Philosophy and Purpose of this Project

This series of pages is designed to help students and teachers think about using the Internet for research in K-12 schools. "Surfing" the Internet can be as overwhelming and time-consuming as browsing a large library without a card catalog. We have all heard students proclaim, "There's nothing in that library!" when we know that, with a little guidance, they would have found valuable and pertinent material. Our goal is to provide that guidance.

First, it is important to understand that there is no single authority governing the explosion of resources on the Internet. In fact, the Internet itself is a network of networks which have different origins and purposes. Because anyone can be a "publisher" on the Net, thoughtful teachers and students will want to consider the source of any information they obtain.

Many people and organizations have attempted to structure the available information as a "virtual library", but the amount and variety of information is so vast and changing so fast that no single source can be comprehensive.

Software developers have designed programs (called "search engines") to search the World Wide Web. It is important to understand how they search and what they search because different search engines will deliver different results.

Finally, the principles of critical thinking which we employ in traditional library research can be applied to Internet searching. These pages are designed to help structure the way students think about their research before they search by providing a sequenced series of short exercises and explanations. For those who prefer to select individual segments, the links are also active on the top level "menu."

These pages are also intended to provide a "first page" for teachers; it is our goal to be selective rather than comprehensive, but many of the pages contain links to more detailed resources.

Janet Murray, Wilson High School, Portland, OR

Patty Sorensen, Chehalem Valley Middle School, Newberg, OR

Sheryl Steinke, Eugene School District 4J, Eugene, OR