How to Stop Being a Slave to the Internet Understand who uses technology and why Understand what a search engine is and how it works Learn the techniques and strategies needed to search quickly and effectively Learn how to evaluate your results Be the engine (OK, a little too Zen)
Searcher Categories Searchers/Users fall into 4 basic categories: Technophobes (or those intimidated by technology)They get someone else to do it for them or avoid it all together (Im too old, Its too hard) Grudge UsersThey only use those applications they have to use for work AcceptorsThey use technology to solve problems, answer questions, or make life easier TechnophilesThey integrate technology into their daily lives, use it whenever they can, and help others with their technology needs
Reasons for Searching Personal Need Professional Need Response to an Inquiry Confirm facts/ information Entertainment
What is a Search Engine? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a search engine is: "1. a software program that searches a database and gathers and reports information that contains or is related to specified terms, 2. a website whose primary function is providing a search engine for gathering and reporting information available on the Internet or a portion of the Internet" --http://www.bartleby.comhttp://www.bartleby.com
Meaning… It is a computer program that matches your search terms to WebPages or documents that are available in the Internet. Examples:
Keywords According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a keyword is, a descriptive word; a word used as a reference point for finding other words or information (www.bartleby.com)www.bartleby.com They are the words that you want the search engine to look for in a web document Examples: Roman Dining Cicero AND politics Senators OR patres Jupiter NOT planet Caesar, triumvirate
Strategies Searching Strategies: When searching using a search engine using keywords and search terms is the easiest way to search. Here are some strategies that will help you to be successful in your searching: Use the most obvious terms for your search. For example, if you want to find facts about Roman gods, use "Roman gods" as your search terms. Try not be too general. If you want to find facts about Roman gods, don't use "Romans" as your search terms. Add "gods" to make it specific enough. If you want very specific information, try the specific terms first. If you aren't successful, try making the search terms broader. For example, if "Roman dinners" isn't successful, try "Roman dining". If you don't get the results that you want, try a different search engine or meta- search engine. They don't all search the same sites and databases.
Advanced Techniques Use to surround phrases so that the search engine searches for those exact phrases, otherwise the engine will search for the words individually Most search engines have stop words like a,an,the, and, or. Use a + or – symbol to force the engine to include those words in your search. Play with several search engines to decide which one is best for you.
Last Resort Search Terms Also known as the everything but the kitchen sink technique: Type in all of the words you want included in your search. Hit Search. See what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Targeted Searches Advanced searching Advanced searching can be a very rewarding way to pare down the number of hits Image searching Image searching lets you search for images only rather than looking for images buried in articles or text News searching News searching lets you look through news articles for the information you want rather than web documents
Shortcuts Control+f=Find Helps you find keywords in documents Control+n=New webpage Allows you to open a new webpage without losing your work Google Deskbar Allows you to search and define words without leaving your current application such as Word Google Toolbar Allows you to search without having to open a new window
Beginning Your Search When you are beginning your search: Consider Precision v. Recall Recall is the amount of relevant documents out of all the possible documents Precision is the relevant documents in retrieved set out of all the documents in a retrieved set When recall is high, precision is low When precision is high, recall is low Decide which is more important for your search need Do you need a lot of information or a few highly relevant items?
Results When you get your results, also think about: Authority: Who wrote the site? What are their credentials? URLs ending in.gov,.edu,.mil,.org tend to be more reliable than.com (you can even search that way on Googles Advanced Search page Google )Google Currency: How up-to-date is the information? Check to see if you can tell when the last time the site was updated. Remember that ANYONE can put information on the Internet! Be careful!
Lets Play Lets put some of these ideas to the test…
Are 348,000 Hits Too Many for You? That is the number of hits that you can expect for the search Roman dining That is a typical number of search results an average searcher can expect…or MORE By the end of this session, you will no longer be an AVERAGE searcher Watch as this number gets smaller and smaller while our results get better and better
Advanced Search: Roman Dining We are going to go from 348,000 to 624 in a matter of seconds (EP) Google Advanced Search Page Now, how about 624 to 80? (Domain) Google Advanced Search Page I now have to look through 347,920 less pages to wade through But say I change my mind based on my results…
Refined Search: Roman Dining Now I want Roman recipes instead of information on dining using Roman recipes as my terms Google 492,000. Hmmm. A little cumbersome. GoogleGoogle using Roman recipes 1,990. Still a few too many. Google Advanced Search PageGoogle Advanced Search Page (Domain) I think I can handle 87. I now have 491,913 fewer pages to sift through. Now to really jazz it up…
Image Search: Roman Dining Google Image Search Use Roman kitchen and get 669 hits. Use Roman kitchen and get 112 hits Google Advanced Image Search Google Advanced Image Search and use Roman kitchen (Domain ) and get 3 hits Thats 666 less images to look at!
Keep in Mind… Less isnt always more. Sometimes its good to browse more sites rather than less for the serendipitous finds Have fun looking at things you hadnt considered. They might yield extra information.
Now What? What to do with all of this information? Consider building a website to warehouse your links and information Share it with colleagues or your local Classical Association Submit it to me and I will add it to the CAWNY site!
Fini Remember: Have fun. Youre not going to hurt anything if you try something new Learning how to manage the Internet takes time. Be patient. Do it while youre watching TV. Youre already a Latin Geek; why not be a Computer Geek too?