Student Guide Home

Anatomy of a page

Evaluating for relevance
Authority of a Web page
Evaluating for accuracy

Page types:

Informational pages
News sources
Advocacy web pages
Personal home pages

Web search strategies:

Getting started
Web directories
Search engines 1
Search engines 2
Citing online sources



domain name gopher mailing lists peer reviewed serial telnet
thesis tone URL USENET Web page

Domain Name

A domain name is a server's Internet address. A domain name can be alphanumeric ( or numeric ( A "server" is a computer that users have to connect with (with their "client") in order to reach the Internet.

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Gopher --named for the rodent mascot of the University of Minnesota, where it was devised-- is a menu-driven system for browsing text resources on the Internet. Gopher was wildly popular between 1992 and 1994, but has now been almost completely swallowed up by the World Wide Web. There may be some documents still only available in this form, but they may be quite old.

Web browsers can still view gopher documents. Gopher URLs begin with "gopher://".

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Mailing Lists

An e-mailing list, or mail reflector, is an e-mail address that takes any note sent to it and forwards the note to everyone on its list of "subscribers." Users can subscribe to a mailing list by sending a command by e-mail to the mail server (which always has a different address from the one used to send mail to the group). The most common mail servers are LISTSERV, listproc, and majordomo.

Like news groups, mailing lists are used mostly for informal discussion. Most mailing lists are not moderated or fact checked, so while they may be good resources for conversation, and leads to other resources, they are not entirely free of disinformation and rumor.

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Peer Reviewed

An academic publication, like Early Modern Studies, usually has an editorial group, composed of specialists in the field, to review all the articles submitted for publication. Who better to review a scholar's work than a group of the scholar's peers? Peer reviewed publications have greater authority than others; an article that has been subjected to the scrutiny of a group of scholars will probably be more reliable than one that has not.

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Serial means "in a series." A Serial is a category of publications that includes periodicals like magazines, academic journals, newspapers, and other works published in a series.

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Telnet is a program used to connect interactively with another computer on the Internet. A Web browser usually controls all of the transactions between a user's computer and other computers on the Net, and it automatically translates data it finds into formatted text, sounds, and pictures. Telnet only lets you view data "as is," but it lets users communicate directly with another computer: every time a key is pressed in a telnet session, the signal goes directly to the other computer.

Opportunities to use telnet have greatly diminished during the last few years, but some services are still only available by telnet.

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The thesis of a research paper is its main point or basic argument. The final, definite, thesis for a paper should not be set in stone before the research begins. An argument has to grow out of the research, and the author's evolving thinking about it. It is a good idea to come up with a "working thesis," or hypothesis, before beginning the research, then refine this idea as the project develops.

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The tone of a piece refers to the quality of the author's voice, present in the writing, that conveys the author's attitude toward his or her audience. The author's tone might be described as angry, mild, detached, humorous, etc.

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A URL (Uniform, or Universal, Resource Locator) is the Internet "address" for any file in the world. If we look at the URL for this page,

we can see the filename (gloss.html), the file's protocol (http), the name of the Web server (, and the path to the file (/departments/english/research/). We can thus read the URL: "There is a WWW file (http://) on the SLU server (, in the "departments" directory, in the "english" sub-directory, in the "research" sub-sub-directory; and it is called "gloss.html."

For more information about URLs, see NCSA's "A Beginner's Guide to URL's."

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USENET is an organization of global network news systems on the Internet. In this case, "news" can be taken to have its more archaic meaning, "rumor." A news group is really an electronic bulletin board where anything related to the subject can be posted from anyone. Like Internet mailing lists, news groups are used mostly for informal discussion, not for official press releases; so a newsgroup might be a good place to look for leads, but it is not a good place to look for information you can cite in a paper (unless the notes come from well-known authorities in the field).

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Web page, Web site

A Web site is composed of one or more linked Web pages. This glossary you are reading is only one Web page in the "Student Guide" Web site.

Every Web page has its own URL, but all of the pages in a particular site share the same directory on the server. Here is a list of some URLs in this site. Notice that all of these files are in the directory called "research":

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Citing web sources
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Version 1.1
1997 Craig Branham
Saint Louis University
Created: 06-Oct-97
Last Modified: 06-Oct-97

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