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Introduction to Web Browsers and Basic Search Strategies Using Search Engines. Davina Pruitt-Mentle EDUC 478. Outline. History (WWW & Internet) Search tools Search Engines vs. Subject Directory Meta search Engines Steps for Searching Effective Strategies Narrow or broaden a search?

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Introduction to web browsers and basic search strategies using search engines

Introduction to Web Browsers and Basic Search Strategies Using Search Engines

Davina Pruitt-Mentle

EDUC 478

Outline Using Search Engines

  • History (WWW & Internet)

  • Search tools

  • Search Engines vs. Subject Directory

  • Meta search Engines

  • Steps for Searching

  • Effective Strategies

  • Narrow or broaden a search?

  • Wildcards

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Internet history
Internet History Using Search Engines

  • Internet made up of thousands of networks worldwide

  • No one in charge of Internet - No governing body

  • Internet backbone owned by private companies

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Looking at the net
Looking at the Net Using Search Engines

Taken from:

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Understanding the map
Understanding the Map Using Search Engines

  • Computers use TCP/IP to communicate (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)

  • Computers use client/server architecture

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Internet providers
Internet Providers: Using Search Engines

  • Research and Educational Institutions

  • Government and Military Entities

  • Businesses

  • Private Organizations

  • Commercial Providers

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Internet protocols
Internet Protocols Using Search Engines

  • Email (Simple Mail Transport Protocol)

  • Telnet (Login to remote host computer)

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - transfers files between server and client

  • HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

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History Using Search Engines

  • WWW or Web or W3 includes all information, text, images, audio, video, and computational services that are accessible from the internet

  • July 8, 1999 Nature - approximately 800 million pages of publicly accessible information(1)

  • Web continues to grow, tripling in size over the past two years(2)

(1) Steve Lawrence & C. Lee Giles, “Accessibility of Information on the Web,” Nature 400 (July 8, 1999), 107

(2) OCLC Office of Research, “June 1999 Web Statistics” Web Characterization Project

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WWW Using Search Engines

  • System of Internet servers that support hypertext to access several Internet protocols on a single interface

  • Almost all protocols accessible on Internet are accessible on web (email - FTP - Telnet - etc)

  • In addition, WWW own protocol: HyperText Transfer Protocol

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HTTP Using Search Engines

  • Hypertext - means of information retreival

  • Contains links that connect to other documents

  • Links selected by user

  • Virtual “web” of connections

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Http cont
HTTP (cont) Using Search Engines

  • Produce HTTP through HTML

  • HyperText Markup Language

  • Way of writing or creating with “tags” added to tell information

    • i.e. <b> Bold </b> yields Bold

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More history
More History Using Search Engines

  • Internet initially conceived in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN (European Particle Physics Lab in Switzerland)

  • Needed a wide variety of information to be shared and distributed to many different computers and platforms

  • “Universal readership”

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Web popular because
Web Popular Because: Using Search Engines

  • Easy to use

  • Easy to navigate

  • Combines words, graphics, sound, video

  • Easy to Publish

  • Plethora of information

  • Reach larger audience

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Summary web vs internet
Summary: Web vs. Internet Using Search Engines

  • What is the relationship between the web and the Internet?

  • The Internet contains physical components

    • computers

    • networks

    • services

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Web vs internet
Web vs. Internet Using Search Engines

  • The Internet connects thousands of computers across the world, but it is the web that allows communication to occur

  • Web - abstraction and common set of services on top of the Internet

  • Web - set of protocols and tools that let us share information with each other

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Directed search strategies

Directed Search Strategies Using Search Engines

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July Design Institute

July 20, 2000

How do i find information on the internet
How Do I Find Using Search EnginesInformation on the Internet?

  • Join an email discussion or USENET newsgroup

  • Go directly to a site if you have the address

  • Browse

  • Explore subject directory

  • Conduct Search

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How does information get indexed by the search tools
How Does Information Get Indexed by the Search Tools Using Search Engines

  • A publisher of a web page can register the site with the search engine or directory

  • Database collects data autonomously

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Browsers Using Search Engines

  • Netscape Navigator (Communicator)

    • Product of Netscape (Now owned by AOL)

    • Originally was dominant

    • Multi-platform (all operating systems)

  • Internet Explorer

    • Product of Microsoft

    • Current Dominant Browser

    • Not available for all operating systems

  • Browser compatibility problems can cause web page problems

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Netscape search
Netscape Search Using Search Engines

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Netscape search1
Netscape Search Using Search Engines

  • 1: Access to different search engines

  • 2. Type words or phrases into text entry box

  • 3. Click Button

  • 4. Preserve favorite search engine

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Internet explorer search
Internet Explorer Search Using Search Engines

  • Separate Panel In Browser

  • Uses MicroSoft Network search

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Internet explorer search1
Internet Explorer Search Using Search Engines

  • Direct access to only Microsoft Network’s search engines

  • Allows easy access to different types of search

    • Web pages

    • People

    • Businesses

    • Maps

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Internet keywords
Internet Keywords Using Search Engines

  • Type straight in location bar of Netscape/Explorer

  • Simple words instead of URL (uniform resource location)

  • Words tie to websites

  • Can be tied to language preference

  • Example: Typing in maryland converts to

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Know your url s
Know your URL’s Using Search Engines

  • “Address” of a file on the Internet

  • Contains type of protocol followed by the computer name, directory and file name

  • Examples


    • gopher://gopher.boombox.micro/

    • ftp://

    • mailto:[email protected]

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Anatomy of a web address
Anatomy of a Web Address Using Search Engines

  • protocol://host/path/filename

    See handout “Anatomy of a Web Address”

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Two basic approaches to searching although not really basic
Two Basic Approaches to Searching Using Search Engines(although not really “basic”)

  • Search Engines

  • Subject Directories

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Search engines vs directories

Search Engines Using Search Engines

Computer built index of information on web

More inclusive

Used to find specific resources

Searchable by keyword

Excessive “hits”

Every page of a Website is indexed

Better for general searches, but can be used to find specific information


Human aided, organized list

May be general or subject-specific

May be able to “search” directory

Google - general

NetTech Educational Technology Coordinator Website - subject specific

User has control of browsing

Fixed vocabulary

Links go to Website home pages only

Better at general searches

Search Engines vs. Directories

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What are search engines
What are Search Engines? Using Search Engines

  • Designed to assist you in searching through the enormous amount of information on the Web

  • No single search tool has everything

  • Each engine is a large database which utilizes different search techniques and tools (spiders or robots) to build indexes to the Internet (some also utilize submissions and administration)

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Which search engine
Which Search Engine? Using Search Engines

  • Yahoo

  • Altavista

  • Excite

  • Google

  • NorthernLights

  • Hotbot

  • Infoseek

    See Handout - “The Little Search Engine that Could”

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How to choose
How to Choose Using Search Engines


  • Size of the database (# of URLs)

  • Currency of the database (updates)

  • Search interface

  • Help screens

  • Search features

  • Results listed (# of documents retrieved)

  • Relevance of results

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More about search engines
More About Search Engines Using Search Engines

  • Searches for matching terms (keywords or several keywords)

  • Results “ranked” by relevancy (for some)

  • Can search by

    • subject or category

    • keyword

  • Learn about each search engine’s description, options, and rules and restrictions

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Go to
GO TO Using Search Engines

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  • Searches for Using Search Enginesexact matches

    • Try different versions of your search term

    • Example: “Boston hotel” vs. “Boston hotels”

  • Rephrase query

    • Example: “cheap plane tickets” vs. “cheap airplane tickets”

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  • Automatically places “and” between words (expands search)

  • To reduce search –

    • add more terms in original search

    • refine search within the current search results. (adding terms to first words will return a subset of the original query)

  • Exclude a word by using a – sign

    • Example: to search bass but not speaker  bass –speaker

  • Does not support “or” operator

  • Does not support “stemming” or “wildcard” searches

  • Not case sensitive

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  • Finds street maps search)

    • Just enter a U.S. street address, including zip code or city/state into the search box

    • Google recognizes query as a map request

      Try your address

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Phrase searches and connectors
Phrase Searches and Connectors search)

  • Phrase Searches are useful when searching for famous sayings or specific names “Gone with the Wind”

  • Phrase Connectors are recognized

    • Hyphens

    • Slashes

    • Periods

    • Equal signs

    • Apostrophes

      • Example: mother-in-law

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Stop words
Stop Words search)

  • Stop words are ignored

  • These rarely help narrow and slow down search

    • http

    • com

    • certain single digits

    • certain single letters

  • to include stop words use [space]+

  • Example

    • Star Wars, Episode 1  Star wars episode +1

    • OS/2  OS/ +2

      ***don’t forget the space before the + - signs

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How to interpret results
How to Interpret Results search)

See Handout

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GOTO and news releases

  • To obtain an item from the Special Collection:

    • Click on link

    • Decide if you are willing to pay fee

  • Page provides citation so you can locate publication in library

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    Unique Folders Approach and news releases

    • Results grouped in folders listed at left

    • Folders dynamically generated by search results

      • From a controlled vocabulary

      • Similar to library cataloging

      • Not fixed like subject directories

    • Click on any folder to refine or further focus search

    • Sub-folders allow you to further “zero in”

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Four Types of Folders and news releases

    • Subjects (baseball, desserts)

    • Source descriptors (commercial, personal, magazines, databases)

    • Types of documents (press releases, product review, maps)

    • Languages (major Romanized languages only)

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    Approaches to Searching and news releases

    • Basic Search

    • Power Search

    • Industry Search

    • Investext Search

    • News

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    Basic Search and news releases

    • Http://

    • From Home Page

    • Allows Boolean logic

    • Phrase in “ ”

    • Truncation (*for many characters or % for 1 character)

    • + requires, - excludes

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    Power Search and news releases

    • Http://

    • Combines ALL basic search features in one search

    • Limits to major language or country

    • Can select subject or document in advance

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    Industry Search and news releases


    • All features of basic search

    • Can limit by date range or industry-based subject category

    • Default is ALL industries

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    Investext Search and news releases


    • Search or browse thousands of investment research reports written by expert analysts.

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    News Search and news releases


    • Allows on-line news searches

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    Meta search tools
    “Meta” Search Tools and news releases

    • Multi-threaded search engines

    • Allows access to multiple databases simultaneously or via a single interface

    • (-) Do not offer the same level of control over search interface and logic as individual engines

    • (+) Fast

    • (+) Improvements

      • Results sorted by site used for search, or location of Website

      • Able to select search engines to include

      • ability to modify results

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Popular meta search engines
    Popular Meta-Search Engines and news releases

    • Dogpile

    • Metacrawler

    • Profusion

    • SavvySearch

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    Subject specific search engines
    Subject-Specific Search Engines and news releases

    • Do not index entire web

    • Focus within specific Websites/pages within defined subject area, geographical area, type of resource

    • Specialized search - depth rather than breath

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Selected subject specific engines
    Selected Subject-Specific Engines and news releases


    • Companies Online (

    • Hoover's Online (

    • Wall Street Research Net (

      People (E-mail and Phone)

    • Bigfoot (

    • WhoWhere? (

    • Yahoo! People Search (

    • Switchboard.Com (

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    Selected subject specific engines1
    Selected Subject-Specific Engines and news releases


    • The Amazing Picture Machine (

    • Lycos Image Gallery (

    • WebSeek (

    • Yahoo! Image Surfer (

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Selected subject specific engines2
    Selected Subject-Specific Engines and news releases


    • (

    • (

    • The Riley Guide (


    • CNET (

    • Games Domain (

    • Gamesmania (

    • GameSpot (

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Selected subject specific engines3
    Selected Subject-Specific Engines and news releases


    • Jumbo (

    • (

    • ZDNet Downloads (


    • Achoo (

    • BioMedNet (

    • Combined Health Information Database (

    • Mayo Clinic Health Oasis (

    • Medical World Search (

    • OnHealth (

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    Selected subject specific engines4
    Selected Subject-Specific Engines and news releases

    Education/Children's Sites

    • AOL NetFind Kids Only (

    • Blue Web'n (

    • Education World (

    • Kid Info (

    • Kids Domain (

    • KidsClick! (!/)

    • Yahooligans! (

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Subject directories
    Subject Directories and news releases

    • Hierarchically organized indexes of subject categories

    • User can browse through lists of Websites by subject in search of relevant information

    • Maintained by human

    • May include a search engine for searching their own database

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    Examples of subject directories
    Examples of Subject Directories and news releases

    • INFOMINE (Academic Scholarly Subject Directory -

    • LookSmart

    • Lycos

    • Magellan (

    • Open Directory (

    • Yahoo

      Many of these have aspects of both search and directory

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    Specialized subject directory
    Specialized Subject Directory and news releases

    • Guide complied by subject specialist

    • List important resources in his/her area of expertise

    • More comprehensive than general guide

    • Examples

      • Film: Internet Movie Database (

    • Includes Clearinghouses

      • Argus Clearinghouse (


      • WWW.Virtual Library (

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    Search Engines and news releases

    The Big Guys




    Meta-Search Tools





    Search Engine Colossus

    Subject Directory



    Specialized Subject Directory

    WWW.Virtual Library


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    Preparing to search
    Preparing to Search and news releases

    • What’s the topic, question, area of interest?

    • Identify search terms to describe your topic of interest

    • Consider synonyms (echinoderm OR echinoidea OR "sea urchin")

    • Consider variations of terms (restaurants, dining, gourmet)

      See Handout: Practical Steps

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    Search tips
    Search tips and news releases

    • Enclosing a multiword phrase in quotation marks tells the search engine to list only sites that contain that exact phrase

      • Example: “heart disease”

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    Boolean logic
    Boolean Logic and news releases

    • Combines search terms in many databases

    • AND, OR, and NOT or (+) and (-)

    • Must check to see if search engines use Boolean logic

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    Boolean Logic : AND and news releases

    Limits your search

    “Oral History” & Women

    Only returns pages with both of these terms on them

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    Boolean Logic : OR and news releases

    Broadens your search





    Returns every page with either of these terms on them

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    Boolean Logic : NOT and news releases

    Limits your search





    Only returns pages that contain one but not the other term on them

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    Wildcards and news releases

    • Special Character that can be appended to the root of a word so you can search for all possible endings to that root

    • Good for variant spellings and common root words

    • Example

      • rocket* will yield rocket, rockets, rocketry psycholog* = psychology, psychological, psychologist

      • colo*r = color and colour

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle

    Ctrl f
    Ctrl-F and news releases

    • Follow a link to a document retrieved by a search engine and don’t know how relevant

    • Ctrl-F finds the relevant words in current document

    • Example: women +“El Salavdor” +“Oral History”

      • Pick one link, then Ctrl-F

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    Searching summary
    Searching Summary and news releases

    • Choose a search engine

      • Personal preference

      • Different engines for different purposes

    • Syntax - quotations, Boolean logic, wildcards

    • Ctrl-F to find search words

    • Try to stay focused on your task

    Davina Pruitt-Mentle