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Course
Homepage

Course Modules:

Online
Community

Background
Information

Basic
Web Searching

Managing
Resources

Advanced
Web Searching

Comprehensive
Web Search
Strategies

Course
Projects

Assessment

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Introduction to search engines

It was estimated that at the beginning of 1998, the number of documents available on the World Wide Web surpassed the number of documents available at the Library of Congress. This is astounding when you consider that at the first web documents appeared in the late 80's.

Estimates in the Fall of 2001 placed the total number of webpages at nearly 3 billion webpages. By the summer of 2005, the total number of web pages was estimated to be over 600 Billion. Undoubtedly, that number is even higher today. Never in history has an information explosion of this magnitude taken place!

Even though there may be more documents available on the Web than in the Library of Congress, there is a fundamental difference in how those documents are organized. Someone at the Library of Congress knows how many documents they have. No one is sure how many webpages are found on the web. The Library of Congress has an all-encompassing classification system, the Web most certainly does not. Someone knows the location of every document in the Library of Congress. No one can say that about the Web. It is as if someone had taken all the documents in the Library of Congress and randomly thrown them into a huge room with no attempt to count, classify or organize the collection. Herein lies the fundamental problem with doing research on the web. Where do you begin?

Fortunately, Web Search Engines are available. While they are far from perfect, the search engines can aim you in the right direction most of the time. In this section of the Basic Searching module, you will examine several of these search engines.

Earlier, you selected a topic for your ongoing web search project. You will use that topic in the next activities.

continue

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Fresno Pacific University  |  Center for Professional Development

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