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Honing your searching skills.

THE LIBRARY COLUMN IN THIS ISSUE DISCUSSED VARIous search strategies, ways to improve the results of your searches so all the hits are precisely on topic. That sort of precision is, of course, the perfect scenario. However, learning more about retrieval strategies will make any on-line research go faster and be more productive. Here are some websites that will either refresh your existing knowledge or introduce new ways of finding the information you want.

Boolean Searching on the Internet (State University of New York at Albany)

This is an excellent site with "A Primer in Boolean Logic" starting off the 9-page site. It is clear with lots of examples.

TheLearningSite -- The Cyberlibrarians' Rest Stop

A good place to learn about different search strategies. It is arranged as lessons or tutorials, as follows: (1) What is the Web and why can't I find what I want? (2) Where do I start? (Web directories); (2a) Evaluating what you find (tips for selecting resources); (3) What's next? (Web indexes and search engines); (4) Power search techniques (Boolean and field searching); (5) Locating images: photos, pictures & graphics; (5a) Photos, pictures & graphics--quick reference; (6) Using metasearch engines. These are very informative and written in easily accessible language with terms defined. A definite starting point for learning how to research using the Internet.

Infopeople Project's Best Search Tools Chart

This chart lists the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Teoma, Librarians' Internet Index, divided into different categories: search engines, meta search engines, and subject directories. The chart describes the database; Boolean searching--what is the default, whether you can use "+" or "-"; lists search options such as truncation, wildcard symbols (to replace an unknown letter in the middle of words); and has useful information in the "Miscellaneous" column, information such as spell checkers, whether you can refine search results to narrow down the results.

Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators

The strength of this site lies in the annotations that accompany the links that are arranged into three main sections. The first section (About the Internet, HTML, and Graphics) has, for example, links to "Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial"; "The HelpWeb: A Guide to Getting Started on the Internet"; "Learn the Net: Essential Internet Online"; "Internet 101," a basic tutorial for beginners. The Internet Search Engines section contains such links as "Spider's Apprentice" that is a "great tutorial on the use of the different search engines and techniques for successful searching"; "NoodleQuest" that asks you a few questions and then guides you to the best search tools and research strategies for your search; and "Sink or Swim: Internet Search Tools & Techniques." The Internet Subject Directories section has a good list of subject directories such as Librarians' Internet Index, Ask Jeeves, and LookSmart.

Bright Planet -- Tutorial: Guide to Effective Searching of the Internet

A comprehensive tutorial that has six major sections: The Size of the Internet; Internet Search Basics and Why There's a Problem; Keywords--The Essence of the Search; Boolean Basics; Advanced Operators [NEAR, BEFORE, AFTER, AND NOT]; Advanced Construction [of search queries]. There's even an Executive Summary highlighting the important aspects of searching and these are all linked to the more detailed discussion in the main tutorial. Very thorough and well worth exploring. BrightPlanet is a private U.S. company that specializes in "deep Web research."

by CDHA Staff
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Title Annotation:PROBING THE NET
Publication:Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:Developing your search strategy.
Next Article:Working together./Travailler ensemble.

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