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NWLIPFriday 21st November 2008Internet Search TechniquesKaren BlakemanRBA Information Services

Photo :http://www.flickr.com/photos/harry_manback/17204494/

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Search engine meltdown

  • AlltheWeb Livesearch - gone

    • AlltheWeb itself still alive but no further development (uses Yahoo databases)

  • Ask – gone down hill since latest makeover

  • Live.com

    • link and linkdomain commands – now you see ‘em, now you don’t

    • Academic Live, Live Books – gone

  • Yahoo

    • NOT command, parentheses, Mindset - gone

  • Exalead

    • Approximate spelling (transformed into smellslike, spell slike!)

    • ‘regular expression’ internal masking of letters - gone

  • Accoona – gone

    • http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2008/10/05/accoona-is-no-more/

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

What’s new?

  • Google

    • Knol, much improved Google Finance, lots of tweaks to existing services

    • Google searchwiki now in action http://www.google.co.uk/ - sign in with your Google account

  • Ask

    • Yet another makeover, new layout, return to “Ask a Question

  • MSE360

    • http://www.mse360.com

  • Silobreaker - http://www.silobreaker.com/

  • Search visualisation tools

    • e.g. Cluuz ……

  • Lots of Web 2.0 ‘stuff’

  • Cuil

    • Cuil not so Cool

    • http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2008/07/28/cuil-not-so-cool/

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Search techniques – a reminder

  • Search engines still search for all of your terms by default

    • but note that Google also looks for terms in ‘links to’

  • Double quote marks around phrases

    • e.g. “climate change”

  • To exclude pages containing a term, precede the term with a minus sign (-)

  • Boolean search

    • OR, AND, NOT

    • must use capital letters for the operators

    • only OR works in Google and even that does not work well

    • Live.com, Exalead and MSE360 are best (Yahoo has withdrawn NOT, and nested Boolean)

    • for example chemical engineer AND (inurl:cv OR intitle:cv) AND (oil OR petroleum)

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Search techniques – a reminder

  • Repeat your key search terms in your strategy

    • chocolate production UK france belgium

    • chocolate production UK france belgium belgium belgium

      • give different results

  • Change the order of your terms

    • chocolate production Belgium Switzerland

    • production Belgium Switzerland chocolate

      • different results

  • See the summary and comparison chart for the major search engines at http://www.rba.co.uk/search/compare.pdf and http://www.rba.co.uk/search/compare.shtml

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

File format search

  • Use advanced search options to limit your search to file types or format:

    • pdf or doc for government or industry/market reports

    • xls for data and statistics

    • ppt or pdf for presentations

  • Run in at least Google, Yahoo and Live

  • Looking for experts on a topic or presentations?

    • Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/

    • authorSTREAM http://www.authorstream.com/

    • YouTube http://www.youtube.com/

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Unique Google search features

  • Automatically looks for variations on your terms

    • to stop it, precede your terms with plus signs e.g. air +pollution or put your term in double quotes e.g. “Smyth”

  • Synonym search

    • precede your search terms with a tilde (~)

  • Numeric range search

    • now on advanced search page

    • can be weights, distances, years, prices

    • Command line syntax is

      • search term(s) first value..second value unit of measurement

        • TV advertising spend forecasts 2005..2012

        • toblerone 1..5 kg

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Unique Google search features

  • Proximity

    • use the asterisk (*) to stand in for one or more terms

    • macular * degeneration picks up

      • macular retinal degeneration

      • macula disciform degeneration

      • macular choroidal degeneration

      • macular vitelliform degeneration

      • macular pigmentary degeneration

    • adding extra * changes the results

    • add, remove spaces between * * to change ranking of results

      • why does it do that – who knows?

    • no information on maximum number of terms of separation

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Firefox – Customise Google Add-on

  • Adds numbers to Google search results (position counter)

  • Links to other search engines

  • Stream search result pages

  • Add links to Wayback Machine

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Use something other than Google

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • http://www.ask.com/, http://www.ask.co.uk/

  • Suggestions for narrowing down or expanding your search

  • Particularly good for blogs

  • Big News gone

  • Search interface and options revamped

    • new Q&A tab

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • http://www.exalead.com/

  • http://www.exalead.co.uk/

  • Supports wild cards

    • asterisk (*) at the end of a word

      • pollut* finds pollute, pollutant, polluting etc.

  • NEAR - finds words within 16 terms of one another

    • NEAR/n finds words within n number of terms one another

      • climate NEAR/3 change

  • Approximate spelling, phonetic search (?)

  • Regular expression (internal masking of letters)

  • Feedback from users is that there is more European content, which seems to be given priority

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Live Search

  • http://www.live.com/

  • Results tend to be more consumer oriented

  • Has the most up to date database

  • Possibly has the most extensive database of web pages

  • Good image search option

  • Feed command for locating RSS feeds on a specified web site

    • site:bbc.co.uk feed:bbc.co.uk

  • Revamped interface but no improvement in advanced search screen

  • Link commands gone

  • Axed Link commands, Books and Academic Live 

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • http://search.yahoo.co.uk/http://search.yahoo.com/

  • Boolean AND, OR

    • NOT no longer available – use the minus sign.

    • parentheses do not work

  • Indexes first 500 K of a document (Google 101 K)

  • Square brackets round terms to pick up terms on the page in the order specified

    • [carbon emissions trading]

  • Region command (inherited from Inktomi)

    • region: e.g. region:europe, region:mediterranean

    • others are africa, asia, centralamerica, northamerica, southamerica, mideast, southeastasia, downunder

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • http://www.mse360.com/

  • See reviews at

    • http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2008/10/05/mse360-search/

    • http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2008/10/06/update-on-mse360/

  • Full Boolean nested search options

  • No advanced search screen but can use commands e.g. filetype: , site;

  • ‘Tiered’ results – Web, Wikipedia, blogs

  • Customise results layout

  • Tags sites that you have already visited (Firefox only at present)

  • Quick to respond to bug reports and fix problems

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Science/Academic Search Engines

  • RefSeek – http://www.refseek.com/

  • Ten Science Search Engines - http://hwlibrary.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/science-search-engines/

    • Scirus – http://www.scirus.com/

    • Scitopia.org – http://www.scitopia.org/

    • Science.gov – http://www.science.gov/

    • ScienceResearch.com - http://www.scienceresearch.com/

    • Scitation - http://scitation.aip.org/

    • WorldWideScience.org - http://worldwidescience.org/

    • Science Accelerator - http://www.scienceaccelerator.gov/

    • TechXtra – http://www.techxtra.ac.uk

    • search.optics.org - http://search.optics.org/

  • Google Scholar – http://scholar.google.com/

    • use with care

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • Amazon

  • Google Books

    • can sometimes search inside the book and looks at individual pages

    • useful for older texts

    • suppliers of the book

  • Project Gutenburg

    • electronic versions of over 25000 texts

    • different editions may be available e.g. Darwin’s Origin of Species

  • Book swap schemes

    • Turning over an old leaf

    • http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/01/ethicalliving.recycling

    • e.g. http://www.bookmooch.co.uk/

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • BBC – http://news.bbc.co.uk/

  • Search engine news options e.g. Yahoo, Google

    • have only the last 30 days of free news

    • advanced search options limited and unreliable

    • no source list, and sources frequently change

    • key industry publications may not be included

  • Google News Archive http://www.google.com/archivesearch

    • some sources going back 200 years

    • many articles are priced (before you buy check other sources)

  • Silobreaker - http://www.silobreaker.com/

  • Chipwrapper - http://www.chipwrapper.co.uk/

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Silobreaker http://www.silobreaker.com

  • covers free resources

  • news, blogs, video, images

  • market trends

  • geographical location of stories

  • people

  • networks

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Chipwrapper http://www.chipwrapper.co.uk

  • Google Custom Search engine

  • Searches everything available on 15 free UK News Sites

  • No date sort option but typing in the year usually works

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Yahoo Finance

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Google Finance

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Blog searching

  • Google Blogsearch

    • http://www.google.com/blogsearch

  • Ask – Blogs and feeds

    • http://www.ask.com/

  • Exalead

    • http://www.exalead.com/

    • limit search to Site Type Blog

  • Live Search

    • http://www.live.com/ and select Feeds

  • Blog and feed search engines

    • Technorati.com, Blogpulse.com

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Blogpulse search and trends

Click on the graph to see ‘trends’

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Blogpulse trends

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • http://www.pipl.com/

  • Review at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2007/05/05/pipl-people-search-beta/

  • Searches ‘hidden’ web + Google search

    • blog search, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Flickr, Google Scholar, Electoral Roll, Directories, Amazon, Hoovers, Zoominfo etc.

    • Google web search results not the same as an ordinary Google search – they incorporate terms such as resume, CV

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Zoominfo - Karen Blakeman’s verified profile

Information ‘verified’ by Karen Blakeman

View the ‘references’ (web pages) to see the information in context

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


  • http://www.cluuz.com/

  • “Cluuz … core technology understands the relationship between the entities, terms, or persons searched leading to more relevant, easy to understand search results”

  • Not totally intuitive but the network visualisation is ‘cool’

  • 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

  • Results change from one day to the next, one hour to the next, but still worth a look

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Create your own search engine

  • Examples:

    • AlacraSearch

      • http://www.alacra.com/alacrasearch

    • pipl

      • http://www.pipl.com/

    • Chipwrapper

      • http://www.chipwrapper.co.uk/

  • Google Custom Search Engines

    • http://www.google.com/coop/cse

    • can be hosted on your own site or on Google

      • http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/energy.shtml

      • http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=014304212364962740038:tui4ebh5r_a

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

‘Disappearing’ pages

  • Search engine cache copies

    • Google, Yahoo, Live, Ask, Exalead

  • Wayback machine

    • http://www.archive.org/

    • from 1996 to about 6 months ago

    • navigate the archived site or type in the full URL of the document if known

  • Firefox users

    • install the Resurrect Pages add-on

27 November 2006

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk


Wayback Machine

Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk

Karen Blakeman

Tel: 0118 947 2256, +44 118 947 2256

[email protected]


blog: http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/

Facebook – Karen Blakeman

Twitter: karenblakeman


Photo: Dan Cupid http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Manchester_Piccadilly_Station_interior.jpg

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