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IT issues on 666 ABC Canberra Drive with Keri Phillips each Wednesday at 5:50pm

Tom Worthington With Tom Worthington FACS, Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University

How to Find Stuff On-line, 6 March 2002

Keep in mind that not all the world's information is on the web and only about one percent of that is indexed by web search engines:

An Honours student from The Australian National University has found a way of potentially improving the coverage of Internet search engines by up to 500 times. Jared Cope, from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, said that a new way of indexing web pages may become necessary because commercial search engines like Google and Yahoo were indexing less than one per cent of publicly available web pages. From: Internet spiders in for a steroid boost by Leigh Baker, ANU Reporter, Volume 33 No. 2 1 March 2002

But while we wait for Jared and others to make better search engines, what can we do with what is available?

Search engines can be used to look for company and personal names, as well as addresses, phone and fax numbers listed in web pages. This finds not only web pages provided by a company, but also entries from the media and other organisations about the company. A search for "Tomw Communications" finds almost 200 entries, a few of which are:

TomW Communications
Tomw Communications Pty Ltd. TomW Communications was ... 1
August 1999. TomW Communications Pty Ltd. ... - 4k

TomW Communications Pty Ltd - Media Releases Tomw Communications Pty Ltd - Media Releases. ... Web page by Tomw
Communications Pty Ltd ACN 088 714 309 - Comments to: - 3k

[SLUG] [LINK] Microsoft Windows to disappear within two years ...
... two years, Media Release . Tomw Communications Pty Ltd - Media Release Microsoft
Windows to disappear within two years - Says Cyber Sooth Sayer http://www.tomw ... - 9k -

Newsgate: uk.transport.buses: Drive double-decker bus for the ...
... -- Tom Worthington FACS Director,
Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309 PO ... - 6k

I-cubed Web Accessibility Summit 2000
... 10.05am - 10.35am Morning Tea. 10.35am - 11.25am Tom Worthington, Director
Tomw Communications Olympic Failure: A case for making the Web Accessible. ... - 6k

The University of Melbourne Library - Giblin Economics and ...
... MICHAEL J BOURK ; EDITIED [SIC.] BY TOM WORTHINGTON. Belconnen, ACT : TomW Communications,

If you can't think of what to search for, then type in a question, just as you would ask it of someone. The search engine will search for the main words used and ignore "stop" words, such as "is". If you get too many results found, then try using more search words, if you get too few results, then delete some words from the search. A search can also be made more specific by using a phrase, usually by putting the words in quotes, such as "Tom Worthington".

Check the details found by one search and use some of the those words for further searches. In searching using an abbreviated name you might find the full name, which can then produce better results. You can search on numbers as well as words and often telephone or fax numbers will remain the same when names change.

Make sure you check you are reading the results of a web search and not advertising. Many web search providers fund their service using paid advertising., This appears on the screen next to the search results. Sometimes the advertisements provide useful information, provided you realize they are advertisements.

Some search engines now allow you to look for items other than web pages, such as word processing documents. One fun use is to look for photographs. You can put in a few search words and look for photos with those words in the caption, then quickly scan the photos which appear. The results may not be what you want but can be fun. Unfortunately you still have to search using words, some experimental search systems can find a photo which looks like another.

Check the phone book

There are now on-line versions of many paper based information services available free on-line, such as directories, dictionaries and street directories. As an example the White Pages telephone directory for Australia can be searched on-line. This information can be cross checked with hat a web search finds.

Also organisations will often have their own search engine on their web site to search their own material. This material may not be accessible to a conventional search.

Check the web registration

If you have a web address you can check who registered it. Web addresses are registered in a global database. This includes names and contact details. For the details are:

Name Status Report


This name is configured in the DNS:

Name Servers: name server name server

Mail Servers: mail is handled (pri=10) by mail is handled (pri=50) by mail is handled (pri=100) by

SOA record: start of
2001031614;serial (version)
900;refresh period
300;retry refresh this often
86410;expiration period
86400;minimum TTL
) is not in the AUNIC registry.


% RIPEdb(3.0.0b1) with ISI/Qwest RPSL extensions

descr:        Tomw Communications (ACN: F 00091941)
              PO Box 13
              Belconnen ACT 2617
admin-c:      TW31-CC-AU
tech-c:       JA1-AU
zone-c:       JA1-AU
changed: 19990222
source:       CCAIR

person:       Tom Worthington
address:      Tomw Communications
address:      PO Box 13
address:      Belconnen ACT 2617
phone:        +61 419 496 150
nic-hdl:      TW31-CC-AU
changed: 19990222
source:       CCAIR

% referto: whois -h -p 43 -s AUNIC -T person,role JA1-AU

Administrator of parent domain is

Check the company registration

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission provide a free index of corporate and business names which can be searched via the web. This finds company and business names registered across Australia.

A search on "tomw" finds:

2 names found (* indicates former name)
Number Status Name

Selecting the first entry shows a business name:

Extracted from ASIC's database at 09:31:51 on 19/04/2001

F 00091941
Type Business Names
Status Registered
Place of
not available
Jurisdiction Registrar-General's Office, ACT
The second:
Extracted from ASIC's database at 09:30:55 on 19/04/2001
088 714 309
17 088 714 309
Type Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares
Status Registered
of Registered
Canberra ACT 2600
Jurisdiction Australian Securities & Investments Commission
These are the documents most recently received by ASIC from this organisation. Page numbers are shown if processing is complete and the document is available for purchase.
Received Number Pages Description
18/12/2000 08871430K 3 316 (AR 2000) Annual Return Change to Principal Place of Business
316P Change of Name or Address of Officeholder
316L Annual Return - Proprietary Company
15/12/1999 08871430J 3 316L (AR 1999) Annual Return - Proprietary Company
20/07/1999 0E3263651 3 201C Application For Registration as a Proprietary Company
Further information is available by paying a fee to an ASIC information broker on-line, but this is enough to see that the information is at least consistent with what is on the company web site.

The Challenge

To show how web searches are done Keri Phillips asked me:

Can you find on the net information on the purification of silicon for use in computer chips. It needs to be understood by a year 8 student (and not in French!).

The first search I tried was to copy the whole question into the search engine. They reply indicated this was too long and it ignored everything after "needs" and the 296 results didn't look much use:

Next I reduced this down to "purification of silicon for use in computer chips". which gave 1,270 results, the first few of which looked useful:

Copper Information
... tubing, water purification, and other ... use in computer chips. IBM has ... fit more computer
components onto a ... sought to use copprer because ... the chip's silicon layer ...!OpenPage - 8k - Cached - Similar pages

3.03: Geek Page
... cost of isotopic purification has largely limited their use to military ... Semiconductors
like silicon are the ... from which computer chips are sculpted ... - 29k - Cached - Similar pages

PERMANENT: Asteroids utilization, etc.
... vehicles could also use beamed power ... kinds of asteroids. Purification of silicon is ... competition
from Silicon Orbit in the future. Computer chips are small ... - 18k - Cached - Similar pages

Adding quotes around the phrase made the query too specific and didn't find any documents. Going back to the above more general search, the first article is about copper, not silicon, but the second is about Silicon purification.

Shorting the search phrase to "purification of silicon" finds 70 results. But a lot of these seem to be about making solar cells, not computer chips, and telling the search engine not to provide any documents with "solar" in them reduces the list to 70 documents:

GMV : Purification of silicon - [ Translate this page ]
Cette page utilise des cadres, mais votre navigateur
ne les prend pas en charge. - 1k - Cached - Similar pages

Silicon sources Chemical purity required Silicate chemical ...
PURIFICATION OF SILICON. ... Silicate chemical reduction.
Chemical purification of silicon. - 3k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from ]

DIALOG Dissertation Abstracts
... Ocean, south of the present day polar front. Purification of silicon occurs through
the dissolution of particulate silica, quantitative precipitation of ... - 3k - Cached - Similar pages

The first article appears to be in French, but actually the english version is displayed. If not, the web search service can translate between most European languages. But most of these articles are too technical anyway. Perhaps we are getting technical answers because we are asking a technical question. Lets try "how are computer chips made". This gives 470,000 answers, but the first looks useful:

Intel® Education: How Chips are Made ... Computer chip technology is in all sorts of everyday ... Chips perform various tasks by design, meaning that ... a version below to learn how microprocessors are made. ... - 18k - Cached - Similar pages

This refers to:

Silicon Wafers cut from an ingot of pure silicon, are used by Intel to make microprocessors. Silicon, the primary ingredient of beach sand, is a semiconductor of electricity. Semiconductors are materials that can be altered to be either a conductor or an insulator. From How Chips Are made, 2002 Intel Corporation

Perhaps we should be looking for how to "make an ingot of silicon". The first result is the easy to follow "How To Make Silicon":

Welcome to the Wacker Siltronic Web Presentation, "How To Make Silicon". This presentation is designed to introduce you to the unique process of Silicon Wafer Manufacturing; the first step in the semiconductor industry. During this presentation, you'll discover how natural elements are extracted from the earth's crust and transformed, step by step, into hyper-pure Silicon wafers... From: "How To Make Silicon", 1999 Wacker Siltronic Corporation

There is a short explanation with photos a few items further down:

Step 1: Obtaining the Sand The sand used to grow the wafers has to be a very clean and good form of silicon. For this reason not just any sand scraped off the beach will do. Most of the sand used for these processes is shipped from the beaches of Australia.

Step 2: Preparing the Molten Silicon Bath ...

From: Material Preparation, Texas A&M University

Silicon is the raw material of course, the crucible at the right is filled with pure Polysilicon chips. These chunks of Poly have been made from sand by means of a complex reduction and purification process using Trichlorosilane and Hydrogen. Then the Polysilicon is further distilled and reduced and finally deposited on heated Titanium or Tantalum tubes. After further processing it becomes the material you see at the RIGHT... From: Silicon, 1999 Process Specialties Inc.


Material adapted from e-Commerce for Small Business, 21 May 2001, Sponsored by the Business Entry Point.


Suggestions and comments would be welcome. Links to web sites with non-product specific advice would be most useful.

Further Information:

Comments and corrections to:

Copyright © Tom Worthington 2002.