Assessing Google as a Teaching & Research Tool

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# Assessing Google as a Teaching & Research Tool - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Assessing Google as a Teaching &amp; Research Tool. Dennis G. Jerz Seton Hill University Teaching &amp; Learning Forum 31 Jan 2005 http://jerz.setonhill.edu/resources/google. Quick Links. Basic use of Google Keywords Quotations Marks Advanced Search Tips Obscure but Nifty Extended Features

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### Assessing Google as a Teaching & Research Tool

Dennis G. JerzSeton Hill UniversityTeaching & Learning Forum31 Jan 2005http://jerz.setonhill.edu/resources/google

• Keywords
• Quotations Marks
• Obscure but Nifty
• Extended Features
• At an information literacy conference, I asked a group of librarians how they thought Google worked.
Overview
• Background and Basics
• Special Extended Features
Background and Basics
• Using Google: Keywords and Quotation Marks
• How Google Works: Brute Strength, Caches, and PageRank
• Keywords: by default, uses Boolean “AND”

seton hill = seton AND hill

this + way up = forces inclusion of “this”

Quotation Marks
• Enclose a term in quotation marks for an exact match

seton hill = matches terms anywhere

“seton hill” = matches this exact phrase

• Brute Strength
• Caching the Internet
• PageRank Algorithm
Brute Strength
• Banks of ordinary PCs (not supercomputers)
• Multiple, geographically separate networks
• Inexpensive to maintain or replace
• Does not run Windows – saves \$\$
Caches
• Google does not search the live internet.
• Google stores a copy of the pages – faster than going live.
• Google also caches the results of its searches.
• Spidering – a “web crawler” follows links, searching for updated content.
Cache Issues
• Cache can be out of date
• Material removed from the internet may be available via Google’s cache for days or months
• This can be good (if a site is briefly down)
• …or bad (if you want to remove potentially libelous content)
PageRank
• In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important." -- Google Technology

Historical example: Searching for “seton hill university” used to return the message, Did you mean ‘seton hall university’?”

Manipulating PageRank
• miserable failure
• Jew
Inherent Geek Bias
• Context: googling for groceries?
• Geek bias is real
• expected
• manageable
Teaching Implications: Sufficing
• Sufficing: Natural Human Behavior
• Even experts not good at rejecting “good enough” for “better”
• Compare:

• Wildcards: “to * or not to *”
• Synonyms “seton hill” ~sports see: ~violence; ~mohammed, ~jesus
• Domain searchdean site:blogs.setonhill.edu
• Number ranges: robots 1900..1950
• Definitions: define holocaust
Obscure, But Still Nifty

Just type into the Google search box

• calculator: "134 + 353"
• airplane tracker: "united 103"
• measurement converter: "three teaspoons"
Special Extended Features

• “People who are savvy about how the Internet works don't even try to find breaking news on the Net.”– Richard W. Wiggins “The Effects of September 11 on the Leading Search Engine.” First Monday 6:10 (2001).
• Published 1 Oct, 2001.
• Much has changed: Google News
• “seton hill” construction
• “seton hill university”
• Our student paper, The Setonian is one of several thousand of sites indexed
• Returns saled-down “thumbnails”
• Images classified by adjacent keywords

seton hill

hippocampus

pygmalion and galatea

• Scientific Bias: Derrida: Physicist Bernard beats out philosopher Jacques. (Credit: Mike Arnzen)
• Uneven results. “Jerz, DG” and “Jerz, Dennis G.” are considered different authors.)
• Automated: If it looks like a citation, Google Scholar treats it like one.