Tips and strategies for effective web searching

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  • Electricity – adds context to explain the type of smart meter.Electromagnetic is the technical term – could use that instead of electricity – would add contextDon’t use EMF instead of electromagnetic because could mean something else. But could bump up importance of electromagnetic by using both.Keep health hazards / health effects natural.
  • Takes a couple of searches to find the phrase bicycle ridershipGoogle will take care of variants for bicycle, bike.Need to capture the implied third concept of cause and effect.Primary depends on what you most care about – is it to find ways to increase ridership, or to promote bike paths?
  • The * at end of series of words also good for forcing proximityMake sure there is a space before and after.
  • Select from side panel – more search options.
  • Google searches for results with climate change in title, and Ontario anywhere, but it will rank those that also have Ontario in the title higher.Note: third results does not have Ontario in the title but is about Ontario.
  • Eg – see features with -- intitle:"climate change" ontario preparedness
  • Eg – to see slash tags available for a search – put / at end – eg - "climate change" ontario /
  • Tips and strategies for effective web searching

    1. 1. TIPS ANDSTRATEGIESFOR EFFECTIVEWEBSEARCHINGGwen Harris(March 26, 2012)
    2. 2. AGENDA – EAC - TORONTO1. thinking persons approach to search2. 5 features to make you a power Google user3. 3 methods to get good results faster4. a few alternative search engines
    3. 3. THINKING FIRST
    4. 4. WORDS MATTER Order of words makes a difference in results ranking. Natural phrasing is better because ... A rare term finds rare items, scientific terms find scientific papers, medical … legal ... Context words will disambiguate the meaning. Stock terms identify the type of document you want. What do you expect from the words you use?
    5. 5. CONCEPTS MATTER Primary / dominant concept – what is your core topic? Secondary concept – what modifies or supports the core topic? What do you want to know about it? Does anything connect these concepts? Work outwards – flex one concept at a time – add another concept to refine.
    6. 6. EXAMPLE 1 – SMART METERS Question: Is the electromagnetic field (EMF) from smart meters hazardous to health? Primary: “smart meters” electricity Secondary: health hazards, effects electromagnetic
    7. 7. EXAMPLE 1 - QUERIES Most important first: “smart meters” electricity health hazards Natural phrasing: health hazards of “smart meters” for electricity First 10 results: top 2 are the same, 2 are unique for each set, and ranking is different.
    8. 8. EXAMPLE 2 – BICYCLE PATHS Question: Do bicycle paths or lanes have any influence on cycling rates? Primary: bicycle Secondary: ridership, cycling bicycle/bike paths rate, cycling growth and lanes Increase
    9. 9. EXAMPLE 2 - QUERIES Capture concepts: increase bicycle ridership using bike lanes and paths Add stock term: statistics bicycle ridership using bike lanes and paths
    10. 10. QUOTING A STUDENT Once you have identified (at least provisionally) the primary and secondary concepts involved in a search you are in a position to do two things: you can manipulate the words you are using to search for the concepts and you can apply other strategies to focus on particular instances of the concepts.
    11. 11. 5 FEATURES AT GOOGLE
    12. 12. RELATED WORDS AT GOOGLE
    13. 13. RELATED WORDS AND MATCHING
    14. 14. TIPS ON USING RELATED WORDS All search engines do word variants to some degree. But Google is best at it. Engine retrieves and ranks results with the expanded word set. Watch for bolded words – you may not want some. Think about the words – there may be another you want to use – eg preparedness.
    15. 15. TURN RELATED WORDS OFF Google – put word inside quotation marks. Eg “preparation” Google – use Verbatim Bing and Yahoo – put + in front. Eg +preparation
    16. 16. 5 UNIQUE FEATURES TO GOOGLE1. Highly semantic – as we have seen2. Tilde ~ the synonym operator3. * as wildcard and proximity operator4. Number range5. Judge a page by its images
    17. 17. GOOGLE: ~ THE “FUZZY OPERATOR”
    18. 18. * AS FILL-IN-BLANK
    19. 19. * AS WILDCARD BETWEEN WORDS
    20. 20. GOOGLE NUMBER RANGE NUM..NUM
    21. 21. JUDGE A PAGE BY ITS IMAGES
    22. 22. ALSO PAGE PREVIEW
    23. 23. USING OR Why: to expand a concept. When: after you have a sense of the search results and have identified important words to express the concept. How: one concept at a time, and just 2 or 3 terms that pertain to that concept.
    24. 24. PREPARE OR PLAN
    25. 25. COMPOUND A CONCEPT
    26. 26. 3 METHODS FOR BETTERRESULTS
    27. 27. REFINE YOUR SEARCH1. What words would be in the perfect page title?2. Who would have information about this?3. What format would it be in?
    28. 28. TITLE TAG Format – intitle:<your word or “a phrase”> Question: preparing for climate change in ontario Primary: “climate Secondary: change preparations, planning, adaptation Ontario
    29. 29. INTITLE:”CLIMATE CHANGE”
    30. 30. ADD INTITLE:ONTARIO
    31. 31. CHANGE FOCUS
    32. 32. WHO WILL HAVE IT? Do you want Canadian? Use the .ca country code – site:ca What does the Ministry of Natural Resources have? Use site:mnr.gov.on.ca
    33. 33. MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES
    34. 34. WHAT FORMAT? Use filetype: to ask for particular format. pdf used universally to publish reports, brochures, papers ppt and pps for presentations doc word documents Xls for spreadsheet
    35. 35. LIMIT TO PDF
    36. 36. ALTERNATIVES TO GOOGLE
    37. 37. ALTERNATIVE ENGINES Duckduckgo – ensures privacy, no spam Blekko – slashtag, no spam Carrot2.org – metasearch and clusters results Allplus.com – metasearch and clusters results Topsy – social media
    38. 38. DUCKDUCKGO
    39. 39. DUCKDUCKGO Full privacy – no  Smaller database – tracking or sharing uses own Has Canadian crawl, Blekko, Bing content. Generally higher quality – blocks spam. Duckduckgo.com Syntax for intitle, site, filetype. Search suggestions
    40. 40. BLEKKO – SLASHTAG ENGINE
    41. 41. BLEKKO Avoids content farms  Smaller – 3 billion – no span  Bans some good Sites handpicked and sites categorized  Weak on Canadian Slashtags signify the content. category  Takes time to learn Create your own  Less syntax – does topics have site: Blekko.com
    42. 42. CARROT2 - CLUSTERING
    43. 43. CARROT2.ORG Meta-search of  Only brings back 100 Google, Bing, Yahoo, results. Ask Clusters results – can see aspects of topic Visual display - maps Carrot2.org Good for first search, broad sweep.
    44. 44. ALLPLUS - CLUSTERING
    45. 45. ALLPLUS Metasearch –  Clusters derived from Google, Bing frequently occurring Clusters – more phrase. granular  Small number of Universal – images, results video, news, twitter, blogs Good for first sweep. Allplus.com
    46. 46. TOPSY – SOCIAL MEDIA
    47. 47. TOPSY.COM Indexes social media  As with all social Feeds from media, reader Twitter, Facebook, Go beware. ogle-Plus, Youtube etc. Uses influence algorithms to identify Topsy.com importance Provides buzz
    48. 48. THANK YOU Questions? Internet News Blog http://www.websearchguide.ca/netblog/ Web Search Courses at iSchool Institute – 1-day classroom, and 6-week online Email goharris@websearchguide.ca

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