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As a computer user, you have the further option of keeping track of your online research on a computer (where you can search, sort, and print reports of your research results), or if you are more comfortable with paper copies, you can create online research templates to print and use as you surf, writing notes and comments by hand.

In order to create a successful research plan, you need to first know what types of resources are available online; a resource checklist is a helpful guide to possible sites of interest. To know which sites you've visited, and with what result, an online research summary will keep track of your journeys online. To know which sites you need to revisit at a later date (periodic checks for new information are important), bookmarks will provide you with a road map. Using these three elements, you can organize your time online for maximum results.

You'veResources Checklist probably seen a resource checklist similar to the partial example below. Such forms list a variety of resources which are used for each individual or surname you are researching. Traditionally, checklists serve as a useful reminder of what off-line resources you may have overlooked; a similar checklist can be modified for Internet use.

Most checklists are divided into subjects such as Family Records, Vital Records, Published Sources, Public Sources, and Private Sources. For the example checklist on the next page, I modified the traditional headings as follows: Family Records was replaced with Surname Indexes; Vital Records remained the same; Published Sources was changed to Searchable Databases, and Public and Private Sources merged into Newsgroup/Mailing Lists.

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