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The Web

With millions of Web pages available to you, how do you find the best ones for your research?

First of all, be aware that each search engine uses software (called spiders or robots) to compile a database of pages found on the publicly accessible Web. When you enter a search, the search engine scans its own database to match your terms against terms in the pages of its database. So, each search engine searches the part of the Web it has collected — not the whole Web — and each search engine has a somewhat different database.

Soon you may not even need to search for information. Intelligent agents will do much of the work because they will filter all available information and retrieve only the data that you need. The information they find will become increasingly tailored to your interests as they evolve to match what is important to you.

For now though, without intelligent filtering software, you must wade through all available information to find those articles and Web sites that will be useful for your research. To do this successfully, you must be able to identify appropriate databases and search engines, understand how they are organized, search them effectively and know how to evaluate the results.

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