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Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips and Tricks
 

Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips and Tricks

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15 May 2009, "Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips and Tricks," NGS Family History Conference, Raleigh, NC, Session F-309

15 May 2009, "Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips and Tricks," NGS Family History Conference, Raleigh, NC, Session F-309

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    Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips and Tricks Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips and Tricks Presentation Transcript

    • Beyond Google: Advanced Internet Search Tips & Tricks
      NGS FAMILY HISTORY CONFERENCE, 2009
      Raleigh, NC
      JORDAN JONES
      E-mail: jordan@genealogymedia.com
      Web: genealogymedia.com
      Blog: genealogymedia.com/blog/
    • ONE MUST START WITH A DISCUSSION OF ACCESS …
      1 – Access: Search and Navigation
    • The Librarian’s Definition
      “The availability of or permission to use records.”
      – Archives & Records Management Handbook, Oregon State U., http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/archives/handbook/definitions/
      “… the purpose of librarianship – enabling people to identify, locate, and use the information that will meet their … needs.”
      – The Information Professional’s Glossary, SIRLS, Arizona State U., http://www.sir.arizona.edu/resources/glossary.html
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      3
    • The Web Technologist’s Definition
      • For web sites, access similarly describes the permission and ability for people to “identify, locate, and use information.”
      • In July 2008, Google’s search bots had reached 1 trillion unique URLs (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/we-knew-web-was-big.html).
      So with this much content, how do you access the genealogical information you’re looking for?
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      4
    • Web Access
      Navigation – That is, clicking through a pre-defined path in a website to find the information you need.
      A good navigation path is like a searchlight in fog.
      Search – Search is especially helpful:
      If you do not even know what website to use, or
      If you need to find information on a website and do not know how to navigate to the information.
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      5
    • Design for Access
      A good web designer will focus on improving customer success through both paths (search and navigation) to the information
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      6
    • How search Engines work,
      and kinds of searches
      2 – Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      7
    • How Search Engines Work
      • Web-Crawling “Spiders”The search engine has computer programs “crawl” through all the links on the web
      • CachingSome web search applications (such as Google) store (cache) all the pages they crawl
      • IndexingThe search engine creates and manages an index of all the words found on the pages crawled
      • RankingLinks delivered are ranked in terms of relevance, popularity, authoritativeness and other criteria: The Secret Sauce.
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      8
    • The Search Cycle
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      9
    • Word Searches
      • Word (Implicit AND)If you list two words, such as Jane Graham, find pages that include “Jane” and “Graham”.Google/Yahoo: Jane Graham
      • Word (Explicit Inclusion) Google includes plurals and synonyms in searches; both Google and Yahoo ignore common words.
      • To instead ignore plurals and synonyms on Google
      • To include common words on both Yahoo and Google, preface a term with a plus (+) sign.
      Google: Jane Graham +genealogy
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      10
    • Phrase and Boolean Searches
      • Phrase Find pages that include “Jane Graham”Google/Yahoo: “Jane Graham” Often, you would use this with the Boolean OR command
      • Boolean ORFor both Google and Yahoo, OR must be in all caps.Google/Yahoo: “Jane Graham” OR “Graham Jane”
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      11
    • Proximity Searches
      • Proximity / WildcardFind pages where “Jane” is near “Graham”.Google: Jane * Graham OR Graham * Jane [where * = up to 2 words]
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      12
    • Yahoo & Google Search Shortcuts
      Yahoo Shortcuts are pre-coded quick ways to get specific kinds of information:
      http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/basics/
      Google Search Features operate in a similar way:
      http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      13
    • Example Yahoo & Google Search Shortcuts
      • defineGet a dictionary definition of a termYahoo/Google: define genealogy
      • factsProvides the Columbia Encyclopedia entry along with other search resultsYahoo: Sir Walter Raleigh facts
      • convertConverts one unit of measure (weight, measures, temperatures) to anotherYahoo/Google: convert 28 lbs to stones or 150 USD in EUR
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      14
    • Example Yahoo & Google Search Shortcuts
      • area codeFind an area code for a localeYahoo: Raleigh area code Yahoo/Google: 919
      • zip codeProvides the Zip Code or Codes for an areasYahoo: Raleigh zip code
      • Local search Yahoo/Google: cemetery Raleigh or cemetery 27601
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      15
    • Advanced Searches
      Synonym or “like”Limit results to pages including synonyms of your search term or phrase. Google: “Jane Graham” OR “Graham Jane” ~genealogy
      WildcardsExpand results to allow wildcards (*_?) to replace one or more characters or words. The use of wildcards varies widely from site to site. Google: * stands for up to two words
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      16
    • Site- and Domain-Class-Specific Searches
      Site-specific Limit results to pages on a specific site Google/Yahoo: site:usgenweb.org
      Site-class specificLimit results to pages in a certain domain class, such as .org or .govGoogle/Yahoo: site:.org
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      17
    • Exclude Sites / Soundex
      Exclude Specific Site Find pages, but exclude a specific site.Google/Yahoo: Gregg –site:www.usgennet.org
      Soundex – Available on many genealogy websites, and not only for census records.
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      18
    • Exclude Words and Phrases
      Exclude WordLimit results by excluding pages that include a particular word. Google: –murder
      Exclude PhraseLimit results by excluding pages that include a particular phrase. Google: –“Jane Graham”
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      19
    • Most Sites Have Search Tips
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      20
      Read the Tips
    • Follow a predictable path for Predictable Results
      3 – Search Methodology
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      21
    • Search Methodology
      Look for advanced search pages Yahoo: http://search.yahoo.com/web/advancedGoogle: http://www.google.com/advanced_search
      Read the site’s search guidelines
      Yahoo: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/Google: http://www.google.com/support/websearch/
      Experiment!
      If your search fails to yield results, map out strategies to refine searches to be either more or less specific
      Plan your more complex Internet searches the way you would plan a trip to a major repository
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      22
    • Google Advanced Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      23
    • Google Advanced Search Additional Items
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      24
    • Yahoo Advanced Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      25
    • Google Alerts
      You can have Google search in the background and send results on a regular basis:
      http://www.google.com/alerts/
      Search News, Blogs, Web, Video, Groups or Comprehesive
      Get results when Google finds them (“as-it-happens”), daily or weekly
      Results are delivered to your e-mail
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      26
    • Google Alerts
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      27
    • Using a search engine to its Potential
      4 – A Sample Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      28
    • Finding Jane Graham
      Facts: Jane Graham, was born in 1811 and died unmarried in 1854. She lived her life in Monroe County, VA (now WV).
      Q: How do I search for her?
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      29
      A: By increasing the specificity of my search.
    • Jane Graham (1.45 Million)
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      30
    • “Jane Graham” (50,600)
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      31
    • “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” (287)
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      32
    • “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1854 (193)
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
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    • “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1811..1854 (1o5)
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
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    • Google Page Date Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
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      Expandable Portion of Advanced Search Window for Page Date, Numeric Range and other settings
    • “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1811..1854 This Year (28)
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      36
    • A Caveat About “Page Date” Searches on Google
      Stephen Morse points out that Google is really tracking when they indexed a page, not when the page was last modified.
      Probably a better search for the age of a web page is Stephen Morse’s:
      http://stevemorse.org/google/googledate.html
      But, even this can be deceptive, as any changes on a page would cause it to appear modified, and this will not apply to database-driven pages.
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      37
    • Site-specific search on Google and Yahoo and searches at Newspaperarchive.com and footnote
      4 – Additional Search Examples
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      38
    • Searching a Specific Site
      Say I want to know all of the mentions of the surname “Gregg” on the US GenNet site for Nance County, NE
      http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/county/nance/
      • Google/Yahoo:
      Gregg site:www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/county/nance/
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      39
    • Results of the Site-Specific Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      40
    • NewspaperArchive.com Basic Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      41
      Jane Graham
    • NewspaperArchive.com Basic Search Results
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
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      3,251 hits
    • NewspaperArchive.com Advanced Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      43
      Jane Graham 1853-1855
    • NewspaperArchive.com Advanced Search Results
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      44
    • F00tnote.com Basic Search Results
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
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      36,602 Hits
    • Footnote Advanced Search
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      46
      Name, Date Range, and Specific Collection
    • Footnote Advanced Search Results
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      47
    • Stephen P. Morse’s One-Step Web Pages
      No discussion of Internet search for genealogists would be complete without a discussion of Stephen Morse’s One-Step Web Pages at:
      http://www.stevemorse.org/
      Morse uses “deep linking” to skip past multiple search pages and get directly to the content.
      One great example is that the One-Step site allows you to search Ancestry (if you have an account) with surnames of fewer than 3 letters. It does this by sending 26 searches for each letter you don’t specify.
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      48
    • Responses to questions received in advance …
      Questions
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      49
    • Other Search Sites of Note
      Microsoft Live Search – http://www.live.com/
      Dogpile – http://www.dogpile.com/
      Google Book Search – http://books.google.com/
      Google Scholar – http://scholar.google.com/
      Google Patent Search – http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en
      Internet Archive (Way Back Machine) – http://www.archive.org/web/web.php
      Live Roots – http://www.liveroots.com/
      WorldCat– http://www.worldcat.org/
      © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com
      50
    • Contact
      Jordan Jones
      jordan@genealogymedia.com
      These slides, and the handout, are available at: http://www.genealogymedia.com/talks/