A good online information site is not hard to find for any topic. By typing a few key words into most Internet search engines, you will find pages of related sites, and each of those will probably have links.
One thing to remember about the search engine boxes, they will search every word you put in, unless you indicate you want the string of words searched as a single item. Ways to do this: Enclose your requrest in quotes "what I want to know"; or putting a hypen between words creates much the same effect what-I-want-to-know.
Each search engine usually has an "advanced search" selection that gives more information about how to type your reqreust for that particular engine. In the results, there are often prompts to "see more entries like this," which allows you to tighten your focus.
But after you have found the pertinent sites, what is the best way to catalog the information? Here are four ideas about taking "notes" from Internet sources.
- MARK - First, bookmark (Favorites) the page. You should start a new bookmark folder for your subject so it doesn't get lost in a long list.
- FIND - Use commands in your browser's menu bar to search for specific information in a site. On most browsers, keying in Control+F triggers this search command. By doing this, you can type in the name or phrase you're looking for and go right to that section of the page without having to read all the text.
- SAVE - If you haven't already done so, make a folder on your hard drive for your subject. Then you can download the cyber page and read when you aren't online (Be advised, the consecutive pages and links won't always be accessible unless you're online). To do this, find the "save this page" in your browser menu. Be certain to indicate a specific place for the download to be saved to. If you don't, the material will probably end up in a TEMP file deep in the bowels of you C drive.
- PRINT - Don't forget to print what you need, especially for bibliographies and statistics. Some pages have a "Print Friendly" button to get material in the right format for your printer. If you don't find one, simply highlight the text you want and choose copy (Control+C), then open a new document in your word program and paste (Control+V). Now you can print it out at your leisure. When you copy and paste from a page, be certain to also copy and paste the page's URL. (The URL is the address in your menu bar selector; it starts with http://) Put that in bold at the beginning of the material, that way you will have the reference for documentation.
Remember that although the Internet is full of public domain material, many sites have restrictions as to what you can do with the material they post. If you plan to quote material from a site, find and read the site information. Even if restrictions aren't listed, it is advisable (and courteous) to contact the site to ask for permission to use the material. When you use the quote, be certain to list all the URL information about where you found it and any copyright data; it's best to note that you have permission to quote the material.
Researching on the Internet opens a library of resources you can access from your home. It won't take long to get comfortable with all the ways to find and note information.
A final note: Check and cross check any information you find. More than in a land-based library, the Internet offers so many opinions and perspectives, you need to be certain you are reading a true fact and not someone's speculation.