Sam Saunders' internet insights;Briefing;Research Focus

12th March 1999 at 00:00
FINDING your own research sources on the Internet is not necessarily easy. There are some large search facilities (such as AltaVista and Yahoo) that are used by educational researchers. They seem simple and can find thousands of pages very quickly. But the results can be frustratingly obtuse.

My own experience is that acquiring a little more knowledge about the mechanics of the "search engines" has reduced my tendency to criticise them as "big and dumb", and increased thevalue I get from them.

Danny Sullivan, a California journalist and Internet consultant, set up Search Engine Watch, an intelligently-written website, at http:www.searchenginewatch.com It offers information for those who are searching, and for those who want to promote their websites. It also makes the point that each group needs to know some of the others' secrets to get better results.

AltaVista (a search engine) is at http:www.altavista.com and Yahoo (a directory) is at http:www.yahoo.com * Jack Solock is emeritus editor of the large and influential Scout Report http:scout.cs.wisc.eduscoutreport The Scout Report is a US current-awareness service for high-quality web resources. On a visit to the UK last year, Jack explained that he sometimes finds useful websites by going to the good sites that he already knows. Such sites tend to have links to other good sites. The web pages of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) are a case in point. Its list of useful sites, at http:www.nfer.ac.uknferlink.htm includes scores of prime web addresses with brief descriptions. The NFER also lists substantial summaries of its own recent research findings: http:www.nfer.ac.uksummarysumlist.htm Readers can e-mail suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at JPSaunders@leeds.ac.uk

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