A little preparation goes a long way...
A good webhound does not just scamper off like a yelping wind-chasing puppy! No, before you start your exploration, make sure that you know how to save and organize your results. Some, most, or perhaps all of these tools may be familiar to you, but the webhound tries not to make any assumptions.
These suggestions are not complex, and the exact steps may vary depending on what web browser software that you use. You may want to spend some time exploring the help system built into your web browser so that you understand its menus, buttons, and features.
Going directly to a site...
You are not at all limited to navigating to sites by just what you can click on! If you know the Internet address of a site, otherwise known as a URL or Universal Resource Locator, you may go right to the site.
Just click on a button or select a menu item labeled Open Location or Open, type the URL into the provided field, and click the button. Your web browser should then try to connect to that site.
Here is a webhound warning-- spelling counts! One small typo may give you a "No Such Host" or the dreaded, un-descriptive "404 Not Found" message. Plus, in many cases capitalization (or lack thereof) counts.
On many web browsers, there is a one line text field at the top of the screen that displays the URL of the web page currently in view. Often, you can simply type in a new URL in that field and press RETURN to connect to a site.
But why type in those horrendously long and often cryptic addresses? The webhound has very poor typing skills (paws on a keyboard is tricky!). If you are reading about a web site in your e-mail messages, or come across a URL in any computer file, you can simply use your mouse to select the text of the URL, Copy it, and then Paste it into the location field of your web browser.
If you do it right, you can be a webhound without using paper (or, as we say here in the pound, "paper-less training" a web puppy!)
Don't wait around...
A serious webhound has business to do! and thus is not a mild-mannered lapdog... if a page is loading slowly, often you can click the stop button which halts the communication and often displays all of the text and skips the slow-poke pictures. Or, if you want to follow a hypertext item that appears as a page loads, you don't have to sit like a good dog until all of those graphics load-- just click the link to jump ahead.
Also, if the images are a nuisance, you can often turn off the autoloading of images from the Options or Preferences menu of your web browser. With Image Auto-loading turned off, you will see a generic icon that represents each image; you can click on these one at a time if you really want to see the images associated with each icon.
Also note that as you nudge your mouse around a web page, anything that is a hyperlink will show it's destination (where you will go if you click the link) in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser. Sometimes, you can guess whether it is a link worth following by glancing at the URL the link reveals.
Many web pages have clickable "images"- these are pictures that are hyperlinked to more web information. A good site will also provide matching links as plain hypertext-- sometimes these are more descriptive than some picture of a button. If time is of the essence, follow a link if a web site offers a "text-only" or "low graphics" version of their pages. If you have all day to dawdle, then linger around for the big fat graphics.
Most people fairly quickly figure out web page navigation (that's why it is so popular!) with the Back and Forward buttons- to jump between pages already viewed. However, you don't have to flip one page at a time if you took a long route to get to a site! You can easily hop back several steps to previously viewed pages (and forward too) by using the Go or History pull-down menu.
Leaving your mark...
Okay... you have found, after about 152 mouse-clicks, the supreme web site. It is your nirvana. Do you have to retrace your 151 previous steps to find it again? Of course not! Most web browsers have an ability to "bookmark" the location of that site so it is available at anytime from a pull-down menu. It stays there even when you quit the browser and come back another day.
Look under the Bookmarks or Favorites pull-down menu for an item to Add-- This usually will append the menu with the name of the web page currently in view. At any later time, from viewing any other web page, just select this item again from the menu, and ZAP! you are instantly returned... in one step.
There are many things you can do with bookmarks that are beyond the scope of what we'd like to cover here. But, you should also be able to bring up a window that lists your bookmarks, so that you can edit their name, delete them, and organize them into categories. You can also be exported as files to share with friends and fellow webhounds.
Just explore those browser features to find more gems!
A simple log...
The webhound accumulates heaps of bookmarks, piles of URLs, and even though we try, it gets messy. Another approach for documenting what you find is to use a simple text program or a database program on your computer to keep a record of your hound work. When you come to a site that you want to remember, open a text editor. You can use the Copy and Paste method to not only copy the URL from the web browser, but you can also copy/paste the text from the web page. This way, you not only have the title, and address of the web site, but you can have a short description so that you will remember why it was so interesting!
If the whole page seems interesting, you can also save the content as a plain text file. Select Save As... from the File pull-down menu of your web browser. You can then designate a file name and location on your computer to save the text version of the web page in view. Be sure to select the option for Save as Text. Most web browsers do a nice job of matching, in plain text characters, the layout of the web page.
Here's what to do...
If you would like to practice with some of these tools and tips, the webhound has prepared some practice exercises for you. As you begin to accumulate information, make sure that you keep track of what you find!
Look at where you are...
- What is a URL? What is the URL for this page? How did you find it?
- What does the browser status bar tell you about this hypertext link? How does it happen?
- If someone sends you an e-mail message that mentions a web address, what is the easiest way to go there from my web browser?
- You are at a friend's home showing her how to find stock quotes on the web, Her modem is slow and she is not impressed as you wait agonizing minutes for the pictures to load from every page you visit. What can you do if your friend is mainly looking for information about the stocks she owns?
- How many bookmarks have you made until now?
- How do you save a web page as a text file?
The next step...
Next, we learn to find things by scouting among the major Starting Point sites. Or, you can run back to the webhound's home to choose another section.