Searching the InternetSearching the Internet
•Choosing a Search Engine
•Basic Boolean Searching
Finding Keywords:Finding Keywords:
You may need to do some preliminary work in order to discover keywords
that will help you locate information on your topic.
What were the effects of the Holocaust on survivors?
Start with Wikipedia
Here I learned that more than one “Holocaust” took place. Although usually
“Holocaust” refers to Hitler’s extermination of Jews (and others), I want to be
sure that my information is about the Jewish Holocaust during WWII.
Use an online database to read an encyclopedia article.
In Britannica Online I learned that not only Jews were victims of the Holocaust;
homosexuals, gypsies, political dissidents, Jehovah’s Witnesses were also taken
to concentration camps. Do I want to include these in my research? Do I want
to focus exclusively on them, just to be different?
Use Follett to find a print resource.
State your topic as a question:
What were the effects of the Holocaust on
Identify key terms:
What were the effects of the Holocaust on
Think of synonyms:
Other potential search terms:
Effects: OR consequences OR results
Holocaust: OR Shoah (Jewish term),
OR Final Solution
Should you even be using the Web?
Good news! Regardless of what resource you use, you’ll
need to have good keywords and usually need to use boolean
logic to make finding information easier! You’ll use this stuff.
. . . . I promise!
Search EnginesSearch Engines
Google ROCKS, but it’s not the only band in
town! Check these out, too!
When Bing shows you your hits, you can mouse over an arrow
on the right side of each hit to view a snippet from the webpage.
Also, a column on the left hand side of the page shows “Related
Searches,” which may help you dig a little deeper.
SweetSearch was developed especially for students. The hits it
returns have all been evaluated by teachers, research experts and
librarians. You’re more likely to find primary sources using this
Clusty is a meta-search engine that searches several search
engines simultaneously. Clusty also groups hits based on
keywords, helping you fine-tune your search and find alternate
keywords for which to search.
Boolean SearchingBoolean Searching
logic, which is basic
to the design of
circuits and the basis
for the logical
connectors which are
used in a search
Uses the connectors AND, OR, and NOT.
These three terms are just the tip of the iceberg
when talking about Boolean logic. They’ll go a long
way, however, in helping you find just what you
want on the Internet!
Use “AND” when you want to find both terms in each hit that is
Your results will be only web
pages that contain BOTH search
*Note: Most search engines assume that AND is
intended between search terms. You don’t have to type it
Use “OR” to find hits that include one term OR the next; this will return
the greatest number of hits.
All “hits” will include one
OR the other search term (a
few will include both).
This is helpful for some
searches, but not
necessarily for every one!
The search operator OR allows you to
search for SYNONYMS. One writer may
like the term “attorney,” but another
(who happens to be a smart writer with
useful stuff!) prefers “lawyer.” You’ll
take hits that use EITHER (or both!)
Use “NOT” to eliminate terms that contain a term that you DO NOT
want. This will weed out irrelevant hits.
Typing NOT before a topic that you
do not wish to retrieve eliminates
that topic from your retrieval set
China NOT dishes
Most search engines don’t recognize NOT as a boolean operator. Try using a
minus sign (-) in front of any search term you DON’T want.
For example, I want Holocaust AND survivors NOT Jews.
This is what I type:
holocaust survivors -jews
Most search engines allow you to use quotes (“ ”) around a phrase to
find that phrase exactly as it appears in the quotes. For example a search
for “Holocaust survivors” will find hits ONLY with that exact phrase in the
First, find your keywords.
Write down your topic in the form of a question.
Identify main concepts/ideas.
Next, determine which search engine you want to try.
Write out your key words as a phrase using boolean
Some search engines have great “Advanced Search”
pages, so try entering your terms there, as well.
Type your search phrase into the search engine and
look over what your search returned.
If your hits don’t meet your need, look at your
Can you add keywords?
Should you use quotes to be sure you get an exact
Is there a term showing up in your hits that you want
BE DISCRIMINATING! Most search engines are
commercial in nature (they are about making money) so
the information you get at the top of the list may NOT
be the “good stuff” you’ll need for your project.
DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS!!!
If you don’t get good results, try different keywords. Restructure
your search. Try a different search engine.
Most importantly, if you’re having trouble finding good information,
“Best Search Tools Chart.” Infopeople. 16 February 2010. Web. 15
Ercegovac, Zorana. Information Literacy: Search Strategies, Tools &
Resources for High School Students and College Freshmen,
ed. Columbus, Ohio: Linworth Books, 2008.
Valenza, Joyce Kasman. Reva Basch, ed. Super Searchers Go to
School. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2005.
All clipart from Microsoft Office.