Use what is already built...
Now that you have identified the scope of your search and are comfortable with using your web browser tools, we will begin the "hunt". In this section you will search for information by going to places on the web where others have already catalogued links to other related sites, organized by subject.
There are quite a few sites that have already done quite a bit of the work for you-- these Starting Points mainly are good collections of pointers to content at remote sites. The organization may be topical, and may have very broad categories or very narrow. You may even be able to search among all of the listings from within one particular site.
Even if you do not find what you are looking for in these kinds of sites, you may find it just a click away from one of the listed sites. This exploration can lead to tangential paths, but for many webhounds, the exploration is a real adventure.
Things to look for...
One thing to note as you explore these sites is how new sites are added and what are the criteria for adding links. Some of them have forms where anybody can add to the collection; the number of links may be huge but the quality may be questionable. Also, you may want to get a feel for how often the site seems to be updated.
Some sites are gathered and built by people such as librarians that are well versed in information organization. They do the "webhounding" for you. Some have detailed reviews of each listed site while others just provide a title and a link.
Webhound's favorite starting points...
Here is a short list of subject-organized sites with some examples of how we might use it in our search for information about Egypt and Mayan history.
is a hierarchical, searchable, up-to-date index of links. Yahoo is so well known and for good reason- they have one of the most extensive and cross-linked collections. You can browse through their subject-oriented categories or search the entire Yahoo site. Anyone can add a site, so the quality is variable, although some of the better sites are noted by different icons.
- The webhound takes a trip to Yahoo's site. Scanning the topics, it seems that for our search for information about Egyptian and Mayan cultures, that the Social Science category fits. Follow that link!
- Next, scanning the sub-categories that show up, we take the route for Anthropology and Archaeology.
- One more click gets us into the Archaeology section. There is an entire subject category for Egyptology, which looks like we are getting close.
- And here we find a listing to more than 100 sites related to Egyptology. From there we might explore any of these sites (which come from web sites other than Yahoo... It is just like the big phone book-- once we find a plumber, we have to call her on the phone.)
- Now we backtrack to the page in step 3 (using the Go menu or the Back buttons). Not seeing anything related to Mayan Civilization, we try a keyword search for the word "Maya". First, we select the option for
just this category and we come up with a list of possibilities.
- Next we try the option Search all of Yahoo and this time we come even more links to other Yahoo areas.
The important lesson here is that finding things from Subject-Organized sites depends on the organizational decisions by the site's creators. That is why it helps to have a facility to search all of Yahoo.
from the University of Michigan's
are subject- oriented and are produced by library science professionals.
These sites are carefully reviewed. The quality is usually high, and the sites can be coming from other web servers.
- Going to the entrance page, we quickly see a link for Social Sciences & Social Issues.
- The next sub-category that looks promising is archaeology and from there is another link for ancient Near East which we hope means Egypt.
- Now were are deep enough to see some information. We now have a link and a decsription of a site known as ABZU Guide to Resources for the Study of the Ancient Near East Available on the Internet . The Argus Clearinghouse provides ratings to indicate the value of information (this one got 4 out of 5) and also the date of how recent the site was evaluated.
- Returning once more to the page in step 2, we might traverse the path under anthropology where again we may find another rated and relevant site.
Open Directory Project
"is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors." It is organized into easily navigable subject directories and has no advertisements getting in the way.
- We first go to the main
directory entrance and see a list of topics.
- From the list of links on the left, we follow the one for Science.
- This produces a 2 sets of sub-sections. Choose Social Sciences in the subjects listed in the second set.
- Our next selection has a link that reads Archaeology.
- Since we are looking for ancient Egypt, we follow the first link for Periods and Cultures.
- With one more link from the word Ancient Egypt we see now a long list of relevant resources.
- Going one step farther, we enter the Centre for Computer-Aided Egyptological Research link which takes us to a site that specializes in the study of ancient Egypt.
Even More Sites!
We leave the rest of these Starting Point Sites for your exploration pleasure. And these are just a few of the sites that provide this type of categorizing of web sites.
The premier web search site is crosslinked with this subject organized directory.
The Internet Scout Report
is a weekly publication that provides a sampling of the best of newly announced Internet resources. Their reviews are concise but informative.
The "public's library" on the internet.
Internet Public Library
With a long history of publishing Almanacs, this web version provides facts and information on just about anything
Ask Jeeves! Encyclopedia.com
another online encylcopedia
Here's what to do...
The webhound has prepared some exercises for you to start searching for your intended topic by going to major Starting Point sites.
Look at where you are...
- Why would you have to explore different categories from the same site, such as Yahoo?
- What are the advantages of going directly to a site like the Clearinghouse for Subject-Oriented Internet Resource Guides? What are the disadvantages?
- How many different sites did you investigate? Which ones seemed the most comprehensive? the most responsive?
The next step...
Next, we tackle the big league Web Searches with Spiders, Robots, Worms, and other crawling critters. Or, you can run back to the webhound's home to choose another section.