Here be treasure

June 9, 1995

How do you begin to find what you want on the Net? Delia Venables provides some starting points.

What will I find on the Internet of interest to me? This is a difficult question to answer, since everyone is interested in different things and each specialist subject, or recreational group, has developed its own sources of information. Here is a selection of sources of interest to the higher education sector. Note that, to access these World-Wide Web sites, you need to have a full connection to the Internet.

Higher education generally We had better start here! Described as "News, views and worldwide jobs in the Higher Education sector", this service from The THES contains some useful material although much of the information is still in gopher format (the menu-based selection system which pre-dated the Web). mic.html A list of all the academic sites in the UK with departmental subdivisions, if appropriate. These vary widely from the hardly-there-at-all to the extremely impressive. As examples of the latter, try Cambridge, Edinburgh and Imperial College. Universities grouped by country. This is the major UK provider of bibliographic searches, based at the University of Bath. In particular, the citation index is widely used but you have to be registered at an academic institution to use it. A major effort by the National Science Foundation of America (which is, after all, one of the parents of Internet) to present information on grants, funding, research programmes, publications, organisation and scientific news generally.

Biochemistry Each specialist discipline has its own set of sources. The field of biochemistry is very active on the Internet. A major index of sources available in biosciences. /index.html Molecular biologists at Birkbeck College are offering a course in principles of protein structure, making use of the world's biological data banks and pioneering interactive teaching methods. and htm The chemical structure of molecules is examined in 3D interactive molecule diagrams. Scientists at Imperial College and at Leeds University have worked together to produce these pages. Chemistry/Biochemistry/ A massive list of sources provided by "yahoo".

Literature and books peare/works.html The complete works of Shakespeare, able to search on words or phrases. For example, a search on "love" and "time" produced about 20 lines in individual plays which have both those words in the same line. The Internet bookshop with 750,000 books available on-line for purchase. The beginnings of a modern poetry archive. But for the serious study of poetry, CD-Roms would probably be more useful. Cambridge University Press provides links to many world-wide libraries and presses and looks useful.

General interest The Louvre online - well, part of it. It is good fun to use, although for serious study a well-produced book on Renoir, say, would probably be more rewarding than trying to see the pictures on Internet.

How to find things Finding things on the Internet is always rather more tricky than clever people will tell you. Here are a number of useful sources and search methods.

http:/ A list of servers in the UK which is subdivided into academic, commercial, government, recreation and miscellaneous. It can be helpful to browse through this. The ww version of this: a list, by country, of all the Web servers. City list of all UK servers. Lycos is a very useful search tool, using keywords, that actually seems to work even if you are not very experienced. It can be too busy, however, and can reject a request for assistance. A major index of sources and resources; a must for any serious search. Several of the items found for this article were found through yahoo. This contains a large array of free or shareware software for ftp (file transfer protocol) purposes. Identify the program you want and then use the "save as" option to save the file on your disk.

Delia Venables is a computer consultant in the legal field.

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