Updated  December 2002. All rights reserved, Arlyn Freed ©2000

Internet Search Tips
The internet offers many opportunities for listening practice.  There's only one problem: how to find the material?  It's not easy, but there are ways to simplify your search.

Basic Terminology and Usage:
First, it's important to understand some basic vocabulary.  Computers and the Internet use what seem to be unusual words.  But, if you think about them, they are actually very logical.

Web sites Places on the internet you can visit.
Web pages Each site has several pages; you can browse the pages on one site by clicking on "links".
Browser The word browse means "to look around", like when you're shopping in a store, but haven't decided what you want to buy.  A browser is a program that allows you to "look around" the Internet -- like "window shopping" !
Ex: Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer are browsers.
Scroll There are scroll bars on the right side and at the bottom of each browser window.   Click on the arrows or "click and drag" the button on the bar to scroll (move) up and down the page.
Link A link works like a bicycle chain; a link in a chain connects all the links together. Links on the Internet connect you to other sites or to other places on the same page (anchors/targets).  Links are usually blue and underlined.
Location This is very important!  A location is also
called a URL or a web address.  If you can't remember the location of a web site or web page, you may never find it again!  Unless you save it as a bookmark  or a favorite. . . 
The same way you put a piece of paper in a book (so you can re-open the book to that same page) a bookmark remembers the URL of a web site and takes you there quickly and easily. 
In Netscape you can save a bookmark by clicking "Add Bookmark" on the Toolbar.  To remove a bookmark, click "Edit Bookmarks", highlight the bookmark with cursor and press "delete" key. Internet Explorer calls these "Favorites".
Click and
Click (once) on the mouse to open a link.
Double-click (twice) to open a file or an application.
Server Servers are like waiters in a restaurant.
Each server "waits on" certain customers and "takes their orders" -- their requests to visit web sites.
But sometimes there are too many customers trying to order their web sites at the same time.  This is what's happening when you receive the message,"The server is busy, try again later," or if it takes a very long time for the web page to appear.  (Imagine a very busy waiter in a restaurant filled with hungry customers!)
For more information, follow this link to a glossary of internet jargon:

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Using Search Engines

There are many, many, many, many, MANY search engines on the Internet. But only a few of them are good for academic research. One good search engine is called .

Using boolean Language :
Google uses Boolean language.  Boolean language is a special code you can use with search engines, to limit your search. For example, try to find listening material for ESL students.  The URL for Google is: http://www.google.com. This text is linked, so you can just click the link and Google will open in a new window.

Using the plus sign (+):
If you type: listening resources in the search window, Google will automatically put it into Boolean language and will search for: listening+resources. The plus sign (+) in Boolean means: find web pages that contain these words.

This search took only .03 seconds but... Google found 1,380,000 web pages!!!  You need to limit the search, so Google will find less pages for you to examine.

Using quotation marks ("   "):
Now type: "listening resources", using quotation marks to contain the text. The quotation marks tell the search engine to look for web pages with the words between the quotes next to each other on a page.

This search took only .028 seconds and reduced the number to 1,180 web pages!!!

Using the minus sign ( - ):
To reduce this number further, use the minus sign to subtract sites you DON'T want.  If you type: "listening resources" -music, Google will search through these 1,180 pages and subtract any sites that contain the word music on the page.

NOTE: This is very important: To use the minus sign correctly, you must leave one 'space' between the previous word and the minus sign, but there CANNOT be any space between the minus sign and the word you are subtracting (look at the example below).

This search took .17 seconds and reduced the number to 611 web pages

Including "extensions" or application names in your search:
At the end of all files there is an extension; these extensions tell computers what type of file it is and what program the computer needs to use so you can open the file.  To listen to RealAudio Player files some extensions are .ra, .rm or .ram, for QuickTime Player .au, .aiff or .aif, and Windows Media Player, .wav .

On some search engines it's helpful to include an audio file extension or the name of the player in your search; on other search engines you can actually search by 'audio' or 'video' only -- but very often these are music files and don't contain academic material.

This search found 23 pages.  Now, that's much easier than trying to look at 1,380,000 web pages, isn't it?   However, by adding another specific search word, you can limit the number of pages even further; a good researcher has to choose search words wisely.

Adding the letters "esl" will help you locate material specifically for ESL listeners.  Now you have narrowed your search to only two pages.  Carefully read the summaries before visiting a web site, this will further help you to eliminate sites:

Hmm, this looks like a good page for listening materials.  Notice that each "listing" in Google has the title of the web page, a summary about the site and the location (URL).  You could type the URL into the browser's  location window, but this isn't necessary because the title to the web page is linked. Just click the link and Google will take you to the site.

Now ...try your own search!         

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