You should now have a clearer idea of the context in which accounting is set. You should also be aware that accounting is the recording and processing of data into information, of the characteristics of ‘good’ information, and of the relationship between accounting and organisational objectives.
Now, you should complete the following self-assessed question.
Visit each of the following online search engines: alltheweb, metacrawler and Yahoo; and in each search for the word 'accounting'. Now spend at least 45 minutes comparing the results by looking at some of the sites for each list, trying to find some useful looking sites returned by each of the search engines. Which of the search engines do think returns the most useful results?
The three sites can all provide you with links to useful information, but they all do so in different ways. The first, alltheweb, does so by accessing a vast database of URLs – look at how many more links its search produced than the other two. This has the disadvantage that you will find that a large proportion of the sites found are useless to you, so you are paying for easy access to a large database with increased time spent filtering out rubbish.
The second site, metacrawler, uses a very different approach. When you ask it to perform a search it then searches a set of other search engines and provides you with what it believes to be the most helpful links from each of them. Generally, the results should be of a higher immediate quality than those from alltheweb (as you won't need to do nearly as much weeding out of rubbish). However, it doesn't produce nearly such a large list of links.
Yahoo presents you with a very different form of result. You can see the way in which it is organised in hierarchies. This allows you to narrow down a search by going deeper and deeper into a branch of the database. It has the advantage that once you find the right branch, any information found there will likely be of some use. It has the disadvantage that compared to the search engines like alltheweb, metacrawler, webcrawler, lycos, and altavista it has a very small database.