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Beyond Google

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 23

									    Beyond Google:
Searching the Internet Like a Pro

           Jefferson Library
             Anna Berkes
        aberkes@monticello.org
All About the Internet
• Originally U.S. military project called ARPANET
    (1969)
•   Internet and WWW are NOT the same thing!
    – Internet is the physical network of computers over
      which information can be transmitted
    – WWW is “Web sites,” which you can access via the
      Internet
• Source: http://www.webopedia.com
How Do Search Engines Work?
Web Page
 ………                                  Search Engine
 ……..
 ……..

Web Page
 ………
 ……..
 ……..
                    The search engine sends out
                   a spider…
                    The spider crawls through all
Web Page           the pages and looks at the info
 ………               in them…
 ……..               And brings that info back to
 ……..              the search engine to put in its
                   index
Different Search Engines
• Some have bigger indexes than others
• Search engines with the largest indexes:
    –   Google (8.1 billion pages)
    –   MSN (5.0 billion pages)
    –   Yahoo! (4.2 billion pages)
    –   Ask Jeeves (2.5 billion pages)
• VERY LITTLE OVERLAP between these different
    search engines!
•   See www.searchengineshowdown.com or
    www.searchenginewatch.com for comparisons
Open vs. “Hidden” Web
• Some Web pages are freely available and
    searchable by search engines
•   Some are not searchable by search engines:
    records in library catalogs, content of article
    databases like JSTOR or LexisNexis, etc.
•   Keep this in mind when you are searching! –
    often information you might want will not be
    turned up by the search engine you are using
“Search Tricks”
•   Phrase searching
•   Truncation
•   Boolean operators
•   Special search characters
•   Search limits
•   Search engines vary – check out
    www.searchengineshowdown.com’s Features
    Chart
    (http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/featur
    es/)
Phrase Searching
• Allows you to find two or more words TOGETHER
• Example: “roberts coles” finds only pages with that
    phrase…without quotes, it will also find pages with those
    two words appearing separately
•   Usually you do this by enclosing the phrase in quotes:
    “roberts coles” – but some search engines are different,
    so be sure to check under “Search Help”
•   Example: try “roberts coles” on Google
•   Try searching for same phrase on Teoma
Truncation
• Allows you to search for many different
  variations of a single word all at once
• Example: bank? Searches for bank, banks,
  banking, banker, bankable…
• Again, often done with a ?, but can be
  other characters (*, $) – depends on the
  engine; some do it automatically (Google)
• Example: search for equin* on Altavista
Boolean Operators
• Allows you to combine search terms in various ways
  to make your search more accurate
• Operators: AND, OR, NOT
   – Jefferson AND architecture
   – Buildings OR architecture
   – Jefferson NOT thomas
• Many search engines have a default Boolean operator
  (usually AND)
   – jefferson architecture searches for jefferson AND architecture
• Example: search for jefferson AND (architecture OR
  buildings) on Yahoo!
Special Search Characters

• Vary between different search engines
• Examples:
  – ~ in Google searches synonyms
  – + for very important words
  – - for excluding words
Search Limits
• Allows you to narrow your search down to
  a specific area or type of material
• See the “Advanced Search” pages of
  search engines
• Example: search for the phrase human
  factors in the title of government Web
  sites only using Google Advanced Search
  page
General Search Tips

• Try phrase searching instead of just typing
  the words in: “barbary pirates” instead of
  barbary pirates
• Try out the Advanced Search screens of
  the different search engines
• Check each engine’s Search Tips or Help
But How Do I FIND Things?

• Now that you know how to work the
  search engines…THINK LIKE A
  LIBRARIAN!
• Remember, the World Wide Web is a
  seething mass of mostly useless and/or
  tasteless junk
• Learn how to go for the good stuff!
Librarian Strategies

• Ask yourself…“Who cares?” Search for
  sources, not information!
• Directories
• Ready reference
• “Pearl-culturing”
“Who Cares?”
• Think about who (person, corporation,
  organization) cares about or is interested
  in the topic you’re searching for…do they
  have a Web site?
• Example 1: Someone gave you an address
  without a ZIP code…
• Example 2: Need quick overview info on a
  country…
Directories
• Even though most of the WWW is a sea of
    triviality…some have made a stab at organizing
•   Example: Librarians’ Index to the Internet
    www.lii.org
•   Infomine (Academic sites)
    http://infomine.ucr.edu
•   Internet Public Library www.ipl.org
• Many search engines also have directories
Ready Reference

• Dictionaries, thesauri, etc. are all often
  found online
• www.yourdictionary.com
• Good ready reference sources can often
  be found through directories
Pearl-Culturing

• Generally means using one source to find
  other similar sources
• See if a Web site that you find useful has
  a list of links to other sites, and check
  those out
  – Example: the Jefferson Library Web links page
Once You’ve Found the Site…
• Sometimes, even though you’ve found a likely
    site, it’s difficult to find the specific information
    you need
•   Look for a site map or site index – most good
    Web sites will have one
•   Look for a search tool on the site…or use a
    search engine to search just that site, like so:
    site:www.website.com “search terms”
It’s a Jungle Out There!

• Anyone with a little html know-how can
  put information on the Internet
• Some sites are just ugly…others are just
  misleading…some are both!
• Some are misleading but look legitimate
  – http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html
  – http://j-walk.com/other/conf/
Weeding Out the Junk
• Look at the domain of the site: is it .com, .gov,
    .org? Be more suspicious of .com – remember,
    com stands for commercial (as in, selling you
    something)
•   Who created the site?
•   Do they provide contact information?
•   Do they have any proof that they know what
    they’re talking about?
•   With whom are they affiliated?
Other Tools to Try…

• A9 (from Amazon)
• GeniusFind.com (find subject-specific
  search engines)
• Local search engines (Google Local,
  Yahoo! Local, etc.)
• Google calculator/converter
For More Info…
• Unfortunately books go out of date quickly
• Web Searching Tips from
  http://searchenginewatch.com/facts
• Mary Ellen Bates’ “Search Tip of the
  Month”
  (http://www.batesinfo.com/tip.html)
• You can always ask me!
  aberkes@monticello.org

								
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