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Internet Literacy & WEB searching basics. Web Searching Basics. The Internet is…. a major presence in our daily lives constantly growing helping make an enormous amount of information available. Browsers & Search Engines. Browsers are software that allow you to look at Internet content.

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Presentation Transcript
the internet is
The Internet is…
  • a major presence in our daily lives
  • constantly growing
  • helping make an enormous amount of information available
browsers search engines
Browsers & Search Engines
  • Browsers are software that allow you to look at Internet content.
    • Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, etc.
  • Search Engines are programs that allow you to “search” the Internet.
    • Top 5 Search Engines:
      • Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, AOL Search
    • Top 5 Meta Search Engines
      • Dogpile
      • Clusty
      • Mamma
top web sites according to google
Top Web Sites…according to Google
  • Uses popularity to rank web sites
  • Counts the number of links from sites all around the Web
    • For Example: If a large number of sites have a specific keyword somewhere on their website along with a link to a particular site, Google counts the number of times the keyword appears along with the number of links to a particular site. The higher number of links to a site, the higher Google will rank that site on a list of results.
top 5 web sites are
Top 5 Web Sites Are:
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo
  • Wikipedia
  • MSN
more about search engines
More about Search Engines
  • They only search a TINY section of the web and index it.
  • Search Engines have three basic functions:
    • Search
    • Store
    • Deliver
  • Uses spiders, robots or webcrawlers
    • Software programmed by the search engine to follow links and to gather information
    • Goes to only selected parts of the Internet scanning for text, links, and the URL
    • It then builds a list of words & where to find them
  • Search Engines create a list of keywords & where to find them in an index
  • Each Engine creates guidelines to determine what is stored
  • Indexes for different search engines will not store the exact same information

(so it’s a good idea to use more then one search engine)

deliver give results
Deliver (Give results)
  • Search Engines match the keywords of the user to the keywords in the index
  • Produces a ranked list of websites, web documents
  • Each search engine uses a different set of rules for ranking the results


When you use a search engine, you are not searching the current web…
    • But rather the index created by the search engine to organize the information previously collected by the spider.
so what are you missing
So what are you missing?
  • Everything that isn’t on the surface.
    • The deep Web is about 500 times bigger than the surface Web.
  • The Deep Web is all information that is inaccessible through search engines.
    • This would include private databases, like the ones the library subscribes to through Galileo.
types of searches
Types of Searches
  • Index Searches (Directory)
  • Natural language Searches
  • Concept/keyword Searches

There are other types. For example some searches use more then one search engine to improve”hits”. This is called a Meta-Search engine. One example

index searches
Index Searches
  • A Directory of cataloged, hierarchically, structured lists of web sites, like the yellow pages of a phone directory. Good for broad topics, the big picture, top down. (search for “online mortgages”). Limited web site inclusion and not good for complex or specific concept/keyword searches.
  • Typically these are evaluated for popularity, content and/or quality before being included
  • Example:Then check directory on left side

Try Yahoo and search for information about Chocolate

natural language searches
Natural language Searches
  • A directory of possible questions. Good for frequently asked questions, use on simple questions, -least comprehensive in sites included in search
  • Creators developed general question structures that can be asked about a topic
  • A question is typed into the question box, possible alternative statements of the question are then given, followed by links for possible answers. Example:

Try Ask Jeeves and ask for information about Chocolate

concept keyword searches
Concept/Keyword Searches
  • Structured to the user as a traditional library database. Good for specific searches e.g “stain removal” and complex esoteric topics e.g. “multiple melanoma”. Not good for top down general searches. Google at last report indexes the most web pages of all search engines.
  • “Bots” search the web for concepts/keywords picked by web site creators. Most organize the sites in terms of relevance as determined by links to a site and/or actual frequency of access of a web page, “hits”.
  • Concepts/keywords are typed into the query box using Boolean logic and the search engine’s rules to limit the list to the most relevant.


Try google and search for information about Chocolate

improving searches using logic with google
Improving Searches using Logic with Google

Refine Your Search I

  • Describe your search as completely as possible to focus returned links-- normally don’t capitalize

(e,g a search for carnivore obtains a game, a type of animal and an FBI program, so specify your term)

history of chocolate

  • Add quotes to limit search to those sites with this specific phrase:

“history of chocolate”

  • Limit search to non commercial sites:

“history of chocolate”

  • Check other rules of the search engine for focusing your search

On Google Choose “advanced search”

Most search engines have an advanced search similar to Google’s. Check them out!

boolean logic for searches
Boolean Logic for Searches

Refine II.

The exact syntax for logic varies with the search engine. On Google for example click Advanced Search to make choices. Review Search Logic at:


  • AND---requires both terms

chocolate AND history

  • OR-----finds either term

chocolate OR Hershey

  • NOT---excludes term

chocolate NOT mars

  • Nested Boolean Searches

chocolate AND [diet OR health]

How Boolean is used in advanced search on one engine:

other search techniques
Other Search Techniques
  • Proximity operators—e.g NEAR. A search for “juveniles” NEAR “crime” would return sources with “juvenile” and “crime” usually within a specified range such as 10 words (not available for Google)
  • Trunication—e.g*. Search for a specific beginning or ending with all possible for the unspecified part. Search for “*hood” would get “parenthood” “neighborhood”, etc. This is not available in Google
  • Phrase search– “my search phrase”, available in Google and Teoma, etc.
  • Use – and + instead of NOT and AND. Available in Google
what this means
What This Means
  • If you are looking for general information about a topic of interest choose yahoo or askjeeves
  • If you have specific information and/or a possible topic with limited available information choose google
  • Practice with search engines, check their operation and rules to improve your search engine choice and limit extraneous information. You can check this list for possible search engines:

Search Engine List

  • Keep up with new developments.


  • Learn more from an online tutorial on performing searches

other types of search engines 1
Other Types of Search Engines 1

Meta-Searches;these organize links received from searches by more then one search engine.


Specialized Search Engines

  • http://newslink.orgNewspaper Articles
  • http://www.searchmil.comMilitary Information
  • Government Site
  • http://www.switchboard.comDigital Phone Directory
  • http://www.wikipedia.comPublic Editable Encyclopedia
  • Music
  • MPMusic3 Audio – now charges
other information sources
Other Information Sources
  • Specialized Information Searches
    • Medical advice
    • FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation
    • Store ratings and product prices.
    • Store ratings and product prices
    • Search for a product
  • Uniform Resource Locator
  • Specifies where an identified resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving it
  • Examples:
conducting a search online
Conducting a Search Online
  • Search for a list of academic institutions in South Africa
    • Go to any browser and type
  • Search for US higher education websites that contain the word turtle
    • Go to any web browser and type in “host:edu + turtle” in the search box.
  • Find the owner of a website by going to www.easy and entering the URL of the site you would like to research.
  • Find out if a web site is someone’s personal website by looking for a tilde “~” or the “%” sign or a personal name “jdoe” or the word “user” after the domain name and the first forward slash “/”
  • Find out who is linked to your organization’s website by going to any browser and typing link:[your organization’s website]
  • Find the history of any given website by going to and entering in a website.
  • A weblog or blog (a derivative of “web” and “log”)
  • Essentially an online diary, where anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can post anything – random thoughts, photos, homework, and poetry, just to name a few  – for the rest of the world to see.
  • Examples:
    • Yellow Lane
    • Politics 1
    • House of Blog
    • Interactive Media Seminar