Internet Search - Tips/Guides

Boolean Basics

The way in which you enter your search terms in the Query Boxes of search engines or online databases does indeed make a difference in the results of your search. In order to more accurately define relationships between your search terms, commercial online databases such as Dialog, Lexis-Nexis, Medline and others use a mathematically based method of combining terms known as Boolean logic. Using Boolean searching techniques result in more meaningful end results. Many Web search engines also permit use of either full or simplified Boolean logic.


Development of Web Searching Tools

For extensive details on the development of the Internet and the tools for navigating it, check on some of the links below.


Evaluating Results - Web Site Quality

All of your efforts to locate desired information on the Web may be wasted if the pages you retrieve contain biased, out-of-date, inaccurate, or totally false information. Below are listed a number of links for Web pages that will encourage and assist you in evaluating the quality of what you find on the Web.


History of the Internet

The following sites contain brief histories of computers and the Internet.


Researching Tips and Hints

Click here for the EBPL's overview of Web Research Tips & Hints


Search Engines

These sites explain the way search engines work. Search engines generally are designed for the casual searcher, not the experienced researcher. They use Boolean searching (see the explanation above) to some extent, but not the heavy-duty search techniques used in commercial databases such as Dialog or Lexis-Nexis or Medline. They also do not take advantage of the extensive classification system developed by librarians.


Subject Directories

All about subject directories, from descriptions to recommendations.


The Deep Web

Web search experts have disclosed that there is an increasingly large portion of the Web that the search engine crawlers do not reach for a variety of reasons. Search engines crawl only static Web pages, not dynamically generated pages written as a result of a query. So while you may access a multitude of databases available to the searching public on the gateway or entry page to a site such as NASA using a search engine, you will not be able to search within that database itself and access the contents using the engine. You must go to the site itself and do your search. You may also not access certain file formats and more. This portion of the Web that is not easily reached is called the Deep, or Invisible, Web, as opposed to the "surface" Web we are all familiar with and which search engines can access.
The following sites will give you more information on the Invisible Web and how to access its contents.


Tools for Keeping Abreast

Fortunately, you don't have to do all the work of keeping track of new developments on the Web and Web Searching technologies yourself. There are experts around to do it and who very generously share their expertise with you. Check out these sites and subscribe to the newsletters. They will make it a lot easier to keep current.


Tutorials

Learn to type and use computers by yourself using these online tutorials.


Which Tool to Choose and When

Help choosing the right search tool to meet your needs.