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Web Watch: Refining your search strategy

WebWatch is the cooperative effort of two of Phnom Penh's most experienced Internet

users:
David Lewis of Telstra's Bigpond and Bill Herod, information technology

consultant at the NGO Forum on Cambodia. Contact through: PhnomPenhPost@bigpond.com.kh

Reference

WE all know the Internet is the world's greatest reference tool. The problem is

that it is so vast it can be almost useless unless you know how to use the many individual

tools available.

Search engines are great, but how do you search for a word you don't know? The other

day a colleague asked what one calls a group of bats. Searching Yahoo! for "bats"

produced 1,060,000 links! The answer to our question was in there somewhere, but

where? We refined our search strategy,

Since we knew a group of lions was called a "pride", we searched for

sites containing both the phrase "pride of lions" and "of bats".

(The actual search phrase was <+"pride of lions" +"of bats">.)

This produced 123 documents. The first one we opened had a simple list of group names,

including "exaltation of larks", "raft of ducks" and bingo! "colony

of bats".

Suppose you just need to know exactly what an acronym stands for. Maybe you are writing

a report and you mention UNTAC. You need to spell it out on first reference, but

is it United Nations Transitional Authority "in" Cambodia or "for"

Cambodia? The Acronym Finder will quickly give you the answer ("in") for

this and 160,000 other acronyms.

Other specialized tools you might find useful are currency converters (at today's

rate), time converters (what time should you phone a colleague in Cairo?) and measurement

converters. Finally, don't overlook the huge number of basic reference works available

- free - on the Web. These searchable materials include the entire Encyclopedia Britannica,

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, The Elements of Style, rhyming dictionaries, dictionaries

in many languages (and dictionaries and programs to help you translate from one language

to another), atlases, genealogical records, biographies, great literature, etc.

Downloading

Downloading (transferring files from one computer to another) over the Internet can

be a frustrating and expensive enterprise.

Anti-virus files, for example, can be several megabytes in length and need to be

updated at least once each month. Without a special program, if your connection to

the Web is broken during a download you lose everything and must start the whole

expensive process again. No more. Now there are several excellent - and free - download

managers available

These programs will download files you select while you are online. If the connection

is broken for any reason before the download is completed, the manager will "remember"

where it was in the process and continue from that point the next time you log on

This means you can download files at the same time you are checking your e-mail and

browsing the Internet. It isn't necessary to have a lengthy "dedicated"

connection for each download.

Popular download managers include Get Right and Gozilla. Some download managers can

be set to scan your downloads for viruses, close your connection to the Internet

when a download is completed and even unzip and install your downloaded files automatically.

Mailing lists

Many of us have occasion to send out email messages to groups of people. Announcements,

press releases, minutes of meetings, etc. Here are a few suggestions to make this

process as painless as possible for all concerned.

First, avoid sending attached files. Different recipients have different systems

and different requirements. Some may have slow and unstable phone connections and

the transmission of a lengthy attached file may require several transmission attempts

(blocking all other email in and out during that time).

Some organizations automatically delete any message with an attached file as an anti-virus

security measure. Some recipients may not be able to read your attachment because

they aren't using the same program - or the same version - you used to create it.

As a courtesy to everyone, just send your message in plain text. Use attached files

only when you are transmitting formatted documents to recipients who must have -

and can receive - the formatting

Second, avoid long lists on the "cc:" line. Some offices in Phnom Penh

routinely print out all email, and 20 or 30 names and addresses of all the recipients

of a group mailing can be annoying and wasteful. Also, not everyone on your list

may want everyone else on your list to have their email address.

To deal with both issues, use the "bcc:" (blind courtesy copy) feature

(see "Help" in your email program). When using the bcc feature, the names

and addresses entered there are hidden from all recipients.

Siteseeing

Congratulations to the United Nations team in Cambodia on their snazzy new web site.

The site provides links to all of the UN agencies working here with contact information

and basic documents on their programs.

As with any good web site, this one promises to grow in value as documents are added

in the months and years to come. For now, the site is useful even if you just want

to double-check the spelling of the name of the UNDP resident representative (Dominique

Ait Ouyahia-McAdams). The UN site also has a unique directory of Government officials

with photos of each minister and state secretary.

The Cambodian Government also has several new - or newly renovated - web sites. These

include the Council of Ministers; the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport; the

Ministry of Commerce; the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication; the Apsara Authority;

the National Assembly and the Senate. There is a great deal of useful, well-presented

information in these sites

Among the new NGO sites are RACHA, Mlup Baitong and the Center for Social Development.

Link List Reference

Acronym Finder:

www.acronymfinder.com/

Enyclopedia Britannica:

www.britannica.com

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (and many other Great Books Online):

www.bartleby.com

Convert IT! (time, measurement, currency):

www.convertit.com

Oanda Currency Converter:

www.oanda.com

Downloading:

www.getright.com www.gozilla.com

Siteseeing

UN Agencies in Cambodia:

www.un.org.kh

Council of Ministers ASEAN Department:

www.ocm.gov.kh

Press and Communication Dept:

www.camnet.com.kh/ocm

Council of Jurists:

www.bigpond.com.kh/Council_of_Jurists

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport:

www.moeys.gov.kh

Ministry of Commerce:

www.moc.gov.kh

Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications:

www.mptc.gov.kh

Ministry of Environment (Library):

www.camnet.com.kh/moe-library/

National Public Health Research Institute:

www.camnet.com.kh/nphri/

National Archives:

www.camnet.com.kh/archives.cambodia/

Apsara Authority:

www.apsara-authority.org/default.htm

National Assembly:

cambodian-parliament.org

Senate:

khmersenate.org

RACHA:

www.racha.org.kh

Mlup Baitong:

www.shoag.com/mlup/index.htm

Center for Social Development:

www.bigpond.com.kh/users/CSD/

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