January 1997 -- Volume 2, Number 3

Finding Language Learning Resources
on the Web

Jim Duber
UC Berkeley
<dub@sirius.com>

If it's not on the Net, maybe it just doesn't exist.

The World-Wide Web is an incredible source of materials for learners interested in practicing and improving their skills in a second or foreign language as well as for teachers seeking to supplement their lessons with authentic and highly motivating articles, lessons, and a variety of language learning activities. In fact, in view of the huge number of websites already in existence together with the rapid rate of development currently taking place on the web, the real problem for many casual users has become one of finding and managing quality material quickly and easily while avoiding the fluff and dead end sites that at time seem to make up the majority of the web. Of course, just like with any new skill, the answer is to learn the fundamentals and then to practice. And then to practice some more.

Here, in no particular order, are some sites I've selected to help get you on your way.

Search Engines Galore
The organization of the web is somewhat chaotic in that there is no central controlling body which might be responsible for producing a single, all-inclusive index or table of contents for the web. Content providers publish web pages and assign them addresses (known as URLs, or Universal Resource Locators) in a manner that can often seem random and arbitrary. What's worse, these addresses can be changed and pages can be taken off the net without any notice whatsoever. That's where search engines come in -- looking for something in particular, try out a keyword search.

Subject Indexes
These are sites which attempt to organize content by categories or types. Because entries are necessarily edited by people, the sites linked to are generally screened; sometimes sites are reviewed in the index as well. As such, they offer a great resource for pure "browsing" on the web.

Megasites
These are sites I selected based on the quality and quantity of content information they offer. This time, I've focused on the media.

Customized Broadcasters
A few sites are now offering to customize web content to your personal tastes and then send you automatic updates. Very cutting edge!

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