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May 19, 2002
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Building Internet Intuition. "One cannot overemphasize the importance of discipline and a clear research agenda in using the Internet." - Bill Arkin
"The basic rule is to dig deeper into links when pages are getting more relevant, but not when they are taking you far afield from the original query."
posted by sheauga (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The basic rule is to dig deeper into links when pages are getting more relevant, but not when they are taking you far afield from the original query.

Duh, right? Who exactly is this article being written for?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:07 PM on May 19, 2002


My "Internet intuition" is more Zen like. Rather than forcing a result to come to me, I reach out and allow it to show up on its own accord, and it usually does. At least that's what I think, being ignorant of what I haven't seen and believing that in most circumstances one set of information is as useful as another.
posted by semmi at 2:38 PM on May 19, 2002


Written for students at SAIS- one of the top international studies programs.
posted by sheauga at 2:47 PM on May 19, 2002


I saw a post on usenet a few months ago written by a college student who was getting credit for posting to usenet. She was in some Internet 101 class and one assignment was to join a usenet group and post a message. I guess these are the people who need to be told not to follow irrelevant links. How depressing.
posted by swerve at 3:17 PM on May 19, 2002


My bad, let me try again. This link is an NBC analyst's attempt to share his Internet research techniques. What surprised me about this text was the fact that the author admits that search engines are not enough-- you actually need to get to know your way around your subject area.

There's so much punditry, opinion, and hot air blowing about on the net, it seems appropriate to share tips on how to go about finding more insightful sorts of information. Anyone found something better along these lines?
posted by sheauga at 5:38 PM on May 19, 2002


one cannot overemphasize the importance of discipline and a clear research agenda in using the library. The basic rule is to dig deeper into books when pages are getting more relevant, but not when they are taking you far afield from the original query.
posted by quonsar at 6:15 PM on May 19, 2002


Well, duh.

I used to work in IT a library at a large, (US) state university. One of the basic courses taught to all incoming students was how to use the internet: essentially, how to hone one's internet intuition.

It's more than logic, it's essentially practice. It's a pain to teach, so what was done was exercise after exercise and eventually, they "get it." The students were given scavenger hunt tactics until the recognized the signs that would lead them in the direction they needed to go.
posted by flumignan at 6:50 PM on May 19, 2002


Interesting link, sheauga. While I'm dubious about some of the specific examples in the article, it's good to see someone making an attempt at serious explanation of information-search techniques for smart but inexperienced newcomers. Now if we had more critical thinking instruction...
posted by blissbat at 11:27 PM on May 19, 2002


I think the first example is excellent. Yes, I know that, and probably most of us do, but it's surprising how few people realize that you have to search with specific terms unless you're looking for the broadest level of information. The problem with the net isn't finding things because they're all right at your fingertips. It's finding the right things, which can be an entirely different ball game.

Yes, there's a lot of common-sense internet stuff here, like checking out an URL by hover before clicking on it. Again, though, you'd be surprised how few people realize you can do this at all. There was the blogger a few months ago, quite literate, using blogspot, able to customize her template, who simply had no idea that you could use Control-F to search on a long web page! Heck, there are people who don't understand that the address bar is for urls, or that web fields are for search terms and not urls.

It may seem an odd place to find what most of us consider internet kindergarten level advice, but it still needs to be said, because many smart people will never read those introductory texts.

Heck, telling people to stop paging through query results is even useful. Check your referrers, and you'll find somebody on page 25 of a Google result about once a day.

So, not useful for MeFites, perhaps -- but I bet every one of us knows half-a-dozen people that it could be sent to.
posted by dhartung at 11:54 PM on May 19, 2002


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