Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research

Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research

Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research

Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research


This resource outlines research strategies and technologies for Internet users performing electronic searches. The text covers retrieving and analyzing information from the Internet and the Web. The project also includes guidance for making sense of the information gathered and the use of such resources as spreadsheets and database managers to configure and analyze data. Providing the best techniques to make search engines work for the user, this book's purpose is to make time online efficient and productive by showing the quickest, most effective ways to find and retrieve information. It will guide the user to online databases and other directories of information, with an emphasis on free sites rather than fee-based ones. The book is organized in a logical way to help the reader find information online, but it is not limited to search strategies-it's intended to maximize proficiency to minimize time online. Full of practical tips, the techniques described in this book are intended to restore a measure of control to computer users who share the belief that the Internet should be a marketplace of ideas for all people and not just a marketplace.


The complaint I hear most frequently from those trying to navigate the World Wide Web is that their searches yield endless, and too often useless, results. “Why do I get so many results with my search terms, and how can I ever find what I want?” they ask. This frustration seems to characterize many Internet users' early experiences. One user compared looking for information online to going to a library, where the books are scattered all over the floor—without call numbers, categories or librarian to offer guidance.

This chapter provides you with the strategies to quicken your search time and improve your results. Follow these directions and you will find the information you want with a minimum amount of searching and scrolling. In fact, once you get the hang of these techniques, you can forget about scrolling altogether; you're likely to find what you want on the very first screen of search results.

For most searches of the Web, you'll rely on search engines. A search engine is simply a means to ask for information on the Web, a system for organizing the data held on the Internet. A search engine can be metaphorically compared to several activities: a miner panning for gold, a clerk searching for a document in a file cabinet, or as one of my students remarked once, like a game of Where's Waldo. In any case, there's a lot more information out there than you will need or want. Trying to locate specific kinds of information online can be an exercise in futility.

The needle-in-a-haystack feeling that so many people experience when they search for online information occurs for a couple of reasons. First, the search engine, or the mechanism being used to find information, is combing through millions of pages and billions of words, hence the bounteous results. Second, users . . .

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