Web Crawling


Searching the Internet.

Intended Audience

Ages 12 to 18; 10 to 15 attendees. May be presented one-on-one.

Program Duration

1 hour or less.


Develop a handout to guide participants through the basics of web browsers and search engines or copy the “Introduction to the World Wide Web” below.

Develop an Internet Scavenger Hunt and a list of sites and search engines to assist participants in finding the answers. The Scavenger Hunt should begin with questions about the library’s web page. Subsequent questions may become more difficult and require utilization of search engines and advanced thought processes.

Develop a list of Internet sites of particular interest to young adults, including library web pages designed for this age group (e.g., the Internet Public Library Youth Division at www.ipl.org/youth/.)

Program Description

Young adults will learn the basics of browsing and searching the Internet. If possible, this should be a hands-on workshop in which participants work in a computer lab or on a group of library computers. The presenter may use a computer and a digital projector to demonstrate the workshop content. After participants learn the basics of Internet usage, they will complete a Scavenger Hunt. When they finish the Scavenger Hunt, they may view additional sites of special interest.

Introduction to the World Wide Web

Designed by Gillian Wiseman

Youth Services Librarian at the Waco-McLennan County Library

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a vast collection of computers connected into a network. The Federal Department of Defense and scientific researchers first developed the Internet. Universities, schools, and businesses later began to use it as a means of communication. Today, the Internet includes millions computers in countries throughout the world.

What is the World Wide Web?

The World Wide Web (WWW) is often called “the Internet.” It is really only one piece of the whole Internet. While some parts of the Internet communicate using only text, the World Wide Web is the network of computers that communicate using text, graphics, sound, animation, and video.

What is the WWW good for?

The World Wide Web is great for finding information on almost any topic including homework and education, hobbies, commercial retail businesses, healthcare, science, and recipes.

What is a Browser?

A browser is a computer application that allows users to access web pages that include pictures, video, sound, and more. Every browser has a “toolbar” at the top. The most commonly used browsers are Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. The buttons on the toolbar of each are similar. From left to right, here are some of the most important buttons on the toolbar:

  • The Back Arrow moves back a page.
  • The Forward Arrow moves forward a page after you have moved back.
  • The Stop button stops a page that is loading. This is useful if the page is taking too long to load.
  • The “Home” button returns users to the Home Page. As a courtesy to other users, click this when you are finished.
  • The “Refresh” or “Reload” button reloads and updates the page that is currently in use from the Internet to the computer. This is rarely necessary!
  • The “Search” button will select a random search engine for the user.
  • “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” displays a list of web sites that the library staff or an individual has selected as particularly helpful.
  • The “Print” button allows users to print the current page.
  • The “Address” or “Location” line is where users type the URL of a web site. URL stands for Universal Resource Locator but is also known as a web address.
  • The “Explorer” or “Netscape” symbol in the top right corner of the screen spins when the computer is working on a request. It shows that the computer is “thinking.”

Finding Information on the Internet

There are three ways to find information on the Internet: 1) type in a URL or web address, 2) browse, or 3) search.

Enter a URL

Entering an address or URL is easy, but it only works if you already know where you want to go. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place the cursor on the address bar, and click once to highlight the contents.
  • Press “delete” to clear the current URL.
  • Type in the new URL. It must be typed exactly, with all dots, symbols, slashes, letters, and words. For example, try these addresses.


A subject directory is a menu or list of topics and subtopics that users may “click” on. For example, the category “Entertainment” in one subject directory might include music, movies, and games. Subject directories include only a tiny portion of sites that are available on the Internet. They are great for beginners and for finding popular web sites. Two subject directories are Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) and Excite (www.excite.com).

Use the subject directory Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) to answer the question “Is there water or ice on the moon?” Hint: click on “Science.”


If you do not know the URL for a page, you may type a keyword in a search box. A search engine uses a program called a “spider” or “robot” to search the Internet for web sites with a keyword. Two excellent search engines are Google (www.google.com) and Altavista (www.altavista.com).

Use the search engine Altavista (www.altavista.com) to answer the question “Is there water or ice on the moon?” Hint: use the keywords “water” and “moon.”

Compare the results you found on Yahoo and Altavista.

Are the lists of web sites on Yahoo and Altavista the same?

Do all of the web sites listed look as if they would answer the question?

Choose one web site and look for the name of the person or organization who hosts it. When was the information posted onto the web site?

Hot Tips for Searchers

If you wish to search for a phrase rather than a keyword, put quota- tion marks around the phrase. The search engine will search for the words in the order they are typed instead of searching for the indi- vidual words.

In Altavista and some other search engines, put a “+” in front of each word you MUST have in the results, and a “–“ in front of each word you want to AVOID. For example: “+recipe+chicken–barbeque.”

Some search engines use AND and NOT instead of + and – to limit searches.

Use the word OR between two words to find either word, for example: cats OR dogs.

Always read the help screens for your favorite search engines.

Great Sites to Learn More About the Internet

Internet Public Library


This site gives descriptions of many major search engines, their strengths and weaknesses and tips on how to use them.

Kansas Public Library


This site introduces search engines and tells when, how and why to use them.

Search Engine Watch


Search Engine Watch provides tutorials, search assistance, power searching strategies, reviews of search engines, and FUN stuff!

University of California at Berkley


Extensive tutorial, including the Internet, the World Wide Web, and Netscape.

Young Adult Resources

  • Cybercrimes by Gina De Angelis.
  • The Extreme Searcher’s Guide to Web Search Engines: A Handbook for the Serious Searcher by Randolph Hock and Paula Berinstein.

Professional Resources

The Librarian’s Quick Guide to Internet Resources by Jenny Lynne Semenza.

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Page last modified: March 2, 2011