Introduction to Advanced Internet Searching


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Prepared for UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies by Eugene Barsky, Physiotherapy Outreach Librarian, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC
Spring 2007

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  • Introduction to Advanced Internet Searching

    1. 1. Introduction to Advanced Internet Searching Prepared for UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies by Eugene Barsky, Physiotherapy Outreach Librarian, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC Spring 2007 [email_address] Online tutorial is available @
    2. 2. Agenda: <ul><li>Introductions (3 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Goals and structure of the seminar (2 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>How search engines work (5 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Review of Google expert searching (30 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Having fun with Google (5 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Future directions in search (5 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Google Scholar (10 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, podcasting, and wiki searching (10 min.) </li></ul><ul><li>Final questions (10 min.) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Goals of the seminar <ul><li>Understand how search engines work </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the limitation of a simple keyword search </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehend some of the powerful commands and “Advanced Search” options </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the purpose and proper use of Google Scholar </li></ul><ul><li>Understand what databases UBC has to offer </li></ul><ul><li>Understand search beyond Google </li></ul>
    4. 4. Major search engines today <ul><li>Today Google, Yahoo, and MSN are most popular search engines world-wide, according to the November 2006 Nielsen/NetRatings statistics and, with Google leading the parade (at the moment) </li></ul>
    5. 5. How search engines work?
    6. 6. How search engines work? <ul><li>There are many parameters that would put webpages as first hits in search engines. Google’s PageRank, one of the most famous algorithms, uses a number of links to a webpage as one of the major factors (there are more than 100 other factors as well) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Basic search in Google <ul><li>How would we usually search Google to see whether vitamin C can help or prevent common cold? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Phrase searching, using quotes – “ “ <ul><li>Putting quotes around a phrase – two words or more – improve our precision as it limits results to an exact phrase. This search has also as implied “AND” between phrases </li></ul>
    9. 9. Understanding Boolean Logic <ul><li>Let’s see what Boolean logic means and how to use it: </li></ul>
    10. 10. Site / domain search operator – site: <ul><li>Search for your topic by limiting your search to reliable websites or domains. For example:; .gov; .edu; .org domains </li></ul>
    11. 11. Filetype Search Operators – filetype: <ul><li>This command will limit our retrieved documents by format , e.g. .pdf; .doc; or .ppt. Let’s use Google “Advanced Search” screen to locate good-quality PowerPoint presentation on our topic </li></ul>
    12. 12. Filetype Search Operators – filetype: <ul><li>Using “Advanced Search”, commands we retrieve 59 documents, all of them university-level presentations on our topic, easy to do! </li></ul>
    13. 13. In title search operators – intitle: <ul><li>Title and URL commands are among the most powerful as they improve our precision drastically. Very often title words convey the subject content of the information </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s try to find what Canadian federal government has to say about arthritis </li></ul>This is an example of grey literature – reliable health documents that are not indexed in major databases and therefore searchable only via the Web, by search engines
    14. 14. Related search operator – related: <ul><li>This too is a powerful Google command that retrieves documents with similar semantic patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s assume we want to retrieve webpages similar to Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia (PABC) website </li></ul>
    15. 15. Linked to a website command – link: <ul><li>This simple command, also available from the “Advanced Search” screen will find all websites that link to a particular webpage </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s see who links to the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) website homepage </li></ul>
    16. 16. Expanding your search – wildcards - * <ul><li>Asterisk symbol in Google will replace any single word in our search </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s see what “ total * replacement” phrase query can find on the BC government websites </li></ul>Moreover, ~ symbol will retrieve numerous synonyms for the word being searched – try it out!
    17. 17. Having fun with Google <ul><li>Google calculator and converter - To use these Google's built-in functions, simply enter the calculation or conversion you'd like done into the search box </li></ul>
    18. 18. Having fun with Google <ul><li>Using Google as your dictionary – use define: command </li></ul><ul><li>Or use just type your term and click the definition link on the right upper corner of your screen </li></ul>
    19. 19. Having fun with Google <ul><li>Going to Seattle for the weekend? Check out the weather using Google (unfortunately, doesn’t work for Canada yet) – type weather Seatle WA </li></ul>
    20. 20. Beyond Google - visual search engines <ul><li>New concepts in Internet searching include visual search engines - Kartoo , Mooter </li></ul><ul><li>Visual search engines will cluster webpages by topics and present them visually - larger cluster means more relevant documents, related documents are also interlinked </li></ul>
    21. 21. Beyond Google – specialized search engines  PhysioSearch <ul><li>You can tune-up these specialized search engines according to you particular needs </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, our own PhysioSearch (available on our blog - ) is searching only for high-quality physiotherapy/health content on the Web </li></ul>
    22. 22. Beyond Google – specialized search engines  PhysioSearch <ul><li>When searched - it retrieves only higher quality medical information and also allows you to limit your results by focusing on particular topics, for instance Canadian content or consumer health content (information for your patients) </li></ul>
    23. 23. Google Scholar (GS) <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Launched in Nov. 2004, although not explicitly stated, GS is a subset of the larger Google index, consisting of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Journal articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preprints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And even Web pages that are considered “scholarly” </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. GS Content <ul><li>GS says that it has access to all major scholarly publishers, except Elsevier and ACS </li></ul><ul><li>Content, according to the GS team (October 2005): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Medicine (~22%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering (~14%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biology (~13%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Sciences (~13%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chemistry and Physics (~12%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humanities, Business, Law </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. GS Pros <ul><li>Fast and easy to use; familiar interface </li></ul><ul><li>Federated search, cross-disciplinary </li></ul><ul><li>Citation tracking tool. Particularly good with materials published since the mid-1990’s </li></ul><ul><li>Easy access to your library resources </li></ul><ul><li>Some command language used in regular Google is supported </li></ul>
    26. 26. GS Cons <ul><li>What is “scholarly”? No clear statement about the content selection </li></ul><ul><li>No clear list of publishers participating in the project </li></ul><ul><li>Till 6 months ago, GS was crawling only a subset of full individual journals or databases – it seems that this problem has been solved! </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian content is very weak </li></ul>
    27. 27. GS Cons <ul><li>GS indexes are still behind PubMed, but are slowly closing the gap (1.4m vs. 16m) </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t permit nested searching; lacks many searching functionalities – like exploding, subheading, or publication type limits – which are particularly important in health sciences </li></ul><ul><li>There is no easy way to sort, organize and email results </li></ul>
    28. 28. GS Verdict <ul><li>GS is not a good tool for comprehensive searches, literature reviews, or answering health clinical questions </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is still a useful tool, it excellent to find something good enough as painlessly as possible </li></ul><ul><li>GS is good for high-school assignments, college papers, or anything else that does not require exhaustive research </li></ul><ul><li>It is also a quick, free and easy way to find and follow citation trails </li></ul>
    29. 29. GS - Example <ul><li>Let’s try the same example to search for “common cold” and “vitamin c” as phrases in U.S. government and universities </li></ul>
    30. 30. Blogs search <ul><li>Technorati [ http:// /] is the most popular tool to search for blogs </li></ul><ul><li>The “Advanced Search” window allows to search for blogs by subject </li></ul>
    31. 31. Podcasting search <ul><li>Podscope [ http:// /] is searching for the spoken words in video and audiocasts </li></ul>
    32. 32. Wiki search <ul><li>Wikipedia [ http:// ] is the most prominent wiki application today </li></ul><ul><li>Done by volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>The content (in 250 languages) is fully searchable </li></ul>
    33. 33. Contact Info <ul><li>Eugene Barsky </li></ul><ul><li>Physiotherapy Outreach Librarian </li></ul><ul><li>Irving K. Barber Learning Centre </li></ul><ul><li>University of British Columbia </li></ul><ul><li>1961 East Mall </li></ul><ul><li>Vancouver, BC </li></ul><ul><li>Phone: (604) 827-4088 </li></ul><ul><li>Fax: (604) 822-9122 </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>MSN: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>Web: </li></ul>