It helps to know the territory...
In this section we want you just to understand the nature of how information is dispersed on the Internet. We will give you a few hints for better using your time.
The webhound would prefer not re-explaining the World Wide Web, especially when it is done so eloquently elsewhere:
Of course, you do not have to know all the trivia and history of the three W's to be a webhound. The main skill needed here is the ability to click on (repeat after me)... the blue text. Thinking helps too. That's why you humans have those large brains, eh?
But you should remember...
There is no 100% comprehensive catalog of the web. Nope. And there never will be one. Many pieces of it have been added and others deleted in the time it has taken you to read this sentence. Oops! There go a few more.
The Web is a distributed information system and you are often at the mercy of some nebulous, mysterious webmaster/webmistress at the sites. When you first arrive at a web page, scan it for information on how to contact the person that administers the site. They might provide a phone number/address and more likely, an e-mail address.
If you ever contact the administrator of a web site, you should be as clear and detailed in your comments as possible. You should also include the Internet address or document title of a web page you are referring to-- many web site administrators support thousands of documents!
When using the web, you are subject to the vagaries in the system, the time crunches at mid-day, and forces of nature which can strike portions of the Internet. Here is a webhound secret hint! The slowest traffic times on the Internet are in the early AM hours... Somewhere in the world, as we speak, it is 3 AM in the morning! So you might want to think about exploring sites that are located across the world at times when it is off-peak there.
A lot is out there...
and the vast majority of it is irrelevant to your interests. The web can be a great leveling ground-- it includes large multinational conglomerates that may look no different via the web than a teenager's start-up company operating out of their basement.
Be prepared for results that look like a shotgun pattern- your first attempt at using a search engine may return 50,000 results! Or zero. Consider your path of learning to be a webhound to be like learning how to use any other research tool. With some practice, your results will become more useful and less time intensive. Hopefully, you will be excited by what you are able to find.
But, you have to start somewhere.
And here is one more caution. Make good use of your time. Stay focused on what you are looking for rather than what appears interesting but off-topic. The web can be seductive at leading you miles from your destination.
This section has been mostly background information but is, nevertheless, important for any potential webhound. As a review, think about these questions:
- Where would be a good place to go to learn more about how the web was developed?
- Why is there no one complete index of the Internet?
- Who would you contact if you had a question about this web page? Where would you find such information?
The next step...
You will maximize your results and minimize the "junk" returns if you can first clearly identify what you are looking for. We cover that now in Scoping the Search or you can return to the webhound's home to choose another section.