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Searching the Internet. Our Quest for Knowledge in Space. Internet Search Tools. Directories (Collections) Search Engines Meta-Search Engines Invisible Web Gateways Portals Asking “Experts”. Directories. Directory Characteristics. Organizes resources into logical subject groups

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Searching the Internet

Our Quest for Knowledge in Space

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Internet Search Tools

  • Directories (Collections)

  • Search Engines

  • Meta-Search Engines

  • Invisible Web Gateways

  • Portals

  • Asking “Experts”

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Directory Characteristics

  • Organizes resources into logical subject groups

  • Simple group headings so the user can “drill down” to locate sub-divisions of information and sites

  • Humans are involved in the creation of the Directory

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  • Yahoo is an example of a Web Site that is both a Directory and a Search Engine

  • It is like an enormous yellow pages phone book

  • Yahoo is an excellent place to start – particularly if you are looking for information about specific organizations or specific topics

  • Yahoo is not, however, a complete collection of Internet resources – not every organization or everyone is listed

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California State Page

  • Designed to help meet the basic information access for all citizens of California.

    • Census data

    • Links to many high quality health resources

    • Gateway to Federal as well as State information

    • One of the best Internet starting points for California information

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Librarians’ Index to the Internet

  • The Librarians’ Index to the Internet is a searchable, annotated subject directory of Internet resources selected and evaluated by librarians for their usefulness to Library users.

  • It is meant to be used by both librarians and non-librarians as a reliable and efficient guide to described and evaluated Internet resources.

  • This is an excellent collection of reviewed and evaluated resources.

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Search Engines

  • Characteristics

  • Considerations

  • Strategy Development

  • Refining Techniques

  • Examples

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Search Engine Characteristics

  • Searches by keyword

  • Creates web site databases by searching the web by robots and computer programs

  • Economic criteria can determine a place in the search results

  • Although there are similarities, no two Search Engines are exactly the same (Kmart v. Wal-Mart)

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You Need More than A Search Engine

  • Not all of the Internet is indexed

  • You should expect to miss information which is on the Internet

  • Current information is often not available through a search engine

  • Many Web Pages are restricted or fee-only

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Searching Strategy

  • Be specific. The keywords that best describe what you are looking for are the way to start

  • Scan the results of your search for clues (even poor results can give you clues)

    • How would rephrasing your search change the results?

    • Is there anything usable in the results?

  • Fifteen-Minute Test: Know when to give up

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Typing Your Search

  • If you are looking for a two-word name, force the Search Engine to treat the item as a phrase

    • When you enclose the words in quotes the Engine will look for the words next to each other

  • If your search consistently produces the same poor results, exclude words to narrow your results.

    • Use the plus sign (+) to require a word and the minus sign (-) to exclude a word

  • Host Limiting

    • If you are looking for government information, limit your results to only government sites

    • Type host:gov in your search to limit the results to only sites containing .gov in their address

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  • Google is “the” search tool

  • Very easy to use – Simple format

  • Results are often close to the desired results

  • Although, the quality of the information is not guaranteed

  • Most effective when the search term is kept simple

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Virtual Reference Libraries

  • University of California at Berkeley - Reference page with links to University libraries, collections, electronic databases and academic disciplines

  • Internet Public Library - Replicates a library reference room "without walls" on the Internet. Contains links to reference materials covering computers, law, science, entertainment and education

  • iTools - Basic reference tools such as dictionaries and word lookups, as well as language translators

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Meta Search Engines

  • All searches are sent to several search engines or directories at the same time

  • Results from different tools are displayed on one page.

  • Not all of the Internet is indexed, you should expect some misinformation

  • You cannot use advanced features from specific search engines, since those features may not be supported by the meta-index tools

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Meta-Index Examples

  • MetaCrawler – An excellent searching tool that allows you to search many of the major search tools at once. Particularly useful Power Search tab that allows you to pick and choose which tools are searched

  • DogPile – Customizable meta-index

  • RefDesk – Unbelievable resource for everything Internet

  • Langenberg.Com – Simple collection of search boxes to different resources

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Invisible Web (The Deep Web)

  • Regardless of which tools you use, there will always be information you will be missing

  • This data is referred to as the Invisible Web, since it is often invisible to most search tools

  • That doesn’t mean that you can’t find information on the Invisible Web, it means that you might have to use different tools

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Invisible Web Considerations

  • Information is often overlooked by traditional search tools for two basic reasons:

    • Internet Directories, Search Engines and Meta-Search Engines do not gather information from every page available on every web site.

    • Information in databases (such as library catalogs) are not available through search engines.

    • Search engines succeed by gathering documents, but with databases, there are no documents to gather

    • As more web sites use databases to store information, the amount of information available through traditional search tools will become less and less useful.

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Invisible Web Strategy

  • Finding information on the Invisible Web is not an easy task, but it may be the only way to find the information that you need

  • Many Internet searchers give up when they do not find information using a basic Search Engine

  • Before giving up, you should try some Invisible Web search tools

  • Using Invisible Web tools is a two-step process:

    • Perform a Subject Search to find an appropriate site (or sites)

    • Perform a search of the site that looks like it will be responsive to your needs

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Access to Invisible Databases

  • Vivisimo – Document clustering

  • Complete Planet- Collection of searchable databases

  • InfoMine – A collection created by librarians. The sites are well-catalogued and allow expanding searches based on related subjects and keywords

  • Freeality Internet Search- Popular databases

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  • Portals are communities of Web Sites organized around similar interests

  • Suite built by over 1,000 volunteer “experts.” offers distractions like chat and friendly, popular information as well as the serious

  • Portals Community - A portal of portals

  • FAST Search– (a/k/a AlltheWeb) Currently includes more than 200 million unique URLs in its database

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  • is a site of self-appointed experts in specialized areas.

  • The experts create lists of sites and current events about that topic area

  • The site can be helpful if you are interested in delving into a particular topic with some depth

  • - Experts who volunteer to provide free answers to your individual questions

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Who Owns The Site?

  • After you have found information on the Internet, it becomes important to know the source

  • Sometimes it is obvious – and, sometimes it is not at all obvious

  • When all else fails, look up the web site owner, and if necessary contact that company to verify the source of the information

  • There is only one site to use for this, and that is -

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Network Solutions

  • Every .com/.net/.org web site is registered with Network Solutions

  • To find the name of the owner of a specific site, use Network Solutions’ WHOIS Lookup Service.

  • Using WHOIS allows you to type in a web address and retrieve basic contact information about the owner of that domain name

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Search Tool Changes

  • Search Engine Watch– Search tools are constantly changing. Search Engine Watch keeps track of those changes, both in terms of changing names as well as newly implemented features.

    • Subscribing to the email newsletter will keep you informed of the latest hints, tips, features and existence of search tools

  • LII New This Week Mailing List– A weekly email newsletter listing recently-evaluated and interesting new web sites

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Site Changes

  • Search Engine Showdown- compilation of studies, reports and news compiled by Greg Notess

  • The Botspot- Focus on Artificial Intelligence. “Bots" - multi-purpose, multi-site, multi-resource, and interactive tools for locating information about the Web, advanced Web programming, and Web searching.

    • Browse "Bots by Category" or read "What's a bot?"

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The FutureOur Quest for Knowledge in Space Continues…