The Ten Commandments of Internet Searching

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.

Washington Researchers

Intelligence Weekly Subscription Information

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Online content news
Death Of A Content Management Start Up...
Content-Wire Feb 27 2002 12:59PM GMT
Online portals news
Yahoo Nazi scandal resurfaces... Feb 27 2002 9:14AM GMT
Domain name news
Watchdogs denounce ICANN revamp...
Boston Globe Feb 27 2002 7:12AM GMT
Online search engines news
Lycos Fee-Based Search Does Not Taint Rank... Feb 27 2002 7:10AM GMT
Online portals news
U.S. Says 5 Internet Providers Can Use AOL...
New York Times Feb 27 2002 6:15AM GMT
Internet: international news
Copy of first book printed in Britain goes on the Internet...
AP via New Jersey Online Feb 27 2002 4:02AM GMT
Web developer news
.Net guru: Stamp out HTML...
Interactive Week Feb 26 2002 7:50PM GMT
Online legal issues news
WC3 does U-turn on web patents... Feb 26 2002 4:57PM GMT
Top internet stories
Greater government role in Net criticized...
CNN Feb 26 2002 4:24PM GMT
Online portals news
Fast-food firm builds whopper of a portal...
ZDNet Feb 26 2002 2:30PM GMT
Internet: international news
British Library digitises Chaucer for the internet...
Guardian Unlimited Books Feb 26 2002 2:16PM GMT
Domain name news
If ICANN Cant, Who Should?...
Wired News Feb 26 2002 11:38AM GMT
Online search engines news
Northern Light Still Leaving the Light On... Feb 26 2002 7:56AM GMT
powered by

About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.