Finding information on the web

Request lab subject

Lab 2 will be a small project.
You probably requested your historical person or event in an e-mail to the instructor, at the end of your week 1 work.
If you did not select your historical person or event then, please do so now.
Every student must select a different historical person or event. I choose Martha Washington; you choose someone else, or an event. If you choose someone very well known, like Mahatma Gandhi, you may wish to provide a second and third choice, in case your first choice is already taken.

Finding information

The World Wide Web has an enormous amount of information. The problem is: how do you find what you want? We will look at several techniques for finding information.

One technique for finding things on the web is to use a search engine.
The search engine has "spiders" that search the web all the time. The information from the spiders is kept in a giant index system.
Then, when you type a topic in the search engine web page, the search engine can provide many references to the information you request.
Sometimes you get too many references, and may want to be more specific in your request for information. Some searching suggestions:

  1. Use one or more terms, such as:
    Smithsonian space
    might get you: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  2. If you want an exact phrase put quotation marks the phrase, such as:
    "Martha Washington"
  3. If you do not want a word, put a minus sign at its beginning, such as:
    Washington -George
    might get you: University of Washington and The Washington Times

There are many good search engines. Google is one of the search engines. My topic is Martha Washington, so I link to Google and type Martha Washington.
You can follow the link on the left to Google and search for information about your topic. Make a note of the web sites you like by copying their addresses or using the bookmark command at the top of your web page window to add a bookmark to your list of bookmarks; then you can use the bookmark command to access that web page again later.

Use a web guide

Another technique for finding things on the web is to use a web guide. A web guide provides a list of topics. You select one of the topics, which may provide a list of sub-topics. After going down through these lists, you may find web pages on the topics you have selected.
This approach is good for finding things to buy, such as travel tickets.
It may not be as good when looking for a historical topic.

Yahoo is one of the sites that provides a web guide. Yahoo also provides a search engine and other services.
The Yahoo Web Guide is on the left side of their main page.

Use a mega-site

A mega-site uses several different search engines for a search. Different search engines may provide different information. Sometimes one search engine may not provide what you want, but another one might.
Dogpile is a mega-site. Try a search there, using your project topic.

Use an encyclopedia

An on-line encyclopedia provides information and links. Using an on-line encyclopedia is a good approach for a historical subject.
Wikipedia is an on-line encyclopedia. Try it with your project topic.

Your suggestions

You may know good ways you search for information on the web.
If you know another good technique, please send me an e-mail and share the informtion.

Commercial content

You can find everything on the web. This includes fraud, identity theft, viruses, and other threats, as well as useful information.

Many search and web guide sites include paid commercial material, along with your search results. The better sites mark the commercial material, or put it on the side of the page; others just mix it in with your results. You may wish to look at the commercial material if you are looking for airline tickets, or avoid it if you are looking for historical material for a school project.

Everything that is written is copyrighted. Every image is copyrighted. To use copyrighted information you must purchase a right to use the material, have a right given to you, or be allowed to use it under "fair use".
Some web sites give you the right to use their material, with some restrictions. Other sites do not grant you any right. Some other sites do not say they give you a right to use their material, but if you ask them they might give you a right.

Only the specific presentation of the information is copyrighted. If you read twenty different accounts about Martha Washington, and then write about Martha Washington, using the facts you have discovered, you own the copyright to your written material. The facts are not copyrighted, only the written presentation of the facts.
If you are writing about a fictional character, the character does not exist independent of the written copyrighted material, so there are no "facts" that you can use independently.

Fair use is permitted for use of a small amount of copyrighted material without the need to get permission. The amount of material must be small, such as one image or a few paragraphs. Your use of the material must be for your own use or for educational purposes. Your use must not harm the commercial interests of the copyright owner.

If you are doing commercial work, you must be very careful about copyrights. You should consult with your company's attorneys.

There have been changes in the copyright law in recent years. If you are not sure what to do about copyrighted material, ask an attorney who specializes in copyright law.

Web protocols

There are several kinds of links, which can be made from a web page. This week we will build a link to a web page. This link allows a user to click on the link in your page, and go immediately to another page somewhere else in the World Wide Web. The new page could be in Australia, or anywhere. This is one of the most important things, which make web pages powerful and useful.

The methods for working across the web are called protocols. The complete specification for the protocol tells how access is made across the web. We are interested in what we put in our page to cause the action across the web.

There are several protocols that can be used from a web page, including:

http:// - hypertext transfer protocol
This protocol is used very much in web pages. It is used to access information to be viewed in a browser. We will use it to link to a web page, anywhere on the Internet.
telnet:// - telnet
This protocol can be used to login to remote system. I have not seen it used much. People just use telnet from their computer directly, rather than going through the browser.
ftp:// - ftp, file transfer protocol
This protocol is often used. Some sites provide ftp links, to allow you to download files from the server to your computer.
mailto: - mailer, use the mail server
NOTE: it does NOT have the two slashes. When a user clicks on a mailto link, they go to the mail program for the browser, where they may type a message to be sent by e-mail.
file:///
NOTE: it has three slashes. This protocol can be used to access a file on the server. I have not seen it used much in web pages. We will use it to look at web pages that are in our computer, before we put them on our Internet server

We code a link using the   <a>   </a>   anchor container tags. Look at the sample.

Paragraph

It helps organize your text to use the   <p>   </p>   paragraph container tags.

Lab assignment

Now you are ready to build your lab 2 web page.
Follow the link on the left to read the lab 2 requirements and build your lab 2 web page.

Put your web page on the Internet

You have built your page; now follow the link to learn how to put it on the Internet, so everyone can see it.

Complete lab

You have built your lab 2 web page and uploaded it to voyager.
Look at the page with your Firefox browser, to make sure the page works correctly on voyager.
Then, submit assignment 2 in Catalyst. In the submission provide the following information:

  • Your voyager user account ID.
  • That you have completed Lab 2.

Reading assignment

Reading assignments are in HTML, A Beginner's Guide, by Wendy Willard.
Read the chapter.
You may wish to answer the self test questions.
The answers to the self test questions are in the back of the book.
You are not required to do the projects in the book; we have our own laboratory assignments for this course.

Chapter 2 (first three sections in the module - we will finish chapter 2 next week)

Create an HTML File
We will use .html for our file extension; .htm is an older extension.
Use only lower case letters for your file names, to avoid problems; your windows system at home will not care if they are upper case or lower case; but our Internet server does consider upper case and lower case names to be different names.
To keep things simple, we will only use one directory: public_html
Preview an HTML File in a Browser
Always use the Firefox browser in this course. Always use a text editor in this course.
Describe and Apply the Basic HTML Document Format
The book shows the line break as <br>   We will learn that it is better to write the line break with a space and slash as <br />
Notice the !DOCTYPE tag name is in upper case; all other tag names are in lower case. The !DOCTYPE is not in the html page, but is the first line in the file; it says that all the rest of the lines in the page are written using html. The !DOCTYPE tag does not have a closing tag.
Typographical error in Required tags: the title element is also required.
Like the <br /> element, the <img /> element has the space slash at the end.
We will use XHTML 1.0 Transitional for almost all of our web pages. Validating your web pages with the W3C validator is a very good way to make sure the XHTML is correctly written.
We will discuss the page heading and validation a little later. After we learn about validation, I suggest you validate all of your pages. Then, I will validate some of your pages when I grade them.
Nesting - Read the paragraph on nesting carefully; beginners often make mistakes with nesting.
Special characters - Be sure to start with an Ampersand (&), and end with a semicolon (;). Also, use the number symbol (#) before a special character number.
Minor typographical error: colon(:) shows a semicolon in the book.
Week 2 reading does not include Use Character Entities to Display Special Characters, and the rest of the chapter.
You may stop here. We will continue with Use Character Entities to Display Special Characters next week.

Appendix C
You are not assigned Appendix C for reading. You might wish to scan it anytime in the course you are having a problem with your pages. Of course, another good thing to do is to send an e-mail with a question.

Appendix D
You are not assigned Appendix D for reading. You can refer to it anytime you are using special characters.

An alternate text is Even More Excellent HTML by Timothy T. Gottleber and Timothy N. Trainor. This book gives both new and older techniques. You may read in this book, if you wish. Chapter 2.