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Technology Tip of the Month

March, 1996: Web Search Tools

 

by Deborah Healey


The Information Age is upon us, and we have to figure out how to deal with finding what we want in very large amounts of information. Last month's tip looked at search strategies, including the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT, as a way of finding the information you're looking for and avoiding unrelated information.

Please take a look at the February, 1996 Tech Tip if you are not sure what Boolean operators are. This month continues in that direction, giving some tips for improving your searches on the World Wide Web.

Most Web search tools ("search engines"), such as Infoseek and Alta Vista, use + and - rather than the words AND, OR and NOT to limit or expand a search. You can put together some quite complex searches if you click on and follow the instructions in the "Advanced Searches."

Helpful Vocabulary

General Tips

Sherlock HolmesYou don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to search more effectively. Here are some useful ideas for any Web search:

InfoSeek

If you use Infoseek, it helps to read the hints. Net Search does not use the words AND, OR and NOT as Boolean operators, but it does Boolean searches in its own way.
Here are some useful ideas for InfoSeek searches:

Practice: Magnifying Glass

  1. How would you search for information about mountain lions (also known as cougars) in Oregon?

  2. How can you find previews of recent movies?

  3. How would you look for a picture of Michael Jackson?

  4. How would you find information about soccer but not American football?

  5. How can you find out about the weather in Spain?
Try out your searches. Write down the number of titles that were correct (what you were looking for) and incorrect (not really what you wanted) in the first 20.
1. Search terms used:
Number correct/20 _________ Number incorrect/20 _________
2. Search terms used:
Number correct/20 _________ Number incorrect/20 _________
3. Search terms used:
Number correct/20 _________ Number incorrect/20 _________
4. Search terms used:
Number correct/20 _________ Number incorrect/20 _________
5. Search terms used:
Number correct/20 _________ Number incorrect/20 _________

Some suggested answers



See Tech Tips

If you have questions, comments, or for more information, contact Deborah Healey, dhealey AT uoregon DOT edu

http://www.deborahhealey.com/techtips/june2009.html
Last updated 26 June, 2009