The challenge of surfing the Internet goes beyond using a search engine that works for you. It is intimately related to effectively finding the information that you need. This requires, first of all, that you know what you want to find and that you know the search engine that is convenient for you to use. Beyond knowing when to use a particular search engine, it is necessary to know how to define the search and refine results. Refining a network search is a fundamental skill for educators and students to have. It demands clarity about what is desired, the ability to express multiple ways of finding it, and perseverance needed for searching diverse sites and book marking those that appear to be interesting. It also requires the individual to determine if what is found adds value to what is known as opposed to diverting interest away from the subject at hand.
General searches can be made with generic tools such as AOL search, GOOGLE search, Microsoft’s LIVE SEARCH, YAHOO search, or KARTOO, a next generation meta search engine that displays results in a visual interface.
When you need to explore certain collections, it is better to utilize specialized search tools such as GOOGLE SCHOLAR which searches documents or sites that have academic value usually produced by research or educational professionals.
If what you are looking for are photographs or images, it is preferable to use FLICKR a system provided by YAHOO, or GOOGLE’s IMAGES which investigates descriptive graphic information. If digital presentations are desired, SLIDESHARE or SCRIBD can be utilized. DIGG is another valuable source; it is announced as a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. Additionally, newspaper archives can be used as another key source of information, but there may be limited access available in this category.
Another way of looking for information on the web is by using bookmarks and tags like the ones offered by DELICIOUS, Blackboard's SCHOLAR or CITEULIKE. These tags may be global or formed by each one of the web sites that the users create. Each tag shows the names that are used in a given collection. Each tag cloud shows the bookmarks used in that particular collection as well as frequencies, information which is reflected in the size and color intensity of each tag. Navigating the cloud (clicking on some of the tag elements) opens the possibility of new relationships that underlie the elements that they have as reference points.