Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Search the Web like a Pro

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Search the Web like a Pro

Article excerpt

When searching for information on the Web, do you just fire up Google and type in a word or two? You're not alone.

Despite Google's effectiveness as an Internet search tool, you probably could be a lot more productive in finding the information you're after, using Google or any other search site. So says Paul Krupin, and he's right.

Krupin, who has worked for the past 24 years as a researcher for the U.S. Department of Energy, wants to help others be better Web searchers. He has written a series of new books entitled Magic Search Words , and he's in the process of launching a pay Web site that automates Web searching using his ideas .

The books deal with Web searching involving narrow topics, including jobs, scholarships and health, and he's currently writing another book about how to most productively search for information at work. He shared with me his best ideas.

One simple trick is to add search words to your search string, words that will more finely hone your results. Use words that are relevant to the information you're seeking and that will eliminate irrelevant pages.

If you're searching for tips to help you improve office productivity by eliminating unnecessary paperwork, for instance, don't just type, "office productivity." Doing this in Google gives you nearly two million Web pages. Instead you could type, "office productivity tips paperwork." This brings up about 8,000 pages.

You can further refine your results by enclosing multiword terms within quotation marks. With the above example, the search string would be, "office productivity" tips paperwork.

This narrows the results to 200 pages. Since Google does an excellent job of placing the most relevant sites up front, all you typically would need to do is peruse the first screen or first few screens of these results.

Another simple trick is to use the minus sign to further eliminate irrelevant pages. You can place it in front of words related to subject matter you're not interested in or in front of types of Web sites you're not interested in.

You can eliminate most commercial Web sites, for instance, from your search results by adding "-.com" without the quotation marks to your search string. Instead of pages from advertising-laden dot-corns, you'll turn up pages from .org's, edu's and gov's, which may provide more reliable information.

If you want to home in on sites strictly from, say, government agencies, you can add ". …

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