Saturday, February 11, 2006

Get Wise to Google

Dear Visitors and Fellow Bloggers, seems to be hiccupping quite a bit lately. All our posts since Feb. 5 have disappeared. I do not know what they are doing or if they are going to get better soon or not. Apologies for the strangeness!

Get Wise to Google

Librarians have mixed feelings about Google. It is a
great search engine. We have to admit it. We use it
ourselves, though we try to use other tools, too. What
bugs us is that we see too many library users who get
so Google-habituated that it’s the only tool they think
to use. That’s a problem!

If you are going to use Google, or any search engine or
database, use it wisely. Get wise to Google. Find out
what makes it work and how to make it work better
for you.

The best place to begin finding out about any search
engine is the help pages that search engines offer now.
Google is very generous that way. They have very
good help pages, if you will just take the few minutes
to read them, and check them from time to time, to
keep up to date. Here are URLs for the two most
helpful parts of the Google help pages:

This is a quick reference with explanations for a very large
number of special query forms. It has neat tables laying
out in quick outline how the system works. There are lots
of aspects of Google that most users never take advantage
of. What a shame. It’s like owning a Porsche and driving
it 20 miles per hour all the time. This baby has power
that you are missing out on – find out how to shift up,
and corner, and do all those cool sporty things you’ve been
missing out on!

This is another section of the Google help pages. These
explanations are more in-depth on a smaller number of
operators. Very helpful. For instance, you can create a
query that requires the words you are searching for to
be all in the title or all in the URL. You can pull up a
web page and display what other websites link to it.
Pretty cool capabilities.

EZ Buzz is a blog devoted to improving your chops at
Google searching. It’s pretty good. We noted only one
mistake, where the page still lists a 10 word limit. Now
Google allows 30 words in a search. It may be that the
entry was put in and just not updated. It is, after all,
just one entry on January 21, 2006. Still, it is full of
good ideas and pretty helpful .Here is EZ Buzz’s own

Web Search Basics
Searching in Google doesn't have to
be a case of just entering what you're
looking for in the search box and
hoping for the best. Google offers
you many ways—via special syntax and
search options—to refine your search
criteria and help Google better
understand what you're looking for.
We'll dig into Google's powerful,
all-but-undocumented special syntax
and search options, and show how to
use them to their fullest. We'll
cover the basics of Google searching,
wildcards, word limits, syntax for
special cases, mixing syntax elements,
advanced search techniques, and using
specialized vocabularies, including
slang and jargon.

Librarians hope you will expand your searching horizons
beyond Google. There are other great web browsers you
ought to know about. For instance, there are meta-search
engines that are able to do a creditable job searching
more than one search engine at once. They have to be
able to create a workable query for each search engine
from what you keyed in, and then bring back the results.
Ideally, they would sort out the duplicate results,
though I don’t think I’ve really seen one that does.
Chris Sherman, at Search Engine Watch wrote a wonderful
review of the current crop of MetaSearch Engines and
Meta Crawlers, so I won’t try to go there. See the review:

This is a great website to visit in order to broaden
your horizons on web surfing generally. There is also the
excellent Search Engine Showdown:

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