Lesson 2

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Searching the Internet Framed | Unframed  

 

Advance Search Methods

 

When using search fields in web directories and search engines, you will need to enter keywords that are compatible with searching a database.

Adding "search syntax" or Boolean operators to your keywords will help you pinpoint the information you want quickly and greatly reduce the number of unwanted search returns you receive.

 

ans or not boolean terms

"Boolean logic" consists of three operators:

 

Most Internet search fields include:
OR  
AND  
NOT  
 "   "   quotes (exact phase between quotation marks)
Several Internet search fields include
* asterisk ( truncation) - For example, econom* finds: economy, economic, economics, economist, etc. (Alta Vista, Yahoo, lii.org, Infomine)

Training and Resource Center.  Wild Cards and Truncation Changes (2004) http://training.proquest.com/trc/training/boolean.htm

 

 

What kind of "advanced search" does your preferred search engine offer?

Some Search Engines use "Full Boolean" terms, others use "Implied Boolean" terms.

Search Engine Feature
(OR only), Ixquick, Dogpile Boolean Operators
AlltheWeb adv. search, AltaVista adv. search, Live Search, Ixquick Boolean with (  )  stings (bee OR wasps)

Most search engines  (e.g. Google by default adds +, you can add OR or -)

Implied Boolean  +  or -
Advanced search temaplates for:
AlltheWeb, AltaVista, Ask.com, Live Search, Ixquick, Google, Ixquick, Dogpile, Yahoo
Template Terminology
Google , Ixquick Proximity Operators 

(“cable NEAR modem” will instruct the search engine to look in documents for instances of the words “cable” and “modem” that are near each other.)

Cohen, Laura. "Boolean Searching on the Internet". Jan 2008, University at Albany Libraries.http://library.albany.edu/internet/boolean.html

 

 

Google: Try this in Google, you will need to use the "Advanced Search" link.  Google, by default uses the AND (+) operator.  You can add the (-) operator to subtract a word.  The advanced search tool does this for you.

Yahoo will accept Boolean terms.

 

1. I want an overview of the subject" bee stings".
  This search will return all the web pages with at least one of the words bee or sting.
  KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS
(Google "Advanced Search" )
  bee OR sting 162,000,000
  IN GOOGLE: bee OR sting  

 

bee or sting

Returns contain a lot of information about bees - life cycle, behavioral patterns, etc.

Problem: Returns contain a lot ofextraneous information about insect and jellyfish stings, Sting, the singer and "police stings".

Solution: Refine search to include only pages containing both words.

 

 

2. I would like information about only bee stings.
  This search will return all the web pages with all of the words "bee" and "sting".
  KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS
  bee AND sting 1,170,000 (fewer returns is better!)
  IN GOOGLE: bee sting  

bee and sting

 

Returns contain information about bees and stings.

Problem: returns stillcontain a lot of information about insect and jellyfish stings, Sting, the singer and "police stings".

 

bee sting    (no operator, using engine's default method)

("AND" is the default operator if nothing is entered.)

1,170,000

Note: When not specified Google and Yahoo automatically create an "AND" relationship as default)

 

 

3. I would like information only about bee stings with a focus on medication for treatment.
  This search will return all the web pages with all of the words "bee", "sting" and "medication".
  KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS
  bee AND sting AND medication 98,700 Fewer, more relevant turns.
  IN GOOGLE: bee sting medication  
  intersection of bee and sting and mediction

Problem: returns for 'bee' AND 'sting'lcontain a lot of information about insect and jellyfish stings, Sting, the singer and "police stings".

Solution: Adding a 3rd keyword greatly reduces the number of returns. Most pages contain information about bee sting medication.

 

 

4. I would like information only about bee stings, but not the singer Sting.
  This search is intended to get pages returned with all of the words "bee", "sting" but without the word "singer".
  KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS
  bee AND sting NOT singer 774,000
  IN GOOGLE: bee sting -singer  
  intersection of bee and sting not singer

 

Problem: Entering 'bee' and 'sting' returns a lot of extraneous pages about Sting, the singer.

Solution: Use NOT to remove unwanted subjects that may be included in keyword homonyms.

 

 

 

 
5.  I would like information about only bee stings, but not the singer Sting.
  This search is intended to get pages returned with all of the words "bee" and "sting" but without the words "singer" or "police".
  KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS
  bee AND sting NOT singer NOT police 702,000
  IN GOOGLE: bee sting -singer -police  
  intersection of bee and sting not singer not police

 

Problem: Entering 'bee' and 'sting' returns a lot of extraneous pages about Sting, the singer and police sting operations

Solution: Use multiple NOTs to remove unwanted subjects that may be included in keyword homonyms.

 

 

6. I would like information about only "bee stings".
  This search is intended to get pages returned with the phrase "bee stings" (both words occur together.)
  KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS
  "bee stings" 677,000
  IN GOOGLE: "bee stings"  
 

Returns:

Contains information about bee stings and Sting, the singer

 

 

Summary of Results

Refining your research terms greatly diminishes the number of returns!

KEYWORD ENTRIES NUMBER OF RETURNS   Google "Advanced Search"
bee OR sting 162,000,000
bee AND sting 1,170,000
"bee stings" 677,000
bee AND sting NOT singer 774,000
bee AND sting NOT singer NOT police 702,300
bee AND sting AND medication 98,700    fewest returns
"bee sting" NOT singer NOT police 481,000
"bee stings" NOT singer NOT police 442,000

*If you do not use a Boolean word, most search engines will add "AND" as the default operator. Check the search engine's "help" pages if you wish to know the default operator.

 

 

 

Resources:

  1. Cohen, Laura. "Boolean Searching on the Internet". Jan 2008, University at Albany Libraries.http://library.albany.edu/internet/boolean.html
  2. Google Search Help, http://www.google.com/help/refinesearch.html
  3. College of San Mateo, LIBR 105: Online Research Skills.
  4. Skyline College,  LSCI 100: Introduction to Information Resources.
     

 

 

Boolean Pactice   Continue

 

 

 

Centers for Teaching and Learning, San Mateo Community College District, CA USA    Updated  8/28/2008  by Sevastopoulos