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OpenWebSearching

Open Web Searching


A thorough researcher wants to use all available avenues for gathering information, including the print resources, digests, indexes, and journals accessible through libraries. Too often, even when we search the "open" or public web, we are overwhelmed with a huge number of hits, many of which are not helpful or relevant.

Search Terms:

Remember that search engines are not intelligent; while some can now detect mis-spellings or suggest related searches, the success of your web searching is a function of the search terms you enter.

Please conduct the following sample searches using www.google.com. and observe how changing the form of a term, adding and excluding term, shapes and narrows the results given back. When you have practiced with the following examples, go on to do some searching relevant to your topic. Be sure to save any useful resources you find!


OPEN Web Searching (Some Examples):



BASIC SEARCHING


1. BOOLEAN NARROWING

digital and culture
digital and life
digital and politics

2. PHRASES and Variations
"digital culture" and politics
"digital culture" and law
"digital culture" and music
"digital culture" and cyberlaw and music

"digital culture" -entertainment

TIPS For ADVANCED SEARCHING



3. EXCLUDE and INCLUDE Site Types
(URLS: .edu, .org, .com, .gov, and countries eg. uk, ca, au)

"digital culture" -music -site:*.edu -site:.org

4. EXCLUDE REPETITIVE SEARCH TERMS
Use the "not" function to eliminate repetitive entries that are not relevant

5. TURN UP NEW TERMS
Look for language in your search results that will get you more specialized results. (cyberlaw instead of law)

6. USE BIBLIOGRAPHIES AND LINKS
Good sources often cite their own sources; follow those links, look up names, be a detective.




Note that most search engines let you focus searches in this way although exact steps for doing so may vary from one to another. Look for "advanced search" or "search help" in your preferred search engine to learn more. Teoma.com is a useful engine, which takes similar commands to google; it cannot easily exclude sites, but it does provide suggested refinements and link collections on the right hand margin.

Always keep in mind the expression "garbage in, garbage out;" take care how and what you search.




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