Beyond Googling: Search the Web and Databases Effectively

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Beyond Googling: Searching the Web and Databases Effectively is a presentation meant to guide students, teachers, and anyone who desires to improve their searching abilities on the Web and databases.

Beyond Googling: Searching the Web and Databases Effectively is a presentation meant to guide students, teachers, and anyone who desires to improve their searching abilities on the Web and databases.

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  • 1. Beyond Googling : Searching the Web and Databases EffectivelyN. Mellendorf, LibrarianMaine South High School Library Resource CenterPark Ridge, Illinois
  • 2. How Do Search Engines Work?
    Unlike our subscription databases, many search engines do not organize
    their results by subject, content or relevance.
    Keyword Searching
    Any word on a page
    Not the subject or content of a page
    Results: lots of irrelevant stuff
    Ranking
    How often a keyword occurs
    How often someone links to a page
    Paid placement listings
    The Invisible Web
    Google indexes only 20% of the “visible” web
    Dynamic vs. Static web pages
    Database pages or Password protected pages
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 3. Tip #1: Review Your Keywords
    Find synonyms
    Example: handicapped or disabled
    Try alternate spellings
    Theater or theatre
    Use complete labels
    NRA or National Rifle Association
    Avoid slang
    24/7 rule vs. zero tolerance policy
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 4. Tip #2: Find Terms that are Broader, Narrower, or Related
    Topic Example – Soccer
    Broader Terms
    Ball Games
    Sports
    Narrower Terms
    Professional Soccer
    Women’s Soccer
    Soccer Offense
    Related Terms
    Football
    Soccer Coaches
    Soccer Equipment
    Use sidebar features and other hyperlinked words found in your search results to explore these keywords and improve your results.
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 5. Tip #3: Improve Your “Search String”
    Use “Quotes” for an exact phrase
    Use AND to require all search terms
    Television and Violence
    Use NOT to exclude a search term
    Mercury NOT planet
    Combine terms – a Boolean search
    “Steroids” and “Football” not “Baseball”
    Natural language
    Do not use natural or “question” language unless the database or search engine is designed to understand it. Ask.com (formerly Ask Jeeves) is an example of a natural language search engine.
    Subject Headings vs. Keywords
    A subject heading is the topic of an entire article
    A keyword is simply the occurrence of a particular word in an article
    Be careful to note whether you are searching by Subject Headings or Keywords
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 6. Tip #4: Search by Domains and for Specific File Types
    Domains -- one type of site
    .edu - a college/university
    .gov - a government site
    .org – an organization
    .com – a business
    Search example: mythology +site:edu
    File types – one format
    PDF -- Adobe PDF document
    xls - Excel document
    ppt - PowerPoint document
    doc - Word document
    Search example: “evaluating web” +filetype:ppt
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 7. Tip #5: Search the Invisible Web: Directories, Visual Search Engines, and Content-Specific Search Engines
    Narrow your search from a broad category
    See how topics within a specific area are related
    May suggest new terms that are useful in conducting a search
    May be subject or organization specific
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 8. Tip #6: Search the Invisible Web:Googling Deep
    Google Scholar
    Peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and other scholarly literature. Caveat: May lead to sources from password protected sites.
    Google Books
    Google Book Search matches your search terms—you see “Book Results.” These links will lead you to a library or online store where you may borrow or purchase the books. You may be able to see a portion of the book online; books in the public domain (no longer under copyright) may be completely available for use.
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 9. Tip #7: Search the Invisible Web:ipl2: Internet Public Library
    Library and Information Science professionals from a consortium of colleges and universities create and maintain the information collections of information.
    Selection criteria: availability, credibility, authorship, external links, legality
    Evaluative criteria: authority, scope and audience, content, design, function, shelf life
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 10. Tip #8: Search the Invisible Web: INFOMINE
    “INFOMINE is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.” –from About Infomine
    “INFOMINE is librarian built. Librarians from the University of California, Wake Forest University, California State University, the University of Detroit - Mercy, and other universities and colleges have contributed to building INFOMINE.” –from About Infomine
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 11. Tip #9: Try Alternative Resources
    Books (Online Catalog)
    • WebPath Express
    (through Online Catalog)
    Other: Audio, Video, Personal Interview, Podcasts, Blogs, Wikis, etc. Check with your teacher first about using and citing these formats!
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.
  • 12. When to skip the Web altogether…
    Though Infomine and other deep Web search engines can improve retrieval of full-text articles, subscription databases and books still provide the best coverage of proprietary information—information that someone owns and expects compensation for use.
    You need full-text articles from magazines and newspapers: use a subscription library database.
    You need scholarly articles from peer-reviewed and academic journals: use a subscription library database or book.
    You need an in-depth, original, narrative treatment of a topic: use a book.
    N. Mellendorf, Librarian. Maine South High School Library Resource Center. 2010.