Sunday, November 11, 2012


1. Choose a search engine, directory or library in accordance with
the kind of search you are doing and the kind of results you are seeking.

2. Consider: Are you looking for a Web site? Information that might
be contained within Usenet? Academic articles that may only be
retrievable with gopher? (If you don't know what Usenet or gopher are, you probably don't need them.)

3. Determine your aims: Do you want a specific hard-to-find document
on an esoteric subject, or general information on a broader topic? Do
you need to search the entire Web, or is what you are seeking likely
to be found on a number of sites, or only the most popular sites?

4. In making your choice, determine whether the information you are
looking for is likely to be in a page's title or first paragraph, or buried
deeper within the document or site.

5. Use a search engine's advanced features, if available, and read the
help files if you are unclear about its searching procedure.


1. Enter synonyms, alternate spellings and alternate forms (e.g. dance,
dancing, dances) for your search terms.

2. Enter all the singular or unique terms which are likely to be included
in the document or site you are seeking.

3. Avoid using very common terms (e.g. Internet, people) which
may lead to a preponderance of irrelevant search results.

4. Determine how your search engine uses capitals and plurals, and
enter capitalized or plural forms of your search words if appropriate.

5. Use a phrase or proper name if possible to narrow your search
and therefore retrieve more relevant results (unless you want a large
number of results)

6. Use multiple operators (e.g. AND, NOT) if a search engine
allows you to do so.

7. If you receive too many results, refine and improve your search.
(After perusing the results, you may become aware of how to use
NOT - e.g. Boston AND hockey AND NOT Bruins)

8. Pay attention to proper spacing and punctuation in your search
syntax (i.e. no space when using + means +term not + term)

Do you want....

to browse a subject area?
USE Yahoo, LookSmart or the Open Directory

to search Newsgroups?
USE Yahoo, Google Newsgroups, AltaVista, HotBot

to include older gopher files in your search?
USE WebCrawler or AltaVista

to search as much as the Web as possible?
USE Google or

to search every word on a site or in a document?
USE AltaVista, or HotBot

to locate an obscure or hard-to-find document?
USE AltaVista

to locate a fairly popular site or easy-to-find document?
USE WebCrawler or Yahoo

to retrieve a large number of results?
USE AltaVista or a metasearch engine such
as Savvy Search or Metacrawler

to retrieve few but relevant results?
USE WebCrawler

to search only titles, urls or keywords?
USE WebCrawler, Yahoo OR AltaVista
to specify in what part of a site your search terms will occur
(including titles, urls and summaries)?
USE AltaVista (adv) or InfoSeek

to search reviewed and evaluated sites?
USE LookSmart's select directory)

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