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Second IL Con-Grunt: Search

Mary Ellen Bates gave a great talk on search at Internet Librarian 2003. She offered many more tips, but these were the ones that stood out for me.

  1. Always use more than one search engine… surprisingly little overlap among search engine indexes, and relevance ranking surfaces different URLs
  2. Use Alta Vista’s world keyboard to insert non Roman characters
  3. Use AltaVista’s “sort by” box to focus results
  4. Alta Vista is the one search engine that supports “near” –try holistic NEAR veterinarian , then add a sort term and sort
  5. Use thesauri to find different terms
  6. Try Google’s new “define” feature: e.g. define sheep
  7. watch for alternative phrasing, e.g. retirement vs.superannuation
  8. To use Google’s synonym feature: ~term
  9. Be aggressive with “pearl culturing” (also called citation seed growing)–digging through citations in high-confidence documents
  10. Use tools, not search engines; then use a search engine to find a tool, and then let a tool find the answer
  11. Search for sources, not just information
  12. Assume the key information will be buried in the invisible Web
  13. Use AlltheWeb’s URL investigator: excellent background on a Web site
  14. Use “reverse link” searching as a citation search, eg.: — works best for very focused sites
  15. earch full text
  16. For old DNS records, See Dialog’s Doman Names (file 225) which lists Whowas records
  17. Poke around the site; use its site search, its search engine; use its site map; pull down all the pull down menus
  18. Mine Yahoo groups (available as RSS)
  19. Know the advanced search capabilities of at least three search engines:
    truncation, proximity searching, case sensitivity, field searching
  20. Use results clustering where available
  21. Read Bates’ Tip of the Month

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