Section 2 Part 2: Searching for Information on the Web
What we expect to cover in this section
What is a search engine, robot, spider, worm, Meta tags?
Before you go online to Search
Talking to the requestor
Knowing the vocabulary
Selecting the search engine
Tips for using search engines
Planning the search
Doing the Search
Evaluating the search results
After the search is over
Knowing when the information is good
Introduction to Search Engines
There are literally millions of Web sites on the Internet today with thousands of
pages (not sites) being added each day. Countless other pages are being
extensively revised in response to user input and as knowledge is gained by
seeing how a site is used by its primary clients. Sites are also revised “just to
make them work or look better”. With so many additions and changes, it’s no
wonder that looking for information is like looking for “a needle in a haystack”
(Bernstein, 1996). Although most librarians and information specialists have
mastered the documentation for their favorite search engines, there seems to be
some new trick we can learn every day about searching. This section will tell you
something about search engines, will help you plan your strategy, select the
appropriate search engine from among hundreds, do free text searching, and
locate high quality information.
What is a Search Engine?
A search engine is a software program which runs on the Internet. It is designed
to look for Web sites, examine them, capture specific information about the sites,
index them (for ensuring relevancy), bring that information back to the
mainframe, and put it into a large database where it can be subsequently
searched by a user. The programs which go out and look for the information are
called robots, spiders, worms or crawlers. Each search engine program has been
configured somewhat differently in terms of the information they may capture
about each site. Most retrieve the URL, date of last update, and metadata (data
about the page) plus additional information of some kind.
Some search engines search across Websites, gopher sites and FTP sites.
Some search both the Web and newsgroups. One major search tool, Deja News,
limits its searches to newsgroups.
The search engine may examine only two or three levels deep on a site or may
look at all levels in the entire site. The spider may look at every word in the site
except stop words, or may only read the first paragraph. A robot may look at the
number of times a term is repeated in a document. The more times a term is
repeated, the more relevant it is to the topic and would thus be ranked higher
when that term is searched on. Each search engine is different; this is why it is
so important to read the documentation which can be found at each site AND to
use more than one search engine.
We have mentioned robots and spiders, but there are at least two other kinds of
search engines to be cognizant of. These are the subject specific, or niche,
search engines and the site specific search engines. Niche search engines
which only look for medical literature, or for government literature, for example.
Site specific search engines only look at the files and content of their site.
WebMasters, in an effort to improve the quality of searching, especially for
information on their site, have started the practice of embedding keywords into
their Web pages using "meta tags”. The tags are not visible to the user unless
she looks at the source code, but they are picked up by the search engines as
they gather information on the Web for their databases. Sites would be vastly
more accessible if each WebMaster used the appropriate meta tags for their
pages. Search engines could use the meta tags to improve the ratings on the
sites they turn up.
Meta tags are used like this:
<meta name = “description” content = “How to use Alta Vista, one of the best
search engines on the Internet today.”>
<meta name = “keywords” content = “Alta Vista Advanced Search Instructions,
Boolean Logic, Internet Searching, Web Searching”>
When the search engine looks at <meta name = “description” content = “…” it
puts the description in the first lines or so which the viewer reads; if the meta tag
for description isn’t available, the search engine takes the first few lines of the
first paragraph. Similarly, the keywords meta tag can go a long way to enriching
the reliability of the information in the document if the keywords meta tag is used
properly and judiciously.
Some WebMasters have overdone the meta tags, adding the same set of terms
to improve the likelihood that the site will turn up in a search. The result is that
many of the search engines have begun tossing out Websites which use, or
overuse terms like “sex” or “breast” or a specific word or phrase too many times
in the meta tags in an effort by the WebMasters to get improved relevancy and
thus increased hits on their sites. I read of one site which used one phrase 6000
times in order to make sure this site would turn up when the phrase was
searched on. This is a gross misuse of the meta tag and may lead to great
frustration on the part of the searcher and to a rejection of the site by the search
Before You Go Online to Search: Talking to the Requestor
Searching for information of use to researchers or to you as a provider of
information to researchers is much the same process as going online to search
HealthSTAR or Medline - with a few twists.
It would seem obvious but the most important thing to consider before you go
online to one of the Web search engines, is whether the you or requester has a
clearly articulated hypothesis. Generally speaking, if a client can articulate a clear
statement of the topic in one or two sentences, it will make it much easier to
locate information for that person. Be wary, however of the researcher who gives
you a hypothesis which then necessitates several pages of explanatory
documentation to expand the “simple” hypothesis into a reasonably complete
search. Many of the best researchers ask deceptively simple questions which
lend themselves to depths which are only revealed after much thought on your
part. Go back to a researcher for additional information if you don’t turn up
anything when you believe you should.
Knowing why a researcher needs the research can help the librarian determine
which source will be useful for that information. Contrary to what you might have
learned in library school, be sure to ask the researcher why the information is of
interest. If you feel uncomfortable asking the question directly, figure out how you
can get the information indirectly. You will likely put more work into a peer
reviewed paper or presentation for someone doing funded research than you
would information for a friend who is idly curious about a particular topic.
If possible, get the researcher to discuss broad and narrow concepts and
possible terms. If you have trained your researchers well, they will have already
thought of several possible terms. If you don’t understand how everything fits
together, ask the researcher to give you an article on the topic, or to recommend
another colleague who publishes in the same area.
If you are unfamiliar with a subject, review the table of contents, index and
selected chapters of books on the topic to determine possible vocabulary.
Journal and newsletter articles (especially the latter) are excellent sources of
vocabulary. One of the best sources of new terms, especially in the health care
administration and management disciplines which are constantly adopting new
terminology, are the flyers which come out announcing conferences, training
opportunities and workshops. Be sure to use conference announcements to
locate new terms for your glossary of potential search terms.
Remember that searching text is different from searching with a controlled
vocabulary. Once you are online you may need to describe your topic a few
different ways before you find exactly what you're looking for. Try to think of as
many different way of expressing your concept. I use the spiraling out method of
searching text. Start with the concept, think of synonyms for that concept, then
get broader (or narrower) until you gather what you are looking for.
Before You Go Online: What Is Your Search Style?
Ant vs Grasshopper searches
Are you an ant or a grasshopper when you search? In an article on the Web
<http://www.state.nj.us/statelibrary/quest01.htm>, Linda Kay summarizes the two
different styles. An ant searcher is one who plans out the whole strategy and
expects to get exactly what she wants the first go around. The grasshopper
searcher relies on native intelligence, a deep knowledge of the subject, a vague
sense of what should be “out there” and a willingness to thrash around a little bit
following false leads. Ant searches work well if you have a controlled vocabulary
or scientific terms; grasshoppers work best if your topic is not well defined, if it
requires looking at the topic from several viewpoints, or if your database is very
large (Kay, 1995).
Boolean logic is named after a French mathematician named Boole who lived
around the turn of the century. It is a method of combining terms using "AND,"
"OR," "AND NOT" and sometimes "NEAR." AND requires that all terms appear in
a record. OR retrieves records with either term and is often used with
parentheses. AND NOT excludes terms. Parentheses may be used to group
words and to sequence how the operations are carried out. How do you
determine which search engines employ which aspects of Boolean logic? READ
Planning Your Search: Selecting the Search Engine
Deciding which is the best search engine for you really depends on your
information needs. My personal favorites are HotBot, Alta Vista and Deja News.
My top ten and someone else’s may be entirely different. Here are the URLs for
the top search engines: HotBot <http://www.hotbot.com/>, AltaVista,
<http://www.altavista. digital.com/cgi-bin/query>, Excite
<http://www.excite.com>, Infoseek <http://www.infoseek.com >, Lycos
<http://www.lycos.com/>, Magellan! <http://www.mckinley.com/>, Open Text
Index <http://www.opentext.com/omw/f-omw.html>, WebCrawler
<http://webcrawler.com/>, and Yahoo! <http://www.yahoo.com>. Deja News is a
special kind of search engine designed to extract information from newsgroups.
. will examine the top four or five in some additional detail
Planning Your Search: Searching for Specific Kinds of Information
With search engines like HotBot or Alta Vista, enter the name you wish to search
on with the appropriate letters capitalized, e.g., Winston Churchill. You can use
quotation marks around the name, but shouldn’t have to. This method also works
for organizations such as the World Health Organization or Association of
Schools of Public Health. In some systems, where capitalization is not important,
use quotation marks around the term.
You should also determine how phrases are handled. Several search engines
require that you put quotation marks around the phrase. To search for a term
which is a phrase, put quotation marks around the phrase, e.g., “managed care
environment”. If the search still turns up too many occurrences of the phrase, try
using the plus (+) sign in front of each significant word, e.g., “+managed +care
Common Words Bundled Together
If you are asked to research the role of assuring quality in a managed care
environment, you may wish to use the Boolean AND in your search statement.
(At this point I would also think of the organizations and tools which are involved
in quality issues in managed care such as NCQA (National Commission on
Quality Assurance) and HEDIS. If you are new to the area of quality in managed
care, you might not know these terms. You might remember that managed care
is roughly equivalent to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). As you think
about the question a little further, you may remember IPAs, or PPOs, or POS or
any one of a number of alphabet soup. You might also think of Medicaid
managed care, a very lucrative source of funds for financially strapped hospitals,
these days. Can you think of any other terms to use? How about QA or quality
assurance?) To do a simple search, you might wish to try:
quality AND “managed care” or
+quality +managed +care
How and if you use AND will depend on your search engine.
Too Much of A Good Thing
What about if you get too much of one kind of article? If you are doing a search
on managed care and you turn up too many articles on nursing homes, you could
“+managed +care” AND NOT “nursing homes” or
“+managed +care” -“nursing homes”
How would you compose a really complex search using HEDIS, NCQA, Medicaid
managed Care, assuring quality?
Possible Search Strategy 1:
Possible Search Strategy 2:
Searching for Synonyms, Spelling Variations or Foreign Spellings
Suppose you were looking for articles dealing with mortality rates in elderly
women. How would you construct the search? Think about synonyms for
mortality, for elderly and for women. What are they?
Use the Boolean OR
mortality concept (“mortality rate” OR “death rate”) AND
elderly concept (elderly OR elder OR aged OR aging OR senior OR senior
citizen OR over 65) AND
women (woman OR women OR female OR females)
Canadians use colour and Americans use color. There are a number of spellings
for quite a variety of words. Keep in mind that place names may be spelled
differently. Examples include: Wien/Vienna; Peking/Beijing and so on.
Truncation and Wildcards, and Importance
It is helpful to determine if you can truncate terms. Be careful if you do truncate
as you can easily end up with 30,000 or more documents. The symbol used to
indicate truncation will vary with the search engine. The number of characters the
truncation sign replaces is also handy to know. If you want to find all terms with
a certain ending, be sure to use at least three or four characters so that you give
the search engine a fighting chance to get enough of the word so that you don’t
end up with thousands of hits. For example, think of the variations on the word
fem* (female, feminine, feminization, feminist, femininity, femoral (oops)). Plurals
can be keyed in as separate terms, or you can use the truncation symbol, often
an asterisk (*).
(Alta Vista). Alta Vista uses the plus sign (+) to give more importance to a term.
Capitalizing a word or phrase which ordinarily should be capitalized will also limit
the retrieval (Alta Vista) and give the word or phrase additional importance.
Cases and Case Sensitivity
Alta Vista is case sensitive. “World Health Organization” as a capitalized phrase
retrieves significantly fewer hits than “world health organization”. Consider how
you would wish to search if you suspected there were few occurrences of the
term or phrase in the search engine’s database. Remember, the lower case
always retrieves lower and upper case, but upper case retrieves only upper case.
Looking for Home Pages for Specific Entities or Themes
To find the home pages of an organization, use:
title:”American Hospital Association”
To find pages where the key element is a term or concept, also use:
title:“Medicaid Managed Care”
Searching for Images
Use the image: tag to search for images in this manner:
image:”Mona Lisa” or
Searching for a URL vs Searching for a Linked Site
To find a site, use url:[no space] e.g., url:weber.u.washington.edu/~larsson/
To find out who is pointing at your Website, use link:[no space] e.g.,
Use WebCrawler or Alta Vista to key in a link. See who’s linked to that site. In
WebCrawler, click on the icon and select backwards search. Type the URL into
the box which appears. On Alta Vista, use link:<URL>, where <URL> is the site
for which you want to see links.
Linda Cohen in a document titled, “Conducting Research on the Internet”
provides some excellent advice on how to construct searches and about doing
searches efficiently. Much of her advice was covered in the tips section - reading
the directions for the search engine you are using; using capitalization if the
search engine is case sensitive; including synonyms and alternate spellings and
ORing the terms together; repeating the search using an alternate search
strategy; checking spelling, or using alternative spelling for foreign words,
narrowing a search by using title:[term or phrase]; using different search engines,
or using multiple search engines simultaneously.
Free Text Searching
Research librarians are quite used to working with both free text and a controlled
vocabulary when they run an online search of Medline, HealthSTAR or any one
of a number of commercially available databases. If we are searching for
bibliographic information we are also at the mercy of the indexer who may or may
not be trained in indexing techniques. When we search the Web for information,
however, we are at the mercy of the author of the information, the WebMaster
and possible indexer, and of the search engine.
While there are advantages to using an authority list - namely that all synonyms
for a concept are pulled together under one term - very few Web sites have been
indexed using a controlled vocabulary - even the sites which use the meta tag.
Searching the Web uses many of the search strategies developed for searching
full text databases.
Since you will be using natural language searching, you will need not only to
consider all the possible terms to reflect the concept, but you will also need to
think of alternative spellings,
Free Text Searching Tips (used with permission of Linda Kay)
Linda Kay (Kay, 1995) makes a number of recommendations for addressing the
problems of searching full text information on the Web. She recommends that
Think like the people who wrote the material, not like a librarian.
Start with the least common word for the same concept to cut down on
irrelevant hits. Add the other, more common terms in subsequent
Use proximity operators to make your search more accurate.
To broaden a search, use a more distant proximity operator.
Use the same term twice or more to enhance the likelihood that your
article is about a specific topic.
Consider how many variations there will be to express a concept. You
may have to use all of them.
Know whether your system creates automatic plurals when searched.
Consider using variant spellings if some of the research is likely to have
been done in some other country besides the US
Use both acronyms and the full name.
Familiarizing Yourself with a Subject
If you are unfamiliar with a subject, review the table of contents, index and
selected chapters of books on the topic to determine possible vocabulary terms.
A good back of the book indexer will cross-reference less-used terms to more
commonly used terms. You may need to use them all in your search for every
document on a topic. Journal and newsletter articles (especially the latter) are
excellent sources of vocabulary. One of the best sources of new terms,
especially in the health care administration and management disciplines which
are constantly adopting new terminology, are the flyers which come out
announcing conferences, training opportunities and workshops. Be sure to use
conference announcements to locate new terms for your glossary of potential
Be prepared to view a lot of titles. Even the most tightly constructed search will
sometimes retrieve thousands of hits. No matter how hard you try, you may need
to look at a huge number of titles in order to find several which best meet your
client’s needs. Don’t hesitate to look carefully at all the material you turn up, and
be on the lookout for the unexpected. Occasionally a title which will show up
which serendipitously matches another information need. Copy the URL to your
Bookmark file or to your personal information manager (PIM). Use a tool like
WebWhacker to download pages to your computer for viewing offline if you are
running your Web browser under a commercial ISP rather than from an
academic site. Secret Agent is another offline browser.
Sometimes it is necessary to print documents for offline review especially if the
topic being covered is complex or very information rich, or contains a lot of
Searching the Web will take longer because you will need to do more reading to
provide your client with good information. Not only is the Web not indexed, but it
rarely provides abstracts. The main advantage of abstracts is that they provide a
compact source of information about the full document, especially if structured
abstracts are being used. In Medline you can read the abstract and based on
your knowledge of the authors, journal, and title, make a good decision on the
quality of the article.
Limiting the Amount of Information You Retrieve
Linda Kay discusses the three sources of too much information: namely,
problems with the search terms; problems with the search strategy and article
clutter, the less-relevant documents that appear when you search. We call it false
drops or junk.
She recommends that you look at your search terms and determine if they too
broad and if you need to use a better, more specific term. Downloading or
bookmarking a few likely articles and showing them to your patron can help you
decide which ones are the most appropriate kind to retrieve. If you are using
several terms, try to determine which of the terms was retrieving the marginal
cites and remove that term.
Be sure to check the search strategy and make sure it is appropriate for the
search engine. Not all search engines use the same search format. If you are
using Boolean logic, try anding terms together. In Deja News you can limit your
search to specific listservs.
Use + to ensure the work is in the document. Use - to eliminate unwanted terms
There really is no good way to get rid of irrelevant documents when you are
searching the Web. They just seem to show up. Search engines which provide
“relevancy” rankings may not be the best method of determining if an article is
really useful to your researcher. In many cases items which are ranked in the 30
percent relevant category can be just as relevant, and can occasionally be more
relevant. Search engines which provide you with rankings determine the rankings
based on the number of times the word or phrase is used in the document. A
document containing one mention of the term you want may be just as useful to
your client if it opens up new ways of thinking about the research question.
Knowing when a document is useful to a researcher comes with experience.
You will likely never need to look for more documents, but if you do, rethinking
concepts and broadening the terms you use might be helpful. Reordering words
is another strategy which seems to be profitable as is using synonyms.
Hints for Searching Alta Vista
The simple search engine from Alta Vista is more than adequate for most
of your searches
Type in the word or phrase which best meets your understanding of the
term. Add synonyms, then run your search
Alta Vista will rank the results putting the most relevant search terms first,
thus what you’re looking for should be in the first page or two. (note: I
have found good results as many as 6 or 8 pages from the first page - but
use the + sign to indicate that you must have that word in each of the
use the - sign to indicate that this word must not be in the database
Use Upper Case with proper names - names of people and places to limit
Use all lower case to maximize the number of hits you get back. (lower
case will return upper and lower case hits; Upper case will only retrieve
names entered into the database in upper case
Phrases should have double quotes around them “”
Use wildcards, the *, after, or in the middle of a word
Use quotes and + signs to indicate a phrase where all words should be
included in any link retrieved
Boolean AND, OR, NEAR (NEAR means within 10 words of the second
word), and AND NOT
Special: host:site.name will give you access to all the pages on a site
link:site,url will give you access to how many people are citing your
Website or a page on your Website.
The advanced search allows filters by date and weights keywords and
enables nested parentheses
Alta Vista's Live Topics
To me this is magic. When you use the Alta Vista search engine, after you finish
the search, you can narrow it considerably by using Alta Vista’s Live Topics. Live
Topics works by retrieving terms from an online thesaurus which in turn is based
on the terms you choose for your search and the “hits” which result. These terms
are laid out visually or in text format (subject approach) and show the
relationships of the terms to each other. The visual version uses graphs.
From the results page, select Live Topics. From the table or graph, exclude or
add terms to your previous search by clicking on the terms you want to include or
exclude. Please be careful when including terms. These terms are being ANDed
to the search. Too many added terms will often result in no hits. Submit the
search again and watch the retrieval go way down.
Hints for Using the Excite Search Engine
Capitalize the first letter of every proper name
Boolean AND, OR, and AND NOT
Use the “more like this” feature to grab additional sites based on the
criterion you establish in your own mind
The “sort by site” feature can bring every page from a particular site found
by the search into one compressed unit
Excite also uses the + and - signs in the Advanced Search to limit retrieval
Limit your search to the Web, Excite Reviews, Usenet, or Usenet
classifieds. Excite Reviews rate each site for quality
Proper names should be enclosed with double quote marks when you use
a name and another keyword
Weighting: to weight one keyword more heavily than another, use the ^
sign with a number, e.g., public^2 health
Hints for Using the HotBot Search Engine
Use the Modify button to add more search terms (term “must,” “should,” or
“must not” appear)
Select “search for all the words” (AND) or “search for any of the words”
(OR) to refine your search
By selecting the Expert button you can filter your search by date or media
Defaults can be saved from search to search
HotBot doesn’t support truncation or wildcards
Hints for Using Web Crawler
Use Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT, ADJ and NEAR/X (where X is a
number within a certain number of words from the first word keyed in)
Use double quotes around phrases
Use parentheses () to group synonyms
Use the “Best of the Net” section to find superior sites
Hints for Maximizing Yahoo! Searches
Yahoo! is not a search engine so much as it is a hierarchical arrangement
of prescreened links to Websites. Websites are high quality
Search for concepts, beginning with the broadest category (no Boolean
Search within concepts or categories when you are dealing with large
Yahoo! uses the logical AND and returns pages with all the terms
Yahoo! automatically puts a wildcard after every term
Hints for Retrieving Newsgroup Information through Deja News
Hints for Using the InfoSeek Search Engine
Use of logical AND to retrieve all keywords
Quotation marks are not needed for phrases on Infoseek
Use + signs for more relevancy and to ensure that the word appears in the
Separate several proper names in a row with commas
Keywords placed in square brackets will appear within 100 words of each
Use - signs to “not” out terms
Use InfoSeek to locate images in this format: image:+caduceus
Use the “similar pages” link after you’ve found a particularly good hit
Creating Cheat Sheets
If you find yourself returning again and again to a particular search engine, it
might be worth your while to create a cheat sheet and file it away in alphabetical
order in your files along with the documentation. Use a large font type (16 point)
and organize the information in such fashion as to make reading the document
easy. This is especially true as we discussed earlier since different search
engines index sites to a greater or lesser degree.
Take time to get familiar with a new search engine and its idiosyncrasies; you'll
know what it can do, and because you are more comfortable with the search
features you'll search faster and more efficiently. It’s very important to read the
documentation. See Appendix ?: Major Search Engine Documentation.
Coping with an Unmanageable, Uncertain and Changing Vocabulary
Save glossaries of terms that you find on the Web. These glossaries can be
found through the various guides or by using the term “glossary” and other
additional subject. For example, if you were to use Alta Vista Expert Search tool
to search for managed care glossaries, you might try using the combination of
terms which include managed care and glossary
ongoing review of existing definitions
examine specialized works from related fields for terms
newsletters and newspapers are a rich source of new terminology
scan the trade literature (e.g., Healthcare Financial Management)
develop hedges or groupings of terms (synonyms)
scan professional development catalogs
Vocabulary Search Guide from Hospital and Health Administration Index
surf the net
Internet sites change over time
Expert vs Amateur sites
Intervals between updates
Web is unstable
PC / Desktop Search Engines
Infoseek Desktop (formerly Infoseek Ultraseek)
Description: InfoSeek was the first search engine to offer a browser-installed
search box. Site has instructions and FAQs for using the tool on your desktop.
Excite Direct attaches itself to your browser and sits in one corner of your
desktop. When you type in search requests in the box and you will receive
instant results from Excite in your current browser window. It’s fast and ranks the
information so that the most relevant sites appear at the top of the list. You will
need to download the software from the Excite site.
Description: FerretSoft uses World Wide Web based Search Engines to
simultaneously queries all configured search engines. Other ferrets exist to make
searching for information easier. WebFerret will find Web pages based on your
search criteria. Requires. Win95 or NT4.0. A NewsFerret and a FileFerret are
also available to help you locate news items and files on the Web. The
EmailFerrett helps you locate email addresses; the IRCFerret helps with chat
Appendix A: Specific Search Engine Documentation
Alta Vista - Help for Simple Queries Only, Not for Advanced Queries!
Deja News - Power Search Help
Deja News - Query Filter Help
Deja News - Search Language Help
Deja News - Search Results Page
How to Use Excite Search
Excite Facts Sheet
HotBot FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Appendix B: List of Search Engines and their URLs
Search Engine URL
EINET Galaxy http://www.einet.net/
Femina - The Women's http://www.femina.com
OpenText Index http://www.opentext.com:8080/
World Access Internet http://www.infohiway.com/
Appendix C: Where to Get More Information on Search Engines
Search Engine Watch
Description: Nicely laid out in tabular form, this site, edited by Danny Sullivan,
provides access to a number of articles on searching and search engines.
The Webmaster's Guide to Search Engines and Directories. 1997
Description: Found on a site edited by Danny Sullivan. A variety of subjects
surrounding search engines and directories including, How Search Engines
Work, How Search Engines Rank Web Pages, Search Engine Features, How To
Use Meta Tags, Coping With Frames. And How Big Are The Search Engines?
Search Engine Tutorials, compiled by Danny Sullivan. 1997.
Description: Online resources and articles. Citations to sites are briefly
Search Engine Reviews, compiled by Danny Sullivan. 1997
Description: Annotated list of review articles about search engines. Tracks
changes over time in the search engines themselves.
Internet Search Tools, by Alison Deacon. December 1997.
Description: Long, briefly annotated list of search engines.
How to Search the Web: A Guide To Search Tools, by Terry A. Gray. August
Description: Nice comparison chart of the various features such as case
sensitivity, considers phrases, wildcard, Booleans allowed, controllable display
Search Engine Comparison Page: Background Information, by Gillian Westera.
December 1996. < http://www.curtin.edu.au/curtin/library/staffpages/gwpersonal/
Gillian uses a structured abstract to describe the search engines and what is
indexed by them.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: Librarian's Guide to the Best Information on
the Net, by Marylaine Block. December 1997.
Search Tools and How to Search are the two main elements in this table.
Understanding and Comparing Web Search Tools, compiled by Karen Campbell,
URL: http://www.hamline.edu/library/bush/handouts/comparisons.html >
Your Complete Guide to Searching the Net, by ZDNet, December 2, 1997.
URL: < http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/websearch/_open.htm >
Description: Tests, poll of 1600 search engine users, and an article on "The
Future of Search".
A Collection of Best Search Engine Comparison Charts, by Raine Vakkuri,
University of Oulu, October 3th 1997.
Description: Thirteen articles on this topic.
Understanding WWW Search Tools, By Jian Liu, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Reference
Department, IUB Libraries
Barker, Joe. “Constructing and refining searches in Alta Vista Advanced Query:
Detailed Searching Instructions.” Berkeley: Teaching Library Internet Workshops
University of California, Berkeley, 1996. <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/
Barker has done a superb job of concentrating all the significant points about
using Alta Vista Advanced Query, including Alta Vista Live Topics.
Barker, Joe. “How to Choose the Search Tools You Need.” Berkeley: Teaching
Library Internet Workshops University of California, Berkeley, 1996.
Of particular interest is the table titled: “Recommended General Web Search
Tools: Good features for refining searches” which looks at many of the key
features of Alta Vista Advanced Query, Infoseek Ultrasmart, Hotbot, Yahoo! and
Barker, Joe. “Searching the World Wide Web: Strategies, Analyzing your topic,
Choosing search tools.” Teaching Library Internet Workshops, University of
California, Berkeley, 1996. <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/
This is a really valuable handout. Great tables telling you how to search for
proper names, phrases, terms you don’t want, synonyms, differential spellings,
home pages, images, titles and more.
Basch, Reva ed. “Secrets of the Super Searchers: the accumulated wisdom of 23
of the world's top online searchers”, Online (Eight Bit Books), 1993.
Bernstein, Judith, “Finding a Needle in a Digital Haystack.” Netguide, April 1996,
Cohen, Linda. Conducting Research on the Internet. October 1996.
Gadikian, Randy and Susan M. Stievater "How to maintain your online searching
skills",. Online, v. 16, Sept. 1992, pp. 43-44.
Handman, Pamela. "Stop the clock, hold that search, and take a break", by
Online, V. 16, May 1992, pp. 34-36.
“Hints and Tips for Searching the Internet.” <http://www.classroom.net/
Jones, Debra. Critical Thinking in an Online World. University of California,
Santa Barbara Library, 1996. <http://www.library.ucsb/edu/untangle/jones.html>
Kay, Linda. The Larger Question, #1: What is Your Searching Style? June 1995.
Malet, Gary. Re: MEDICAL MATRIX MOVED! [email message posted to Medical
Libraries Discussion List <MEDLIB-L@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu>], Fri, 25 Apr
1997 05:09:10 GMT.
Moores, C.N. “Datacoding Applied to Mechanical Organization of Knowledge”.
Am Doc. 2:20-32, 1951.
National Research Council, National Science Education Standards, 1996, p.31
“The Netsearcher’s Ultimate Cheat Sheet.” PC Magazine, December 3, 1996.
Peterson, Richard E. Harvesting Information from the Internet Using Search
Engines. [online] April 26, 1997. <http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/tcc-
“Search 101” 1997. <http://www5.zdnet.com/zdwebcat/content/basics/search/>
“Search basics: Find what you seek” 1997. <http://www5.zdnet.com/
Tenopir , Carol and Sharon Berglund. “Full-text searching on major supermarket
systems: Dialog, Data-Star, and Nexis", Database, October, 1993, pp. 32-42.
Treloar, Andrew. Scholarly Publishing and the World Wide Web. School of
Computing and Mathematics, Deakin University, October 9, 1995.
Uwired Summer Symposium on Teaching, Learning, and Technology, 1996,
University of Washington. June 1996. <http://weber.u.washington.edu/
Van Camp, Ann J. "Making the most of practice databases", Online, V. 16, July
1992, pp. 92-95.
Zilber, John and John Papageorge. “Simple Search Secrets”. The Net, 2(9):37-