WEEK FIVE – Lecture


Additional discussion of search strategies


We briefly discussed the following search tools last week. Tonight I will walk you through some of the better search engines, metasearch, portals, directories & indexes, and natural language searching sites.


Remember, when you are searching for a new and different searching tool - just type what you are looking for in the "location box". (i.e., "metasearch engine," "search engine," etc.



SEARCHING TOOLS: For most of the following, it is not necessary to type “www,” just type the engine’s name followed by “.com”.


ENGINES: Lycos/Oingo/Directhit/mamma/scrubtheweb, and, of course - google


Difficult to tell the search engines from the directories. Most search engines are good for finding specific information. When you search, you are not actually searching the Web, you are searching a database of words from Web pages. Software (called spiders, webcrawlers, or bots) automatically collect the words on millions of web pages.


When you enter your search terms in the location box, search engines go into their internal directory and look for the keywords. No two engines contain the same Web pages. If you don’t find what you are looking for, it is time to use a different engine. It is software that also determines the order the “hits” are listed. Therefore, don’t always assume the first-named site is the best one. Always use more than one search engine, as most of them are incomplete.


META-SEARCH ENGINES: Metacrawler/ProFusion/Dogpile/Ixquick/Savvysearch/search/7metasearch


Internally, metasearch engines function differently internally from basic search engines. They pass the search string into a number of search engines and display the responses from all of them. Helpful for searching for unusual words – or to get an overview of a subject area. They also search in engines and other search tools that you may not have been aware existed.


PORTALS: yahoo/go/excite/looksmart


A portal is simply a web site that offers a doorway into a world of information about a specific thing. It doesn't have to be about the internet. It can just as easily be a doorway into a specific topic that you are interested in.

A portal is a system of programs designed to make it easier for a user to find information. Typically these programs will include things like free e-mail, chats, forums, classified ads and most importantly a search engine. The purpose of all these integrated programs is to provide convenience, and a sense of community to the user, and to help make the user feel more comfortable about using the portal for the purpose of beginning their journey from "there" as opposed to trying to go out all over the internet and find all the pieces of the puzzles for themselves.


Good for finding popular information, such as sports scores or stock quotes. Portals are enormous, and they try to provide such a wide variety of information and services that they sometimes respond with too much information.


DIRECTORIES AND INDEXES: ArgusClearinghouse.net/lii.org (Librarian’s Index to the Internet)/Academicinfo.net/ipl.org (Internet Public Library)


Unlike search engines, directories and indexes do not always end in “.com”.


Directories are websites which allow you to browse the web by subject. Whereas search engines let us search using keywords, Indexes and Directories are collections of Web Pages organized by subject.


Good for browsing for topics and finding relatively good quality sites. They are organized by subject, and are maintained by people rather than electronically. They have fewer web sites than search engines, but focus on including respected sites.


An Index is basically the same as a Directory, but the quality is usually better. The difference is in who maintains it. In a Directory, it is anyone – whoever the Organization hires. With an Index, you have someone who is trained in this kind of thing.



Disclaimer: As my lecture notes "went to press," all of the above sites existed - but, as we know, sites on the Internet appear and disappear without warning. Thus, if you attempt to go to a site only to find gone - just go to a different site.



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