from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story: Traces Of GuiltSaturday, 28th November 2015 23:00 - BBC FourAs Gabriel Weston discovers: every contact leaves a trace... Read more: Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story: Traces Of Guilt
The Hunt: Episode 4: Hunger at SeaSunday, 29th November 2015 16:50 - BBC One
Ireland with Simon Reeve: Episode 2Sunday, 29th November 2015 20:00 - BBC Two
Power to the People: Episode 3: The Customer is Always RightTuesday, 1st December 2015 21:00 - BBC Four
Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story: Traces Of GuiltAvailable until Tuesday, 29th December 2015 00:00As Gabriel Weston discovers: every contact leaves a trace... Read more: Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story: Traces Of Guilt
BBC Inside Science: Astronomy Q&A, CERN and ancient genomesAvailable for over a year
All in the Mind: Mindfulness, porn addiction and slothfulnessAvailable for over a year
Power to the People: Episode 2: It's Not Easy Being GreenAvailable until Friday, 25th December 2015 04:00
Star Wars VII: Myth and fairy taleWhat storytelling styles and genres can be applied to Star Wars. Sarah Haslam investigates... Read more: Star Wars VII: Myth and fairy tale
OpenLearn Live: 27th November 2015The oldest parish in Ireland - then more free learning through the day. Read more: OpenLearn Live: 27th November 2015
Introduction to ecosystemsIf we don’t grasp why ecosystems function, it becomes harder to determine possible reasons for... Try: Introduction to ecosystems now
English: skills for learningThis course is for anybody who is thinking of studying for a university degree and would like to... Try: English: skills for learning now
Information on the web
The World Wide Web is a vast information resource. This unit will provide you with the...
The World Wide Web is a vast information resource. This unit will provide you with the foundation skills to use search engines confidently to locate both information and images on the Web. You will also learn how to critically assess and reference the information you have found for study purposes.
By the end of this free course you should be able to:
- use search engines confidently to locate information and images on the Web;
- critically address resources that you locate on the Web;
- describe some of the processes underlying search engines.
- Learning outcomes
- Information on the web
- 1 Accessing online information
- 2 How to do it
- 3 An Internet search example
- 4 What's going on
- 5 What it means
- 6 Where to learn more
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn and track your progress. Make your learning visible!
When you submit your query, the search engine will look up each word of the query in the index and construct a list of hits. Hits are pages that contain all of the words in your query.
If you perform an advanced search, additional filters are applied to the hit list. For example, if you search for documents in the .ac.uk domain only, pages from other domains will be excluded from the hit list.
Some search engines provide extra features. Most will check the spelling of the words you entered, and warn you if you make a spelling mistake (but remember that many web pages use American spelling). Some offer stemming, that is, including common grammatical variants. Some may search for common synonyms as well as the word you typed.
Replacing grammatical variants of a word by its root or stem; for example replacing 'searches' and 'searching' by 'search'.
Look at your favourite search engine. Which of these features does it offer? Look for the help pages or search tips.
4.3.1 Searching for images
When I searched for an image of a gorilla, was the search engine really recognising images of gorillas? The answer is no. Instead it was searching for the text ‘gorilla’ associated with the image – in the filename, in the alt text description or in the text surrounding the image on the web page.
Alt text is a description of an image for people who might have difficulty seeing the image itself. It can be seen when a mouse is passed over the image.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Information and Communication Technologies courses or view the range of currently available OU Information and Communication Technologies courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 11th May 2009
Last updated on: Thursday, 18th October 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.