SEARCH ENGINES
(Job Surf # 01 of series)

By James Lap

We all are familiar with World Wide Web or WWW for short. It has become popular in the past few years. It is not difficult thing to do a Web search. But to s earch successfully and fast needs some techniques. Otherwise you might waste a lot of time and end up getting what you do not need. First, let us look at sear ch engines, directories and hydrids.

1. Search Engines

Search engines allow you to enter words or phrases that are matched against a da tabase usually created automatically, by robots or spiders. Search engines craw l the web. Then you look to what they have found. Results depend on size of da tabase, frequency of updating, search capabilities and options of the search eng ine. Here is some popular search engines.

Alta Vista: http://altavista.digital.com/
Excite: http://www.excite.com/
HotBot: http://www.hotbot.dom/
Infoseek: http://www.inforseek.com/
Lycos: http://www.lycos.com/
WebCrawler: http://www.webcrawler.com/

2. Ditectories:

On the other hand, a directory depends on humans for its listings. They allow y ou to browse through lists of Web sites by subject or topic. They are selective databases compiled into organized indexes. Directory databases are smaller. S o, the results are often fewer. Following are some subject directories.

Yahoo: http://www.yahoo.com/
Galaxy: http://www.galaxy.com/
LookSmart: http://www.looksmart.com/

3. Hydrid search engines

Some search engines maintain an associated directory. Webmasters can submit the ir sites for review, but there is not guarantee that it will be included in a se arch engine's directory. Reviewers often keep an eye on sites submitted to anno uncement places, then choose to add those that look appealing.

4. How to do an effective search?

There are few steps you can prepare. You can use one, combine some or all of th em for an effective search.

a. Identify important concepts of your search. In other words, define what you are looking for.

b. Identify search keywords to describe those concepts.

c. Consider synonyms, related words, and variations of the terms such as plurals .

d. Use search logic to refine the search. Sometimes you need to reverse the ord er of words to make it more effective.

e. Apply Boolean search logic. Boolean operators are key to successful searches . With words AND, OR and NOT you can expand or narrow down a search dramaticall y.

To broaden: use OR and synonyms.
To narrow down: use AND and precise keywords.
To exclude: use NOT.

f. Use parentheses and double quotes to force search engine read in the order yo u want.

g. Use plus sign (+) to include more interest and minus sign (-) to exclude.

h. Finally, try more than one search engine to find the results you are looking for.

4. Some examples

"Viet Nam" +Saigon -conflict -war --> will find information on Viet Nam esp ecially about Saigon without finding information on the conflict.

"Abraham Lincoln" AND "civil war"

("Abraham Lincoln") AND NOT ("civil war")

"Los Angeles" OR "New York City"

(dogs OR cats) AND ("pet care")


Index
This page is maintained by VACETS.