist.

Review carefully the activity handout - Tips on Searching the Internet http://lone-eagles.com/search3.htm  - a portion of which is listed below, on the basics of using AND, OR and NOT with keywords, and then expand your knowledge of searching tricks (syntax) by exploring the help buttons on your choice of search engine.   (Altavista is recommended: http://altavista.digital.com )

Searching Basics: The more keywords you use, using AND, OR, and NOT, ideally the fewer, more specific resources will be retrieved. Using AND provides fewer resources (Memory Tag; "AND is CANNED.") Using OR provides more resources (Memory Tag: "OR is MORE.")

Putting quotes around a specific phrase will return only websites containing that specific phrase. Ex: "ecommerce curriculum" or "virtual incubators"

Truncation characters such as * or ? will allow for flexibility with words that may have multiple suffixes: EX: email AND tutorial* will find sites with the words tutorial and tutorials. Edu* will return sites with educators, educational, education, etc.

Search engines are NOT created equal; while often similar, they search different information using different syntax and you’re advised to refer to the help tips on the search engine of your choice to learn how to use it most effectively.

C. Explore Extensive Resources on Searching Skills

Go to Search Engine Watch http://www.searchenginewatch.com and review the resources with emphasis on :

First Select: Web Searching Tips, then Search Engine Tutorials, then Explore: From the main page select Search Engine Listings and explore.

Noodle around at http://google.com, http://aj.com, and http://dogpile.com - just to see what you can learn from these very popular searching sites.

TIP: Making mistakes is an excellent way to learn computers and Internet. Be Bold! Have Fun!

D. Review Topical Web Tours

Fifteen Topical Web Tours http://lone-eagles.com/webtours.htm

E. Create Your Own Web Tours

Learn to Create Your Own Web Tours http://lone-eagles.com/owntours.htm Posting free quality web tours advertises your expertise while benefiting others. Build your reputation as an able Internet searcher by saving your community the time and effort to find highest value resources. Your annotations for each resource will prove to be the most important part of your web tours. Be succinct when pointing out the best sections to review for each presented resource.

F. Find Free Online Tutorials, Lessons, and Courses on Nearly Any Topic

To find tutorials on email, search for email AND tutorial* The * is a truncation character which means items will be retrieved which have anything that begins with the core prefix before the *  For example: tutorial and tutorials, etc. Substitute any word for email and you'll be surprised on what you'll find. Try substituting the words lesson and/or course for the word tutorial. Experiment with logical variations.

To look for genealogy tutorials. Try this - genealogy AND tutorial*
Try again substituting tutorial* with class*, then course*, then lesson* Learning advanced searching allows you to do all of these at once -

Try genealogy AND (lesson* OR tutorial* OR course* OR class*)