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Technology Tip of the Month


November, 2003: Web Search Tools Updated version of 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. This month's Tip gives some hints for Google searches in particular. Before we start, be sure you understand Boolean operators. Please take a look at the February, 1996 Tech Tip if you are not sure what Boolean operators are.

Most Web search tools ("search engines"), such as Google, AlltheWeb, 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

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

Google

If you use Google, it helps to read the hints. Google does not use the words AND and NOT as Boolean operators, but it does Boolean searches in its own way.
Here are some useful ideas for Google 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 Other tech tips


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

http://www.deborahhealey.com/techtips/nov2003.html
Last updated 26 June, 2009