There are right ways -- and wrong ways -- of using the Internet as a search resource. Newcomers often make the mistake of thinking that "everything" can be found on the net. Wizened information professionals often mistakenly believe that the Net is nothing but an online cyberslum offering nothing of merit.
The truth lies somewhere between these two extreme views.
Washington Researchers is a firm specializing in business and competitive intelligence research. In business since 1974, they've learned a lot about searching the Net, and have distilled their experience into these ten wonderful nuggets of wisdom.
The Ten Commandments of Internet Searching
(according to Washington Researchers)
1. Know your search engine. Remembering that only a portion of all the websites are indexed by the best search engines leads right into #2.
2. Use multiple search engines (or metacrawlers)
3. Don't count on being anonymous. Don't forget about those cookies!
4. Search for sources, not just information. Look for people you can call to get more detailed information.
5. Consider the source of what you find. Just because it is in print, doesn't mean it's true. Information can be typed incorrectly or copied from another source that was wrong. Or perhaps it is written just to be misleading.
6. Be prepared to spend some money to get the really good stuff.
7. Ask, "Is there any reason to believe what I want is out there?" BEFORE going on-line.
8. Don't use the Internet to do a database service's work.
9. Know your outcome. Searching or surfing? Searching has an outcome in mind. Surfing implies enjoying the ride letting yourself be taken along where links lead you. Each has its purpose -- understand the difference.
10. Buy a kitchen timer. If you don't watch yourself, you will spend hours looking for something that can't be found or you will end up surfing instead of searching.
Reprinted with permission from Intelligence Weekly, a free newsletter from Washington Researchers.
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