This blog series will try to make your searching for information a lot easier. In the coming posts we will cover subjects such as:
- Improving your basic searching
- Using Google Advanced Search
- Differences in searching between visible and invisible (Deep) web.
- How to evaluate the information found on the web.
- Searching through the public library online databases.
- How to conduct business, and person searches.
- How to use Association databases.
So, to answer the question, Why not just Google it?
The answer is – that depends.
What kind of information are you searching for?
- Where is the local organic food market? or What are the Pro vs Con’s in the GMO controversy?
- What time does the concert start? or What are the historical origins of Hip-Hop music?
The first parts are some of the simple questions that Google, Bing and others are very good at answering, the second parts are not so simple.
If you are looking for complex information on subjects such as, science, investments, retirement planning or health concerns, definitely not simple.
Topics whose answers need to be accurate, complete and as unbiased as possible means going beyond simple searches.
You need to determine what level of trust and reliability really is required for your research. How much information do you really need?
Are you going to write an advocacy piece for your favorite charity? It should be the best, most accurate and reliable piece possible.
Google is not the be all and end all in searching the web. It is very good place to start, but a terrible place to end your search. The number of visible web pages that can be indexed by the popular search engines are a very small part of the web. Some estimates say that the visible (indexable) portion is less than 0.1% of the total web. You don’t need to settle for only 0.1% of the information.
Let’s start the ball rolling with a few hints and tips to help your basic searches.
- Start your query by entering simple words. You can always add more descriptors to the entry box.
- Try to use words that you think would be used on the site you are looking for.
- Don’t panic, Google can handle small spelling errors and grammatical screw-ups.
- Entering: hiking Minnesota in the box finds pages containing both of the words hiking and Minnesota
- Entering: hunting pheasants OR ducks in the box finds pages that contain hunting pheasants or hunting ducks.
- Entering: “that is a lie”, using the double quotes, finds pages that contain the exact phrase that is a lie.
- Entering: pirates –Pittsburgh will find pages that contain the word pirates but not contain the word Pittsburgh. (no baseball team here)
Tip: Watch out for the Content Farms.
Many sites employ writers to create content that is calibrated to rank high to the search engine crawler. These writers may truly be experts, but the content is biased and written for rankings, not for completeness of the information. It is seldom peer reviewed material.
Just because a search engine found the site doesn’t make the content true or complete or accurate. There are multi-millions of pages on the web. Most of them should never be quoted and none should be taken at face value. Always confirm the information with additional sources. Never assume…Search!
The next blog post is Google Advanced Search.
Join us, leave a comment, start the conversation.