Using Internet Resources

(This project is worth 20 points.)


Purpose

Search Engines such as Google are very useful to quickly find information.  Too often however, even when using advanced searching techniques, there are too many web pages found.  At other times not enough results are found. 

There are specialty search engines available that can be used to limit the results, as well as advanced search operators for common search engines.  In addition there are on-line libraries and directories that allow you to find information in different ways besides keyword searching.  In this project you will learn to use some of these other resources.

A major problem with the Internet is that many web sites seem fine but often contain incorrect information or worse.  As you answer these questions, try to find more than one website with the required information, and compare them.  This isn't always possible but it is worth spending a few extra minutes trying to decide which sites are better or more accurate than others.  Learning how to evaluate web sites is an important skill when finding information and avoiding illegal content or “malware” (viruses, spyware, etc.).

To evaluate a web site, you should compare its information with one or more (different) web sites.  Of course that isn't possible in all cases.  You can also check a site for information you already know to see if it correct.  You can also check a website's reputation at mywot.com or Google Transparency Report.  Finally you can use Google or another search engine to see if others have complained about some web site, say by its having spyware, bad data, or other problems.


Submission Instructions

Complete the following steps and submit your answers as follows.

  1. Using the same submission steps as with the practice assignment, save this file to your computer as “resources.htm”.  Be sure to save as “Web page, HTML only”, and not “Web page, Complete” or any other type.
  2. Enter the following information here:

    Student Name: replace these seven words with your name

  3. Perform the steps below and search the Internet for answers to the questions asked (in the Assignment Directions).  Then enter your answers to the questions in the file you saved (“resources.htm”).  When possible, make sure your answers are accurate by evaluating the web sites you use.
  4. Using the same file saving steps as with the practice assignment, save the edited file as “resources.htm”.
  5. View your resources.htm in your web browser and make sure it displays your answers correctly.  (The page style will be plain but that is fine!)  If you note any problems, go back and edit the file to correct them before uploading and submitting your project.
  6. Return to MyHCC then follow the directions to select, upload and submit the completed file to the correct drop-box.
  7. Note that improperly completed and/or improperly identified mail WILL NOT be graded.

Assignment Directions

  1. Advanced Google Search Operators

    Google provides many advanced search operators, some of which are not well-known (some are undocumented).  Some of these can greatly increase your search efficiency.  In this part of the project, we will explore three of these.

    Sometimes you want information from only one organization, but normal search returns so many results that the one you want isn't listed on the first few pages of results.  You can limit the search results to a single website or domain, using “site:SomeDomainName”.

    With normal searching, pages that contain the search terms anywhere in the document are found.  Often, you can get much better search results by searching only for a search term in a web page's title.  To ensure that any results have a search term in their titles, you can use “intitle:term”, for each term.  If you want all your search terms to be found in the title, use this short-cut: “allintitle: term term ...”.

    Sometimes website are re-designed, and their web pages are put into new locations.  Unless the new site was recently found by Google, any normal search may find the old, incorrect URL instead of the new one.  In such cases, the web page itself often has its name unchanged, just its location on the website.  You can use “inurl:term” for this.

    Directions:

    1. Do a Google search for the official bug report on the Unix shell's dollar-quoting feature.  (Suggested search (without the quotes): “shell dollar-quoting bug report”.)  How many “hits” did you get?
    2. Try the search again, this time limiting the results to the one, official website for such bug reports, using the search (without the quotes) “site:austingroupbugs.net shell dollar-quoting bug report”.)  How many “hits” did you get this time?
    3. Using advanced Google search operators, what is the official download URL for the free (and official) Microsoft software to verify MD5 checksums (a security tool)?
    4. How many web pages contain the words (without the quotes) “prof wayne pollock” in their title? How many web pages contain those same three words anywhere in the page?
    5. Using advanced Google search, what is the URL of a web page that describes all the advanced Google search operators? What search terms did you use to find that web page?
    6. How many web pages on HCC's website contain the word (without the quotes) “FAQ” in their URLs?
  2. Using On-line Libraries

    For centuries there have been public libraries, which are huge repositories of public domain images, music, statistics, government reports, corporate data, books, magazines, and newspapers.  Some of that material that is copyrighted and can't be used without permission, but much is freely available.  And all this is a free service to citizens (in most of the world), supported by government funding.

    Today much material is available on the web, but the majority of books and reports are still not available that way.  A library can be used to locate and information available both on the web and off of it.  Library indexes contain information about all the material in any library in the world, not just the books in that one library.  Using a library you can locate some book or other data of interest and request the loan of those materials, which can be sent to your nearest branch for you to pick up.

    Today most libraries provide their services through a web site.  The purpose of this assignment is practice using the library to search for information.

    Directions:

    1. Access the Internet Public Library at  http://www.ipl.org.
    2. There is an exhibit called Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey.  Who is the photographer?
    3. Are there any online texts about scuba diving in the library?
    4. Access the British Public Library  http://explore.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do.  Find a book by David Cameron titled Nationalism, Self-Determination and the Quebec Question.  (HINT: try an advanced search by author.)
      What is the call (shelf-mark or ISBN) number?
      How many copies of the book can you locate, and where's the nearest library with a copy (hint: look using WorldCat)?
      Does the library have any other books by David Cameron?
  3. Using Databases

    By their very nature, websites can change often.  Some people perceive this as one of the biggest problems on the World Wide Web today.  One site, The Internet Archive, maintains a huge and growing database of old versions of websites.

    Directions:

    1. Go to www.madonna.com.  Who is this site promoting today?
    2. Go to The Internet Archive and locate the Website “www.madonna.com” in their database, known as the wayback machine.  (This is named after a cartoon time machine.)  Who had that website in 1996?
      Warning - you are not asked to check 1998-99.  USE caution if you choose to check 1998-1999.  While the content at that time is not fully archived for obvious reasons, closing the web page may cause a new page to open, to a website that some may find objectionable.  IF YOU CHECK 1998-99, YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED TO CLOSE THE NEW WINDOW QUICKLY.
    3. Who had that website in October, 2000?
    4. Who had that website in April, 2001?
  4. Using Specialty Search Engines

    There are number of Specialty search engines, used for more focused searching.  By only searching for books, movies, people, laws, appliances, etc., you can use a simpler search than with a general search engine such as Google, and still end up with only relevant matches.  (The trick is to know how to find these Specialty search engines!)

    Directions:

    1. You can use BestBookBuys.com, isbn.nu, or FetchBook.info to search on-line bookstores to find which ones sell some book.

      What is the lowest cost to buy a brand-new (not used) regular edition (not an “international edition”) of our class textbook available?  Which store sells it (new, not used) the cheapest (non-member pricing) with a rating of 3 or more stars?  (Do not list BestBookBuys.com, Ebay, Amazon Marketplace, any search engine; only list an actual seller.)

    2. If you wanted to know which on-line stores sold clock-radios or pianos, or who offered plumbing services in your area, you could use any search engine such as Google.  But if you wanted to see what people who recently bought them thought about them, it will be difficult or impossible to find that information on Google.  Most reviews, opinions, etc. are not posted on regular websites, but on “web logs” or “blogs”.  icerocket.com is a search engine just for blogs.  Another one is Google Blog Search.  Since every year there are fewer and fewer blog sites, you should also search social media sites such as Twitter.com or Reddit.com.  Another source for reviews of products and the stores that sell them is bizrate.com (and Amazon.com).

      Do not simply judge by counting the number of stars!  Many times, dozens, hundreds, or thousands of “fake” reviews are posted to inflate ratings, or to deflate competitor ratings.  You must read the reviews to see if they appear fake or not.  Fake reviews have little real content, and are usually short.  Learn how to spot fake reviews!  Here are two helpful articles: TheWireCuter.com and WikiHow.com.  You can try FakeSpot.com which will analyze the reviews for any Amazon or Yelp product.

      Suppose you were in the market to buy a fancy home stereo system.  What do most people think of the JBL line of bookshelf speakers, and where did you find that information?

      Lookup the “JetPal Premium Classic Aviator UV400 Sunglasses with Options for Flash Mirror and Polarized Lens” product on Amazon.com, and read some of the reviews.  What do you think of this product?

      Now, copy the URL of that product (not the review page but the product itself) and check it out on FakeSpot.com.  What is your opinion of the product now?

    3. Once you find a good site for something you usually add it to your favorites/bookmarks.  But such great sites can be difficult to find in the first place!  del.icio.us (briefly known as “delicious.com”) is a website that allows people to share their favorites/bookmarks with others.  You can then search through this collection to find useful websites.  You can find my bookmarks at https://del.icio.us/wpollock.  This is sometimes known as social bookmarking.  (You can also upload your own bookmarks/favorites, to use at both home and work.)

      Based on the bookmarks on delicious.com, what is a good website to locate “song lyrics”? What is the chorus to the song Louie Louie by the Kingsmen (to search, click next to “@wpollock”, and type in some search terms)?

    4. Based on the bookmarks on delicious.com, what is a good “movie trivia” website? In how many movies to date has Clint Eastwood appeared as an actor (and not just as a director)?

Copyright ©2017 by Wayne Pollock