spacer Follow Our Search Engine Tutorial:
It's a Jungle
The First Search
The Road Narrows
Specificity Counts
Approaching the Bull's-Eye
A Few Notes and...
- A Few Notes and...
There are a variety of search engines to choose from, and, as we said before, it's useful to try several different search engines to find those that consistently yield the most relevant information.

A few notes about what's out there:

  • Operators and Boolean operators -- Most search engines feature menu items to offer you greater control over your search; special words or symbols can be added to your query for the same purpose and those words and symbols are called operators. AND, NOT, and OR are Boolean operators and have been around longer than any other searching technique. The AND operator is similar to specifying "match all the search terms," meaning that only documents with all the keywords specified will be returned: clinton AND education. The NOT operator specifies a word that must not appear -- python NOT Monty. The OR operator is like specifying "any of the search terms" -- eskimo OR igloo. Look at the advanced search options to see how operators work on the search engine you choose.

  • Content-sensitive/audience-specific search engines -- Some search engines sites contain particular content or sites designed for particular audiences, such as Yahooligans!, or KidsWeb. While no one can make the Internet completely safe for young people, both of these tools add and monitor age-appropriate links daily.

  • Many search engines also give you the option of searching for a particular type of Web resource -- image, audio, or video -- as well as the date that resource was created.

    Off You Go...
    You are now ready to do some smart searching. With the tips and strategies that we discussed in this tutorial, you should be able to find just about anything you want on the Web. To complete your tutorial, let's put these skills to use for your personal needs.

    We'll describe two different searches. First we'll review a HotBot search, then we'll use Yahoo! to do a search employing operators.

    HotBot Search

    1. Think of a curriculum component or topic that you teach. Can Internet resources enhance the topic for your students? Create a list of search terms to describe your topic.

    2. Go to the HotBot homepage.

    For the initial search, select all the words from the pull-down menu under look for. Enter your search term in the field below, then click Search or press the Enter key on your keyboard.

    3. Examine your results. Are they useful?

    4. Return to HotBot and refine your search. Remember there are a couple of ways we can do this:
  • Are there additional terms you could add to narrow your search?
  • Did your initial search give you ideas for different search terms?
  • Would using the exact phrase return more useful search results?
  • Update the entry field, then click Search or press the Enter key on your keyboard.

    5. Again, examine your results and the number of hits that were returned. Explore some of the Web pages; are the results useful for your students?

    6. If you need to do a more specific search, click on Advanced Search. Think of more specific terms or terms that your search results must not contain.

    7. After exploring your results, try conducting this same search and implementing these same skills utilizing one of the other search engines. How are the results similar? How are they different?

    Yahoo! Search

    1. As in any search, think of a curriculum component or topic that you teach and how Internet resources can enhance the topic for your students. Create a list of search terms to describe your topic.

    2. Go to the Yahoo! homepage. The easiest way to get stated using Yahoo! is to just dive into their directory structure. For example, if you're a social studies teacher, you might click on Social Science on the Yahoo! homepage and then click other links to locate Web Pages about history, literature, and institutes associated with Native American Studies.

    3. If you want to do a little less "drilling" to get to your results, you should do a more specific search. From the homepage, enter your first search term. Similar to the HotBot search, if your search term contains more than one word, surround that term with quotation marks to have it recognized as a phrase; for example you might type in "native american."

    4. You'll probably want to narrow your search. If you'd like to search for pages containing all of your search terms, use a plus sign (+) (for example "native american"+lakota). With other search engines you would achieve similar results by using the operator AND.

    5. If you'd like to exclude Web pages from your results that contain a certain word or phrase, use a minus sign (-) (for example indian-asia). With other search engines you would achieve similar results by using the NOT operator.

    *   *   *   *   *

    Congratulations! You're well on the road to becoming a Search Expert, an Internet Sleuth, a modern Sherlock Holmes! Using these search skills will not only save you precious time, but will greatly enhance your instruction. Happy searching and surfing!

  • Internet Primer
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