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Neverending Search: What you really need to know about online searching and search tools!

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Presentation on theme: "Neverending Search: What you really need to know about online searching and search tools!"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Neverending Search: What you really need to know about online searching and search tools!

3 Search, don’t surf! It’s a trillion page Web!

4 We already know how to use the Web! Just because you live on the Web, doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to use it more effectively and more powerfully!

5 Effective searching Brainstorming/ Questioning/ Planning Understanding strategy/ syntax Evaluating results! Choosing the right type of search tool Staying up to date

6 Four tips: FSRE (for sure?) Focus—What is your mission or question? Strategize—Which search tools will you use? Which keywords and search terms will you use and how will you express them? Refine—How might I improve my search results? Evaluate—Which results will you visit? Which sites or documents are worthy enough to use? Did I do good work?

7 Good searchers also: Use peripheral vision—they mine their results for additional search terms Consult several search tools Make use of advanced search screens Search the free Web and subscription databases Use appropriate syntax (the language specific to the search tool they are using) Use search strategies Modify or refine their searches (Searching is recursive!)

8 Web search engines can locate every page on the Web Search engines are the only search tools on the Web Webmasters can fool a search engine into ranking a page more highly in its search results Eileen Stec, Rutgers, ALA Preconference 1/03

9 One Possible Scenario Pre-process search terms –Brainstorm Use Boolean techniques –Advanced search Phrase searching Other search “tricks” Use specialized search engines Plumb the Deep Web Use online subscription databases

10 Pre-process your search terms Bernie Dodge Step Zero: Seven Steps to Better Searching

11 Research Question: How effective are drug abuse prevention programs for young people? Concept 1Concept 2Concept 3Concept 4 or teen*“drug abuse” prevent*effectiv* or adolesc*marijuanaprogram*success or child*alcoholtreat* Connect with “ANDs” Recognize the importance of brainstorming and strategy

12 How important AND is!!!

13 When do you really need OR? OR is generally used for synonyms or related words.

14 Use NOT as a refinement technique when problem words are likely to come up eagles NOT Philadelphia “Martin Luther” NOT King

15 Rockwell Schrock’s Boolean Machine /

16 Let’s play Boolean Aerobics! Stand up if you have brown hair AND brown eyes Remain standing if you have brown hair AND brown eyes AND are wearing glasses Remain standing if you have brown hair AND brown eyes AND are wearing glasses AND are wearing something blue

17 “Phrase searching” One of your best searching tools! Use only for legitimate phrases, names, titles “vitamin A” “John Quincy Adams” Titles “An Officer and a Gentleman” Phrase searching is sometimes overused: Remember: not every group of words is a phrase Sometimes “ANDing” or “NEARing” are better strategies

18 Advanced Search Screens Google All the Web AltaVista HotBot

19 Tricks for advanced searchers seeking a needle in a haystack Word stemming: –wom*n –lesson* NEAR plan* Search within –Google, AlltheWeb –Also use “find” to search within a page full of text! Field Searching –Search for keywords in titles, subject tags, file formats rather than just words anywhere in the text Search Engine Features Chart

20 Field searching is usually easier in the Advanced Search area title: Link check (Google, AltaVista) Helps in evaluating sites! –link:mciu.org/~spjvweb Media or filetype:pdf or ppt (Google) Great for finding documents, papers, and presentations! domain: –domain:jp +edu

21 Just as I wouldn’t ask my contractor friend to prepare my will, I wouldn’t ask my lawyer friend to build my new kitchen. Search tools have specialties too.

22 A hammer won’t do it all...

23 “People who are only good with hammers see every problem as a nail.” Abraham Maslow, psychologist

24 Choosing the right search tool is an important strategy! search engines subject directories annotated/rated directories subject guides/gateways meta-search tools specialized directories

25 A field guide to the search tools Search engines Databases of billions of Web pages, gathered by automated “robots,” allowing broad, often overwhelming searches. Search engines vary in the ways they collect sites and organize results Metasearch Engines Search across a variety of search tools and organize the collected results. Good for a broad sweep type search Subject directories Links to resources arranged in subject hierarchies, encouraging users to both browse through, and often search for, results. Subject directories are often annotated. They are selected, evaluated, and maintained by humans. Specific Subject Guides or Gateways The work of a subject specialists, subject gateways usually result in carefully selected and annotated links Specialized search engines Search engines that focus their searching in a particular area of knowledge or interest. Subscription Databases Pay services often provided by states or libraries offering premium content in the form of reference materials, journal and newspaper articles, broadcast transcripts, etc.

26 Subject directories: When to use them When you are just starting out, or have a broad topic or one major keyword or phrase (example: “Civil War”) When you want to get to the best sites on a topic quickly When you value annotations and assigned subject headings which may help retrieve more relevant material When you want to avoid viewing the many noise documents picked up by search engines

27 Two Essential Directories Librarians’ Index to the Internet Well-organized, selective, and continually updated collection, also known as “the thinking person’s Yahoo.” Maintained by a team of librarians at Berkeley Public Library Kids Click Great starting point for kids. Annotations are carefully written. Offers grade levels and describes how illustrated a site is.

28 Subject directories to count on INFOMINE: Scholarly Internet Resource Collections A large collection of scholarly Internet resources About.com Offers a surprising number of guide pages, maintained by paid experts. Not scholarly but very handy for everyday, practical topics Academic Info: Your Gateway to Quality Educational Resources Great for high school and college research BUBL Link This UK project leads to carefully selected and annotated resourceshttp://bubl.ac.uk/link/ WWW Virtual Library The first subject directory on the Web. Features comprehensive, well-annotated subject collections maintained by experts around the worldhttp://www.vlib.org/

29 Subject directories—Popular Google Directory Yahoo! Directory Both Yahoo! and Google offer popular directories. They are not very selective, but they offer some wonderful subject collections. Examples: Yahoo! Full Coverage Google Social Issues

30 Search Engines: When to use them When you have a narrow topic or several keywords When you are looking for a specific site When you want to do a comprehensive search and retrieve a large number of documents on your topic When you want to make use of the features in an advanced search screen or search for particular types of documents, file types, source locations, languages, date last modified, etc. When you want to take advantage of newer retrieval technologies, such as concept clustering, ranking by popularity, link ranking, etc.

31 Search engines are powerful but they have limitations! They do not crawl the web in “real time” If a site is not linked or submitted it may not be accessible Not every page of a site is always searchable Few search engines truly search the full text of Web pages Special tools needed for the Invisible/Deep Web Paid placement/sponsored results distract from real results

32 When using a search engine Your goal is to get the best stuff to appear on the first two or three pages.

33 Relevance rocks! Search engines determine relevance in different ways.

34 Second Gen Search Tools Approach relevance in helpful ways: Google ranks by link popularity Teoma ranks by subject-specific popularityTeoma Vivisimo offers concept-clustered resultsVivisimo Surfwax uses human generated indexes—Focus Words and summariesSurfwax Ixquick Metasearch uses the ranking schemes (top ten lists) of other search tools U. Albany Laura Cohen

35 Some search tools present results horizontally, not in long lists! Query Server (metasearch)Query Server Vivisimo (metasearch)Vivisimo

36 Your Goal as a Searcher: “Upping” the best results Traditional Text relevance Second generation Link analysis Popularity Thesauri Visualization/Mapping “More like this” Concept clustering/ Autocategorization

37 Trends to look for SurfWax and Ask.com use indexes or thesauri. The burden of coming up with precise or extensive terminology shifted from searcher to the engine.SurfWaxAsk.com Google and WiseNut rank results based on the behavior of millions of Web users. Vivisimo and WiseNut use concept clustering/auto- categorization/horizontal display KartOO maps results visually Ixquick Metasearch compiles “top ten” lists of the major engines

38 Specialized Search Tools Scirus (science search)Scirus Search.edu (searches only edu domains) Biography Center (profile aggregator)Biography Center SearchEric.org (education) SOSIG (Social Sciences) HUMBUL (Humanities)

39 Invisible/Deep/Hidden Web The Web’s largest growing resource Estimated to be 40 times size of the visible Web Most not subject to fees Includes topic-specific databases

40 Why is some of the Web invisible? I The material is on the Web but it is a proprietary database The material is on the Web but is in a free database Content appears past the page size reach of the crawler The crawler does not search a particular file format or non-text interface The page is available only after registration The page is available by some engines but not others. No two engines are the same

41 Why is some of the Web invisible? II Time lag exists between posting, crawling, and searching (Spiders do not crawl in real time). Site may have been unavailable during the last crawl Firewall prevents access Page must be accessed or searched in a special way Page is not linked to from any other page Page was not submitted to the search engine you are using

42 Tools for seeing the Invisible Web Invisible Web Directory Complete Planet Librarian’s Index to the Internet Pinakes OAIster

43 Examples of Free Databases Find Articles MagPortal ERIC American Memory Collection Finder NARA Perry Casteñeda Map Collection

44 The free Web is not enough!

45 What’s not on the free Web? Copyrighted fiction and nonfiction: biographies High quality reference: including literary criticism, science biography Full, searchable archives of journals, magazines, newspapers Most of our OPAC

46 EBSCO databases EBSCO databases (Magazines & Newspapers, Health, History, Literature and Science resources, and Columbia Encyclopedia). Teacher journals, ERIC database and Advanced Placement Search are accessed by clicking on Teacher Resources) Britannica Online Columbia International Affairs Online CountryWatch CQ Researcher InfoTrac InfoTrac (Opposing Viewpoints, Gale Virtual Reference Library) NoveList Oxford Reference Online Questia World Book Online Bessie Chin Library Subscription Databases

47 Public Library Databases Marin County Free Library databasesMarin County Free Library databases MARINet databases

48 Don’t forget to use online encyclopedias and databases as subject directories! They select great links!

49 Tools to help you make search engine choices: Debbie Abilock’s Choosing the Best Search For Your Purpose /information/5locate/adviceengine.html /information/5locate/adviceengine.html How to Choose a Search Engine or Directory (U. Albany) For more information (and for people who love searching): Search Engine Watch

50 Let’s review Okay, what did we learn?


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