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1 Teaching the Web in Under an Hour Mary Ellen Bates Bates Information Services

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Presentation on theme: "1 Teaching the Web in Under an Hour Mary Ellen Bates Bates Information Services"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Teaching the Web in Under an Hour Mary Ellen Bates Bates Information Services

2 2 What We’ll Cover Start from their assumptions Sample outline and demos Five steps Final thoughts on teaching the web {I won’t cover copyright and plagiarism issues}

3 3 Start From Their Assumptions

4 4 Start From Their Assumptions Search engine logs show: Only 1 in 20 searcher scrolls to 2 nd page of results 1 search in 5 produced no results Half the searches were a single word Google is by far the most-used search tool. Yahoo, second with only a quarter of the use of Google

5 5 Start From Their Assumptions Outsell survey on end users: 66% of Web researchers have no training 96% consider themselves “skilled” or “very adept” at finding information

6 6 Address Their Assumptions Show what you find on the second page of search results Show success of 1-word vs. multi-word searches Side-by-side comparison of search engines Comparison of search engine vs. a portal or directory

7 7 Sample Outline and Demos

8 Search Engines How are search engines built? Spiders start with sites they know Spider “reads” those pages Follow links to other pages Look at submitted and paid links Content is indexed Searches are “served” with results

9 Search Engines Limitations of search engines: They’re not searching the web in real time They have a lag-time of days to weeks No search engine has even 25% of web content They can’t find a site that isn’t linked-to or submitted to a search engine

10 Search Engines Limitations of search engines: They can’t get into databases or sites that require registration Need to distinguish between search results and paid listings

11 Search Engines Demo Search-off #1 Do same search in Google, Teoma and AllTheWeb, compare results Search-off #2 Compare success of one-concept vs. multi-concept searches Example: “sweet success” vs. “sweet success” pregnancy

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14 Directories and Portals Directories – large, hierarchical Yahoo, LookSmart, OpenDirectory Portals – usually subject-specific FirstGov.gov, HealthFinder.gov Not comprehensive, but focused and usually less irrelevant material

15 Directories Demo Search-off Compare search results from a search engine and a directory Consciousness-raising Show where OpenDirectory listings appear in search engines results

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17 Invisible Web Anything the search engines can’t or won’t index Find information by thinking “Who cares?” and “Who knows?” See Invisible-web.net

18 Invisible Web demo Challenge them to find an article from last week’s New York Times from a search engine Works best if you give them a specific article, with byline, but without the source. Also good consciousness-raising for the value of fee-based online services.

19 What’s NOT on the Web Professional online services Historical material Many non-English-language sources Many academic and scholarly sources

20 Information Hygiene “Can you evaluate information?” Demo: (and compare to Solution: check AllWhoIs.com Solution: “Oh, yeah?” Solution: Triangulate

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23 Information Hygiene Question everything Who would care about this? What am I missing? Is this really accurate, current, authoritative? What about pre-web information? Where will I find info beyond a search engine?

24 24 Final Thoughts on Teaching the Web You can’t teach them everything you know Don’t provide list of URLs Don’t get bogged down with browser tools Don’t focus on advanced searching Test every example the day of the class

25 25 Final Thoughts Stay in touch: offer them an Tip of the Month Hand out a checklist cheat sheet “Have I consulted: two search engines, two directories, the library’s subject portal, and a librarian?”     

26 26 Mary Ellen offers a free “Tip of the Month” update. If you would like to subscribe, just ask ( ) or go to

27 27 Mary Ellen Bates Bates Information Services Washington, DC


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