The internet is like one vast Library, Museum and Art Gallery rolled into one. There are billions of pages of information on every subject under the sun, but how do you find what you are looking for?
You use a Search Engine!! Do not be frightened by that word Engine - you and I do not have to worry about how it works; all we need to do is learn to use it, which is very simple. There are lots of search engines and I will tell you about some of them later, but we will start with just one, the one I consider the very best - Google.
Go to the website http://www.google.com/ and you will see a search box in the middle where you can type in the subject you want to search for, and then press the Search button.
A list of pages about your subject will appear ...using a Search Engine is as easy as that!
So why am I writing a whole web page telling you how to do it? Well, to search efficiently and actually find what you are looking for you need to know a bit more...~~***~~
One can spend hours and hours browsing through subjects of interest... you can look for camping areas in state forests, find tutorials on anything from watercolour painting to tying trout flies. find medical information, study the butterflies of the United Kingdom, find recipes and household hints, look up maps, find particular news items, pictures and music, find others who share your hobbies, read book reviews, find suppliers of an item you need..... the list is endless.
~~***~~If you are looking for something a bit more specific, there are ways of refining your search.
Say you want a muffin recipe..... ok, type in those words... heavens above - there are 187,000 pages with muffin recipes on them - where do I start to find the one I want? OK I will refine my search a bit and tell them I want muffin recipes with nuts - I will type in *muffin recipe +nuts*.. that is better; now I only have to look through 18.800 pages!! But actually the nuts I have in the pantry are walnuts so let's limit the nuts to those.... muffin recipe +walnuts. Aha, now we have only 10,300 pages to wade through. Now some of the recipes have raisins as well and I don't want any raisins in my recipe so why not try muffin recipe +walnuts -raisins - well that has got it down to 5,030.~~***~~If you want to search for a particular phrase where it is important that the words appear in the right order, use quotation marks around your phrase.... for example if you search for George Washington you will get millions of pages with both those words on the page, but not necessarily together. (You might get a page with this information on it *George Smith went to Washington...* To make sure that the phrase appears as you want it type in "George Washington". There will be many pages about him - what is it you want to know? His dates? The story of the cherry tree? Type in what you want - "George Washington" birth date - (you only put his NAME inside the quotation marks - the other words do not necessarily have to be in that order, and if you limit them to that order you might not find what you are looking for at all!)
Another reason for using quotation marks is if you want to find the words of a song or a poem. Type in the little bit you can remember, in inverted commas "fleece was white as snow" and you will instantly find pages and pages all giving you all the words of Mary had a Little Lamb.
~~***~~Now a little hint about how to organise what you have found. If you find 5,000 pages all about your topic, are you going to open them each individually and then go back again and again to find something more to your liking? No - an easier way is to look through the suggested links, and right-click on those that look possible - right click on a link, from the menu that appears choose 'Open link in new window'.....then minimise that window while you right click on another link. If you open several sites like this you can examine each on, close it if it is not of interest, and still have the original search page open so that you can continue searching.~~***~~You can search for other items too.... have a look at Google's page and just above the search box you will see Web Images Groups News more � ..... if you click on Images and then type in the image you want you will get a selection to choose from. Want a picture of an oak tree? a tortoise? Princess Diana? Type it in and have a look. Just one word of warning... images are copyright unless specified otherwise - do no help yourself to anything that belongs to someone else. If you click on the News link and type in your subject in the search box, you will see a list of pages about your subject. You can sort these by date, so that today's news about your search topic (eg Brisbane bushfires) appears at the top of the list.
Explore Google's site by clicking on their other links - Groups, More... and you will learn that there are lots more things we can find out!~~***~~
Google is not the only Search Engine... Have a look at http://www.searchthingy.com/search.asp for the list of top ten Search Engines. Then there are specialised ones like http://musicsearch.com/ for finding music, or various others listed at http://www.searchability.com/~~***~~Finally, just a word to those who have been typing in www.realestate.com (or similar web addresses) into Google's search box.......... if you KNOW the address of the page you want, you enter it at the top of your browser, in the address bar. A search engine is for finding the stuff that you DON'T know where to find!~~***~~