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Internet Searching: Tips and Techniques Vicki F. Croft, Head Health Sciences Library Objectives To help you search the Internet more efficiently and effectively

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internet searching
Internet Searching:

Tips and Techniques

Vicki F. Croft, Head

Health Sciences Library

  • To help you search the Internet more efficiently and effectively
  • To share selected free animal health-related web sites and information resources and other useful health and international web resources
  • To provide suggestions on ways to evaluate Internet sites and resources
  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Hands-on Searching
  • Discussion and Questions
  • Internet: a global network of interconnected computers. Includes email, the www, etc.
  • WWW (World Wide Web): a service that includes a collection of documents stored on computers connected to the Internet. The contents are written in markup languages, such as html, and often contain hypertext links for moving from document to document.
world wide web www
World Wide Web (WWW)
  • Visible web: that part of the web that is searchable by search engines
  • Invisible or deep web: the non-searchable part of the web. It may be 2-500X as large as the visible web!
          • Proprietary information
          • Archival documents; older materials (pre-1980’s)
          • Library catalogs
          • Information/citations/articles from databases, etc. that cost money to access, e.g. Web of Science
          • Sites technically not accessible
ways to find information from the www
Ways to Find Information from the WWW:
  • Search engines, e.g. Google
  • Directories, e.g. Yahoo
  • Subject gateways, favorite sites/lists, such as Vet Gate
  • Specialized databases, such as PubMed, Agricola
search engines
Search Engines
  • Search engines are powerful Web search tools that enable you to trawl vast quantities of Web resources by keyword searching. Results are ranked based upon computer completed indexes of words from web pages.
  • Examples: Google, DogPile
  • Large, multi-subject search tools aimed at a general audience and built by human editors.
  • Quality of resources is variable
  • Usually use very broad subject hierarchies that take a lot of browsing, with no controlled indexing.
  • Examples: Yahoo, NetVet/Electronic Zoo, DMoz
subject gateways
Subject Gateways
  • Designed to help users locate high quality Web resources in a particular subject area. Provide access to hand selected, evaluated Web resources, chosen by subject specialists and information professionals.
  • Organized by subjects for easy browsing.
  • Examples: VetGate, Free Animal Health Resources (Cornell)
search engines vs directories favorite sites gateways
Search Engines vs. Directories, Favorite Sites, Gateways
  • Use search engines for finding more specific information (visible web)
  • Use directories and subject gateways for more general information and starting points
  • Use known web sites or specialized databases when the information is likely to be found at that web site, e.g. Pub Med

Remember: No single search engine can capture all the information. More information is not always better.

hands on practice
Hands on Practice
search engine strategies syntaxes http google com
Search Engine Strategies (Syntaxes) (
  • For exact phrase, use quotes “west nile virus”
  • By title In title: rabies bats
  • By URL
  • By date bubonic seattle 1907..1908
  • Exclude a word python –Monty
  • By language – use Preferences and select language(s), e.g. ZorroEnglish
  • Combining syntaxes, e.g. in url: navicular
veterinary web site gateways
Veterinary Web Site Gateways
  • Free Animal Health Resources (Cornell)

An excellent, annotated, up-to-date web site of free internet resources, arranged by category. Includes hints on searching, and evaluation of web sites.

  • VetGate: Internet Resources for Animal Health

UK-based, from BIOME, a free internet service that provides access to Internet resources in health and life sciences. Linked sites have

been selected and evaluated by experts.

Includes a nice tutorial.

quick answer reference sites
Quick Answer Reference Sites
  • Internet Public Library

Provides links to general reference, quick answers. Ready Reference section has good links to almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, acronyms, etc. Useful if you don’t know the URL.

  • Yahoo! Reference Collection
  • Google Images

Includes over 800 million images. Can limit by size, format, color, domain

  • All the Web

Images, video, and audio searching

free searchable databases
Free Searchable Databases


Contains references with abstracts to articles in over 4,300 biomedical journals published internationally and covering all aspects of medicine. Includes indexing to more than 80 veterinary journals. Updated daily. Contains links to some free online journals. Some references go back to the 1950’s.

For a list of veterinary journals indexed in PubMed, go to:

help guides to searching pubmed
Help Guides to Searching PubMed
  • PubMed Tutorial

A Web-based learning program that shows how to search PubMed

  • PubMed Searching: Veterinary Medicine

Helpful hints for searching for veterinary topics in PubMed

  • PubMed Search Tags and Field Qualifiers

A handy chart of tags and field qualifiers.

free searchable databases continued
Free Searchable Databases Continued


Contains approximately 3 million citations in agriculture and related topics from 1970 to present.  It is maintained by the U.S. National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. Best for food production animals, animal husbandry and feeding, as well as other aspects of agriculture.

evaluating web sites
Evaluating web sites:
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • Who?
  • Current?
  • Author’s credentials?
  • Reliability? Accurate?
  • Organized? Easy to navigate? Clear?
when you are looking for something and can t find what you need
When you are looking for something and can’t find what you need…
  • Is online the best place to look?
  • Should I try a directory or search engine? Which one(s)?
  • Who is most likely to have the answer?
  • Have I looked the right places with the right tools?
  • Have I overlooked some important resources?
  • Is my search too narrow? Is my search too broad?
  • Any misspellings? Have I used correct syntaxes?
creating and maintaining your own favorites
Creating and Maintaining Your Own Favorites
  • Bookmark favorite sites in your browser, e.g. Internet Explorer
  • Create a list in Word with hotlinks
  • Include your websites on your libraries web page
  • Suggestion: Check links, look for new sites and links every 6 months

Free automated link Software:

      • Open Source Perl Program
      • Includes Documentation
free software
Free Software
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    • Open Office
      • Multilingual, open access alternative to MS Word, Excel, Power Point
    • Firefox- open access web browser
  • Caution: Take time to read the license
  • Calishan, Tara. Search Engine Garage. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall PTR, 2005.

A book about using the Internet and search engines, the basic principles of internet searching, with examples.

  • Beyond Google: Searching the Web More Effectively

Handout for a class on teaching users other ways to search beyond Google.

  • Search Engine Watch

Search engine news; search links by subject; provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines.

  • Search Engine Showdown: the Users’ Guide to Web Searching ( )

Includes search engine directories, comparisons, news about search engines, etc.


The presenter gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the following:

Erica van der Westhuizen, University of Pretoria

Sarah McCord, Washington State University

Joyce Franke, Washington State University

Susanne Whitaker, Cornell University

Greg Youngen, University of Illinois

Lenny Rhine, University of Florida

LEEP Program: University of Illinois (UIUC) Graduate School of Library Science