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how to

SEARCH smart Q U I C K T I P S F O R FA S T A N D P R O D U C T I V E S E A R C H I N G

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Basic Searching

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Everything is on the internet, but that’s the problem: Everything is on the internet! With well over 11 billion pages to search, how can you find the one site with the information you need?

TIP #1: DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL.... Web Portals and Megasites Before you jump on to Google or Yahoo!, let someone else do the searching for you. Web portals are sites where someone knowledgable (theoretically!) has taken the time to collect the best or most useful information in one place. These are almost always a good place to start looking, and will save you time sifting through thousands (or millions!) of results. General: Virtual Learning Resource Center: http://www.virtuallrc.com/ IPL2: Internet Public Library. http://www.ipl.org/ HISTORY Best of History: http://www.besthistorysites.net/ Internet History Sourcebook: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ World History Archives:http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/index.html Electronic Text Collections: http://history.hanover.edu/etexts.html Early American Archives: http://www.earlyamerica.com/ English Voice of the Shuttle: http://vos.ucsb.edu/browse.asp?id=3 PAL: http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/table.html Luminarium: http://www.luminarium.org/ Science Discovery Education: Science http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/sci-tech/scisp.html CC licensed by Jeri Hurd


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TIP 2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT SEARCH ENGINE Half the battle in finding relevant sources is choosing the right search engine. Google and Bing are good general resources, but there are search engines dedicated to academic searches.

Infomine searches for scholarly, academic research on the web and allows search by general subject area. Good for searching the deep web: databases, journals, etc. http://infomine.ucr.edu/

A UK based academic search engine. Subject specialists review content; like Intute, you can narrow your search by subject area. Especially useful, Intute provides a series of tutorial guides on searching for each subject area. That is, searching tips for the humanities, vs. searching for the social sciences.

ArtCyclopedia searches all art related topics: painters, movements, art works, etc. http://www.artcyclopedia.com/

Look for all things anthropology related on anthro.net

http://www.intute.ac.uk Tutorials: http:// www.vts.intute.ac.uk/

For more detailed suggestions go to http://www.noodletools.com and select “Choose the best search”

http://scholar.google.com

General Search Tips Remember these basic skills to improve and refine your search results!

Google Scholar also searches scholarly books and articles. It pulls results from Google Books, online databases such as JSTOR, university libraries, etc.

This provides a wide range of results, but you many not be able to access many of them, if the school doesn’t subscribe to that particular database.

1. Use key words, rather than questions 2. Use “ “ around names or phrases (e.g. “cold war”) 3. Use a - sign to remove unwanted results (e.g. Vikings -football) 4. In Google Bing or Yahoo, limit your domain with site:

CC licensed by Jeri Hurd

(e.g. Jackson “election results” site:gov)


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TIP 3: KNOW YOUR OPTIONS! Most search engines have some built-in tools to help you refine or expand your search. Taking the time to use them can improve your results. A common tool among search engines is the “related” option. Somewhere along your results, you’ll find a box or tab that suggests other search terms you might use, if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting. In Yahoo!, you’ll find this by clicking the small tab under the search box. In addition, you’ll find a set of “also try” links at the bottom of the page. Often, just changing the form of a work can also improve results: “feminist” or “feminism,” for example. In Bing you’ll find the related search options in a box on the left side of the page, or at the bottom of the page. Bing is also working on a visual search option, which is promising, though rather limited at the moment. For example, with a search of the periodic tables, it gives you a graphical view of the elements, which you can click on for more detailed information. Google provides several tools you can use to enhance your search. First, from your search results page, click the “Show Options” link. A sidebar will show up on the left, with several, well, options. We’re going to focus on a couple of these. 1) Wonder Wheel: This turns your search into a web of related terms. Click one of the branches, and a new web appears, with even more terms. This is a great way to see the relationships between ideas, by the way. Search results will appear on the right. 2) Timeline: This view allows you to focus on a specific date and find pages relevant to that. Click on the “Search other dates” tab and you can narrow your results to a specific range of dates.

CC licensed by Jeri Hurd


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3. Any Time: The different options here allow you to choose results by when they were posted online. This is great for when you need current information--if you are trying to follow events as they happen, for instance. 4. Visited Pages: Have you ever forgotten a website, and can’t find it in your history, either because it was too long ago and you don’t remember what day you were there? As long as you can remember relevant search terms, the “visited pages” link will take you to websites you’ve already been to within the results.

Tip 4: Searching for Images All search engines now offer a dedicated engine to look just for images. But did you know you can do even more? Copyright friendly: In Google Images, click on “advanced search” then in the usage rights pop-up menu, choose “labeled for reuse.” In Yahoo it’s even easier, at the top of your search results page, select the “creator allows reuse” box. These are images you can use in your media projects. You will still need to cite them, of course! Filter by Size: Google, Yahoo and Bing all allow you to filter images by size. In Google, click the “Show Options” button for a list of filters. In Bing they are automatically along the left side, in Yahoo along the top of the page. This is important for media projects using iMovie or VoiceThread, where you want a large file size to avoid grainy pictures. Filter by Color or Type: Google offers the best options here. All of the engines let you choose whether you want color or black and white, but Google also allows you to choose what color. Need a lot of pictures with blue, Google will find them for you. You can also choose whether you want just a face (portrait), a sketch or clip art. Similar Images: Is the photo close, but not quite what you want? Click “Similar Images” underneath each image for more choices. Google Image Swirl: As cool as it gets! Type in your search term, and image swirl returns groups of images organized by similarity, but not the same. A search of “french revolution, for example, returns paintings of the revolution, paintings by revolutionary artists, buildings of the french revolution and more. This could be an especially useful tool for comparative purposes. http://image-swirl.googlelabs.com/

CC licensed by Jeri Hurd


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Tip 5: Compare Results! No one search engine catalogues every site, or even returns results in the same order, so it behooves you to check several search engines when you search, but who remembers or wants to take the time. But fear not! Several search engines currently allow you to compare results easily. Here are my two favorites: Soovle: A customizable search engine, Soovle is also great for finding key words. Enter your term, and you’ll find related terms for 6 different search engines. Better yet, click on the “engines” link above and you can set which search engines Soovle displays. Hit the right arrow key, and you’ll change which engine results will be displayed when you enter your term (it’s also just fun to watch!). You can even save suggested search terms by dragging them into the book in the upper left corner. http://soovle.com/ Panabee: Panabee combines an easy interface with arguably the broadest range of customizable searching. Using the “Favorites” tab, you can choose among the vast majority of search engines, news sites and more. A quick click allows you to add it to your toolbar, too. http://www.panabee.com/

Tip 6: Browser Add-Ons: A number of cool tools can be added to Firefox to expand or organized your search. Ambiently: Another way to broaden your search to related topics. Ambiently adds onto your bookmark toolbar and allows you to find sites related to the one you’re currently on. So, if you’ve found the perfect site, just click on Ambiently to find more. To install, just drag and drop the bookmarklet onto your toolbar. http://ambiently.com/ CC licensed by Jeri Hurd


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Cloudlet: Cloudlet helps you focus your search by generating a tag cloud based on your search terms. Better yet, it doesn’t clutter up your browser: it appears when you’re in Google or Yahoo! It appears at the top of your search page, and you can turn it on or off. Just click on one of the words to refine your search. Click on the “sites” tab and you can search results in Wikipedia, Britannica and more. Coolest of all, click on “Net” and you can limit your domains to .edu or .org sites. http://www.getcloudlet.com/ Diigo: Diigo is another Firefox add-on that allows you not only to bookmark websites, but also to add comments and even highlight text or post sticky-notes on the website. You can keep notes private, so that only you can see them, or you can share with others if you are working on a project together. Basically, it is a tool that helps you organize your online research. http://www.diigo.com Zotero: If you want to get REALLY serious about researching online, you need Zotero, a powerful add-on that helps you collect, manage, cite and share your resources. While more powerful, it also has a higher learning curve than Diigo, but is excellent for serious research. The features are too extensive to list here, but you can view this video for a quick overview. Just click “Play video” on the right. http://www.zotero.org/ For some seriously search-nerd tips: http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html CC licensed by Jeri Hurd

Search Smart  

Six tips for better searching

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