are basically four different strategies you can use. Which strategy
is best is determined by the type of information you have and
the type of information you want. The strategies are:
Directory Search - When you have only a vague idea of a
topic area and need to browse through subject matter categories.
More about directories.
A high school student who has to do a term paper for her biology
class and thinks she might be interested in doing something on
genetic engineering but has no specific topic in mind and wants
to see what is out there. Browsing down through a directory's
subject categories may eventually reveal a topic that interests
Simple Search Engine - When you have only one or two keywords
that you will use to search for a topic, simple search engines
are good because their search logic and results logic will likely
return some reasonably relevant results. This is especially true
if your keyword is for a well-known company or organization such
as: Green Peace, Apple Computer, Princeton.
Google is by far the best of the simple search engines for getting
good relevant results beause one of its most important ranking
criteria is how many other “important” webpages link to a
page. If a page on AIDS is linked to by Center for Disease Control
website pages, National Institute of Health website pages and
the National Science Foundation website, then it will be ranked
higher than a page on AIDS which is linked to by only Joe Smith’s
Simple search engines may not be good for general search terms
like genetic engineering, scuba or Paris as there are probably
many many websites using those keywords many many times and the
search engine’s search logic and results ranking logic probably
will not be every effective for giving useful and relevant results
ranked towards the top of your results page.
Advanced Search Engines - When you will use more than one
keyword to search for a specific topic, using an “advanced” search
engine AND advanced search techniques
that allow you to define and control how the engine searches,
will give you very relevant and well ranked results.
Many search engines have an “advanced” search page but these are
often little more than limited choices for “phrase” or “all the
words” or “any of the words”. Many of these engines do not understand
Boolean logic and will not provide
good results if you use a Boolean expression.
The best search engine by far for using advanced search logic
is, and has always been, Alta
Vista. Not only does it offer almost all of the advanced
search technique controls but it also is one of the FEW search
engines that offers a large text box to enter a long boolean expression,
which makes it easy to check for syntax errors in your typing
before you execute the search. It
is also the ONLY search engine that allows you to have some control
over ranking logic - a box to specify the most significant word
or words to rank by.
Newsroups Search - Newsgroups
are one of the best resources on the internet but, because they
are text-based, many people have not heard of them. If you ever
had a question and thought to yourself "I bet someone somewhere
in the world knows the answer"..... newsgroups is a place
where you can find that someone.
are like electronic message boards where people who are interested
in a particular topic can post information relating to that topic
or questions or answers relating to the topic.
has a very good search engine for newsgroups.