The World Wide Web is a collection of interconnected hypertext documents located all over the Internet. The documents are kept on computers called servers. By connecting to the WWW through our personal computers we can access and read these documents.

World Wide Web is not organized by anyone.
  • Anyone can publish any kind of "information" on the Web.
  • A complete list of websites does not exist.
  • Sites constantly change; new sites are created and old sites disappear.
That’s why we need tools that provide access to the Web's unorganized information.

The two basic approaches to searching the Web are search engines and subject directories. They both find information, but in very different ways. They are also put together and maintained in different ways.


Search engine is like a giant INDEX, just like the ones in nonfiction books.
Search engines have programs called SPIDERS that gather information from millions of websites. This information is stored in a database. When you use a search engine, you are not searching the entire Web. You are searching the search engine’s database, the index of webpages collected by its spider.
Keywords are words that you use with search engines to find the information that you are looking for.

If you want to find information about how many species of butterflies can be found in Hong Kong your keywords will be:
Butterflies and Hong Kong

Examples for search engine:

Searching tips
It is important to know that different search engines deliver different search results.
  • Use more than one search engine for your search
  • Don't assume that the first hit is the best one
  • If you don't find what you are looking for in the first 25 hits, modify your keywords and search again

What is a meta-search engine?
A meta-search engine scans multiple search engines simultaneously and provides results based on the keyword(s) submitted.


Subject directories are put together and maintained by someone. In subject directories websites are organized by subjects. Most of searching tools for children are subject directories. Often they include a searching box for searching with keywords.

Examples of subject directories:
Yahooligans, KidsClick

click tracking