Time to add to my occasional series on Web heroes and heroines, people who work tirelessly to help the rest of us understand the Internet better. Joining Gary Price and Tara Calishain this week is Wendy Boswell, demystifier of many things online. Whenever I come across something written by Boswell, I always stop to read it. I learn something new and find myself taking notes that I share with others. Her official bio at About.com -- where she works as a guide on Web search -- says she has "designed several successful Web sites, and has been publishing, designing, and generally wasting time on the Web since the early '90s." I am glad she's been wasting all that time and thus giving me lots to bookmark. A comprehensive list of useful articles by Boswell would be much too long for this column, but here are some items you should bookmark immediately:

  • About.com Web Search: This is Boswell's main job, sharing tips and tricks about Web search with readers worldwide. Several times a day she posts items about various new search-related items she has come across.

  • How to Evaluate Sources on the Web: As part of a series of articles for one of my favorite sites, Lifehacker.com, Boswell explains how you can decide whether or not a site is trustworthy.  

  • Locate Original Documents on the Web: An article on how to locate thousands (or is it millions?) of original documents, primary sources, etc., on the Internet.

  • How to Search the Invisible Web: I'll let her explain this (quoting here from the article; all our communication has been one-way -- me reading her work online):  "The term 'invisible Web' or 'deep Web' refers to the vast repository of information that search engines and directories don't have direct access to, like databases at university libraries, sites that require passwords to view, or sites that for some reason don't want search engines to crawl them. Unlike pages on the visible Web (that is, the Web that you can access from search engines and directories), information in databases is generally inaccessible to the software spiders and crawlers that create search engine indexes." Boswell then provides some excellent tips on how to make the inaccessible accessible (including a link to Gary Price's work).

  • Top 20 Search Engine Helpers: Several quick tips on getting better search results. 
YOUR TURN: Send me suggestions for your Web heroes or heroines by e-mailing poynter@sree.net. Meanwhile, I am finally getting around to my follow-up column about Social Networking for Journalists and am looking to connect with readers at LinkedIn.com [my profile]. Please share your tips and thoughts about using LinkedIn and its competitors. 

NOTE: WEB TIPS FRAPPR PROJECT -- Help us create a collaborative media project by joining 230+ of our readers at http://www.frappr.com/poynterwebtips. I wrote about in my most recent column, "Your Own Google Maps."

When you get to the Frappr page, click on "add yourself" on the right of your screen.

If you live in the U.S., put in your name and zip code. Attach a photo (if you wish -- optional!). Remove the "Create a Frappr Account for me" (if you don't want one) by clicking on checkbox. Hit "Add Me."

If you live outside the U.S., put in your name, then click on "Not in the U.S.? Click Here." Start typing your city and a menu with your city should show up. Attach a photo (if you wish -- optional!). Remove the "Create a Frappr Account for me" (if you don't want one) by clicking on checkbox. Hit "Add Me.

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