Posts Tagged ‘Search Engines’

Students reported feeling “anxious” and confused when trying to research. Many felt overwhelmed by the volume of results their searches would turn up, not realizing that there are ways to narrow those searches and get more tailored results. Others would abandon their research topics when they couldn’t find enough sources, unaware that they were using the wrong search terms or database for their topics.

Read the full story http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/college-students-stumped-search-engines-research-finds-193221656.html


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Using the Internet for your research? Recent analysis shows that only 7% of results from a Google search are worthy of inclusion in a college-level research project. So you have two concerns when using any general search engine for research: identify the 7% of reliable sites in your results list, and try to find the other 93%! Instead of sifting through millions of irrelevant results, try these tools:

  • Ask.com has many features that make it a good search engine to start finding research-worthy material online. Your results list will provide you with a screen that defines your topic, provides images and graphs, a binoculars icon to preview a site, and a list of related terms to expand or narrow your topic as needed.  For more information, see 10 Reasons Librarians should use Ask Instead of Google.  
  • Yahoo Directory has two features for added research value. Click on any of the broad subject categories in the left side menu, and you’ll get the major subdivisions of the topic, where the search box will now provide a radio button option to search the Web for only that category – making it a subject specialty search engine. Use the radio button for a Directory search which is structured by human experts who have evaluated the quality of the sites listed, and links are most often to entire Websites devoted to your topic, not the usual jumble of random pages returned from a general search.
  • IPL2 – the Jan. 2010 merger of the Internet Public Library [IPL] and Librarians Internet Index [LII] brings you links to thousands of the best Websites for research information. You can search the sections divided by Resources by Subject, Newspapers and Magazines, or Special Collections Created by the IPL2 – or simply enter your topic in the search box. There is also an Ask an IPL2 Librarian – a 24/7 question service: Need help with homework, a work project, or just need a question answered? Ask an ipl2 librarian – it’s that easy. Last year this service answered over 88,000 questions. 
  • Many of the Subject Guides on the WSC Library Website can also help you find discipline-specific information on the Internet.

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The answer to almost any question is available within seconds, courtesy of the invention that has altered how we discover knowledge – the search engine.  The real difficulty kicks in when you click down into your search results. At that point, it’s up to you to sort the accurate bits from the misinfo, disinfo, spam, scams, urban legends, and hoaxes.

Howard Reingold writes in the SanFrancisco Chronicle about what he calls “Crap Detection 101.”  The author writes that: “Unless a great many people learn the basics of online crap detection and begin applying their critical faculties en masse and very soon, I fear for the future of the Internet as a useful source of credible news, medical advice, financial information, educational resources, scholarly and scientific research.”

Read his entertaining article filled with practical tips and valuable advice at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=42805

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