Maintaining Quality Search [Archive]


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Or 'How to beat the search engine Crunch". Updates on search engines and notes on search strategies. Presentation given at Internet Librarian International 2008.

Please note: this presentation is over 2 years old and is an archive copy. It may still be of interest to you should you wish to see how we were using and searching electronic media in the past but please remember that some of the information it contains is now out of date.

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  • Photo: View from the Novotel West London. Searching the Internet: Google and Beyond 5 June 2009 (c) Karen Blakeman 2008
  • Maintaining Quality Search [Archive]

    1. 1. Internet Librarian International 2008 Maintaining Search Quality or How to Beat the Search Engine Crunch Karen Blakeman RBA Information Services 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License Photo by Florian Knust
    2. 2. Search engine meltdown <ul><li>AlltheWeb Livesearch - gone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AlltheWeb itself still alive but no further development (uses Yahoo databases) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big News - gone </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>link and linkdomain commands – now you see ‘em, now you don’t </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic Live, Live Books – gone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yahoo </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT command, parentheses, Mindset - gone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exalead </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximate spelling (transformed into smellslike, spell slike!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ regular expression’ internal masking of letters - gone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accoona – gone </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    3. 3. What’s new? <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knol, much improved Google Finance, lots of tweaks to existing services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yet another makeover, new layout, return to “Ask a Question </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MSE360 </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Silobreaker - </li></ul><ul><li>Search visualisation tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quintura, AllPlus, Cluuz …… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lots of Web 2.0 ‘stuff’ </li></ul><ul><li>Cuil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cuil not so Cool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    4. 4. Search techniques – a reminder <ul><li>Search engines still search for all of your terms by default </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but note that Google also looks for terms in ‘links to’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Double quote marks around phrases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. “climate change” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To exclude pages containing a term, precede the term with a minus sign (-) </li></ul><ul><li>Boolean search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OR, AND, NOT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>must use capital letters for the operators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>only OR works in Google and even that does not work well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>, Exalead and MSE360 are best (Yahoo has withdrawn NOT, and nested Boolean) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for example chemical engineer AND (inurl:cv OR intitle:cv) AND (oil OR petroleum) </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    5. 5. Search techniques – a reminder (2) <ul><li>Focus your search on areas of the document </li></ul><ul><ul><li>inurl: for example “process engineer” inurl:cv </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>intitle: for example “process engineer” intitle:cv </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search sites or domains using the site: command </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Imagine what you would like to appear in your ideal document and include those terms in your strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your question or partially answer your question in your strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ How fast can a hippopotamus run?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ A hippopotamus can run at” </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    6. 6. Search techniques – a reminder (3) <ul><li>Repeat your key search terms in your strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>chocolate production UK france belgium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>chocolate production UK france belgium belgium belgium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>give different results </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Change the order of your terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>chocolate production Belgium Switzerland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>production Belgium Switzerland chocolate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>different results </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>See the summary and comparison chart for the major search engines at and </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    7. 7. File format search <ul><li>Use advanced search options to limit your search to file types or format: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pdf or doc for government or industry/market reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>xls for data and statistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ppt or pdf for presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Run in at least Google, Yahoo and Live </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for experts on a topic or presentations? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Slideshare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>authorSTREAM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    8. 8. Do not capitalise commands <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><ul><li> grants - about 5,950 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> grants - 3 (all my presentations giving this as an example!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google sees the capital ‘S’ and treats the strategy as a phrase </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yahoo </li></ul><ul><ul><li> grants - 1,020 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> grants - 495,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With a capital ‘S’ Yahoo treats all parts of the search including the domain as separate key words </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    9. 9. Unique Google search features <ul><li>Automatically looks for variations on your terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to stop it, precede your terms with plus signs e.g. air +pollution or put your term in double quotes e.g. “Smyth” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Synonym search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>precede your search terms with a tilde (~) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Numeric range search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>now on advanced search page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can be weights, distances, years, prices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Command line syntax is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>search term(s) first value..second value unit of measurement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TV advertising spend forecasts 2005..2012 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>toblerone 1..5 kg </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    10. 10. Unique Google search features (2) <ul><li>Proximity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>use the asterisk (*) to stand in for one or more terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>macular * degeneration picks up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>macular retinal degeneration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>macula disciform degeneration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>macular choroidal degeneration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>macular vitelliform degeneration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>macular pigmentary degeneration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adding extra * changes the results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>add, remove spaces between * * to change ranking of results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>why does it do that – who knows? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>no information on maximum number of terms of separation </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    11. 11. Firefox – Customise Google Add-on <ul><li>Adds numbers to Google search results (position counter) </li></ul><ul><li>Links to other search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Stream search result pages </li></ul><ul><li>Add links to Wayback Machine </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    12. 12. Use something other than Google 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    13. 13. Ask <ul><li> , </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions for narrowing down or expanding your search </li></ul><ul><li>Particularly good for blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Big News gone </li></ul><ul><li>US search interface revamped </li></ul><ul><ul><li>new Q&A tab </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    14. 14. Exalead 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    15. 15. Live Search <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Results tend to be more consumer oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Has the most up to date database </li></ul><ul><li>Possibly has the most extensive database of web pages </li></ul><ul><li>Good image search option </li></ul><ul><li>Feed command for locating RSS feeds on a specified web site </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Revamped interface but no improvement in advanced search screen </li></ul><ul><li>Link commands gone </li></ul><ul><li>Axed Link commands, Books and Academic Live  </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    16. 16. Yahoo! <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Boolean AND, OR </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT no longer available – use the minus sign. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>parentheses do not work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indexes first 500 K of a document (Google 101 K) </li></ul><ul><li>Square brackets round terms to pick up terms on the page in the order specified </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[carbon emissions trading] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Region command (inherited from Inktomi) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>region: e.g. region:europe, region:mediterranean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>others are africa, asia, centralamerica, northamerica, southamerica, mideast, southeastasia, downunder </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    17. 17. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>See reviews at </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Full Boolean nested search options </li></ul><ul><li>No advanced search screen but can use commands e.g. filetype: , site; </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Tiered’ results – Web, Wikipedia, blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Customise results layout </li></ul><ul><li>Tags sites that you have already visited (Firefox only at present) </li></ul><ul><li>Quick to respond to bug reports and fix problems </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    18. 18. 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    19. 19. 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    20. 20. News <ul><li>Search engine news options e.g. Yahoo, Google </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have only the last 30 days of free news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>advanced search options limited and unreliable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>no source list, and sources frequently change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>key industry publications may not be included </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google News Archive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>some sources going back 200 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>many articles are priced (before you buy check other sources) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Silobreaker - </li></ul><ul><li>Chipwrapper - </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    21. 21. Silobreaker <ul><li>covers free resources </li></ul><ul><li>news, blogs, video, images </li></ul><ul><li>market trends </li></ul><ul><li>geographical location of stories </li></ul><ul><li>people </li></ul><ul><li>networks </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    22. 22. Chipwrapper <ul><li>Google Custom Search engine </li></ul><ul><li>Searches everything available on 15 free UK News Sites </li></ul><ul><li>No date sort option but typing in the year usually works </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    23. 23. Yahoo Finance 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    24. 24. Google Finance 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    25. 25. Let RSS take the strain 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    26. 26. Blog searching <ul><li>Google Blogsearch </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask – Blogs and feeds </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exalead </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>limit search to Site Type Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Live Search </li></ul><ul><ul><li> and select Feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blog and feed search engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>, </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    27. 27. Blogpulse search and trends 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman Click on the graph to see ‘trends’
    28. 28. Blogpulse trends 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    29. 29. Twitter <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Micro-blogging - 140 characters per ‘tweet’ </li></ul><ul><li>What are people saying about you? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oh dear! </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    30. 30. Searching Twitter and Tweets <ul><li>How Companies Use Twitter to Bolster Their Brands - BusinessWeek </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Searching public tweets </li></ul><ul><ul><li> (?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Searching hashtags e.g. #ili2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> - deceased? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> - delayed reporting so not ideal for keeping up with conference tweets real-time </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    31. 31. Twemes – 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    32. 32. 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    33. 33. pipl <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Review at </li></ul><ul><li>Searches ‘hidden’ web + Google search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>blog search, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Flickr, Google Scholar, Electoral Roll, Directories, Amazon, Hoovers, Zoominfo etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google web search results not the same as an ordinary Google search – they incorporate terms such as resume, CV </li></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    34. 34. Zoominfo - Karen Blakeman’s verified profile 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman Information ‘verified’ by Karen Blakeman View the ‘references’ (web pages) to see the information in context
    35. 35. LinkedIn 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    36. 36. Facebook 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    37. 37. Cluuz <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cluuz … core technology understands the relationship between the entities, terms, or persons searched leading to more relevant, easy to understand search results” </li></ul><ul><li>Not totally intuitive but the network visualisation is ‘cool’ </li></ul><ul><li>The links in the network visualisation do not always relate to the same person or organisation but they are usually working in a similar field or subject area </li></ul><ul><li>Results change from one day to the next, one hour to the next, but still worth a look </li></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    38. 38. Cluuz 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    39. 39. 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    40. 40. 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    41. 41. Create your own search engine <ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AlacraSearch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pipl </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chipwrapper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Google Custom Search Engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can be hosted on your own site or on Google </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    42. 42. ‘ Disappearing’ pages <ul><li>Search engine cache copies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google, Yahoo, Live, Ask, Exalead </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wayback machine </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>from 1996 to about 6 months ago </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>navigate the archived site or type in the full URL of the document if known </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Firefox users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>install the Resurrect Pages add-on </li></ul></ul>27 November 2006 Karen Blakeman 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    43. 43. Wayback Machine 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman
    44. 44. 5 June 2009 Karen Blakeman Tel: 0118 947 2256, +44 118 947 2256 [email_address] blog: Facebook – Karen Blakeman Twitter: karenblakeman Photo Nachoman-au. Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license versions 2.5 , 2.0 , and 1.0