CURRENT VERSION IS SEY 2003
The Internet is without any doubt the largest source
of information on just about any topic you can think of. The problem
is that you can easily waste many hours sifting through irrelevant sites.
This little tutorial is about cutting down your search time by searching
There are thousands of search engines and directories
on the Net, so the first thing you have to do is decide which one to
No, the answer is not always Google. You may end
up using a directory instead especially if you are researching
a fairly broad topic.
When And How To
Use A Directory
Directories like DMOZ (http://dmoz.org) are usually
human-created indexes of web sites neatly organized into topical categories.
Because they are created by hand, they are usually much smaller than
search engines. You might be thinking that search engine are therefore
far better at finding relevant info, but
Small can be good.
Lets say were looking for something
very general educational PC games.
There must be thousands of sites mentioning educational
PC games. Sifting through all that will take hours.
But when you use a directory, someone else has
already done the sifting. Thats what makes directories useful.
There is almost always some kind of editorial selection process where
sites are measured against a standard set by the directory. At one stage,
the Yahoo editors where rumored to reject as many as 9 out of 10 site
Because of this, directories will have only a few
sites per category, but they are very likely the best sites on the topic.
Lets see if we can find educational PC games.
I think Ill head to Yahoo.
When you use the Yahoo search feature, the results
you see are from Google.
Thats not what we want, so we instead go
to their category listings looking for something like Computers,
Software or maybe even Shopping.
Yes, there it is. Software
Under the main category, Computers &
Internet, theres a sub-category called Software.
Now its just a matter of drilling down. When you click Software
it shows its sub-categories. Under Software there is Education,
under that theres Teaching & Learning Aids and
under that theres Games.
In this case the Games sub-directory
is as far down as you can go. It shows only sites listed in that category
no further sub-categories.
Here are the two sites listed there:
LearningWare Inc. - Develops tools for teachers
or trainers to create gameshows or quizzes for fun learning.
Solete Software - Free downloads of educational software and
About Using Search
This is where it gets more complicated, but stay
with me. Ill make you a super searcher if you do
How much time do you spend searching during an
average day? I probably use search engines a bit more than most people.
I discovered that I spend about 2 hours a day finding information via
search engines correction
looking for information. Actually
finding it is another thing altogether.
I decided to read up on search techniques and with
some nifty new tricks chopped my search time (almost) in half. Unfortunately
being good at searching costs me more time than it saves. Friends now
phone me up André, hi! I need something on the diet
of the Malaysian hunting spider for Billys science project. Any
ideas? Uh, yeah Bob, buy my book.
Seriously though, heres what I learned about
searching the web
The first and most important thing in web searching
is to use the RIGHT search engine.
Contrary to popular belief, they dont all
index the entire web even though they have billions of documents
in their databases.
Ok, we know that when looking for something fairly
broad, directories are great. Now, heres
When To Use Which Search Engine:
For broad, general searches, try http://www.google.com
For quality academic resources, try http://www.lii.org or http://www.academicinfo.net
For shopping, try http://www.yahoo.com or http://www.overture.com
For natural language questions, try http://www.ask.com
For expert links, try http://www.about.com or http://vlib.org
For news, try http://news.google.com
For government info (U.S.), try http://www.firstgov.gov
For images, try http://images.google.com or http://images.altavista.com
For multimedia, try http://www.alltheweb.com/advanced
For kids sites, try http://www.yahooligans.com
For queries containing stop words, e.g. To be or not to be,
page is based on information contained in the Search Engine Yearbook 2003.
For more detailed search engine information & help, please refer to the
current version of the book.
up to date on changes in the search engine world with the EnginePaper
Newsletter. It goes out only when something important changes in
the search engine world. Subscribe now with a blank email to