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Effective Web Searching: Tips to Save You Time and Improve Your Web Searching Results

The Internet continues to grow and has become an important method of disseminating key information for scholars. Because of its size, it becomes all the more important to become skilled at using the search engine's capabilities well. The following Web sites can help you do just that, giving you ideas and short-cuts to getting at the information you need faster and more effectively searching for the information that you need. The Internet, however, is no replacement for solid secondary research. As Craig Silverstein, Google's Director of Technology, said in a story on CBS March 25, 2004: ""My guess is about 300 years until computers are as good as, say, your local reference library in doing search. But we can make slow and steady progress, and maybe one day we'll get there." If you need assistance in getting information, the staff of the Libraries are ready and able to help you get what you need - from the Internet, our resources, etc.

Table of Contents:

Finding Good Web Sites
Searching Google or another search engine may not be the most effective or efficient way to find good web sites. Each of these indexes provides listings of Web sites that have been carefully selected for their value.
  • INFOMINE: Scholarly Internet Resource Collections
    This multi-discipline, annotated directory provides links to "university level research and educational tools on the Internet." The site is searchabe and browsable by topic.
  • Intute: Social Sciences
    A "a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research, evaluated and selected by a network of subject specialists." Browsable by discipline or searchable by topic.
  • Internet Scout Project
    From the site: β€œThe Scout Report Archives is a searchable and browseable database to over nine years' worth of the Scout Report and subject-specific Scout Reports. It contains 16,969 critical annotations of carefully selected Internet sites and mailing lists.”
  • Invisible Web Directory
    A small database with quality links
  • Journalist's Toolbox
    This directory, developed for journalists, links to "more than 15,000 web sites helpful to the media and anyone else doing research. Use the pulldown menu or search engine to locate information from a variety of beats and news industry-related topics."
  • Librarians' Index to the Internet
    "Information you can trust" is the motto of this subject directory, created as an authoritative, yet large, index of worthwhile more than 10,000 sites chosen, reviewed, categorized and annotated by librarians.
Web Searching Tips - General
There are many good search engines available today. These sites provide good overviews to help you select a search engine and also provides good tips and information on each engine covered.
  • Consumer Web Watch
    From Consumer Reports, this site aggregates news as well as reporting on scams, investigations, legal issues and tips to protect yourself as consumers online.
  • Current Cites
    Maintained by OCLC's Roy Tennant, Current Cites carries the subtitle of "an annotated bibliography of selected articles, books and digital documents on information technology.
  • Internet Detective
    A joint project of the University of Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan University, this innovative tutorial, created for college students, teaches you how to effectively evaluate Web sites for their value as academic resources. Worth a good look.
    Subtitled 'Law and technology resources for legal professionals," this site provides information - with a clear slant towards law - for professional online searchers on trends in searching and content.
  • ResearchBuzz
    An excellent current awareness service for anyone interested in the latest information on web sites, search engines, software, and technology concerned with using the Internet for research. Updated at least weekly and archived by category, The site offers a free e-mail newsletter and RSS feed.
  • Research-quality Web Searching: Google and Beyond
    "his tutorial presents the substance of the web searching workshop offered by the Teaching Library at the University of California at Berkeley." The site includes some wonderful materials, tips and guides for confidently using the web for research.
  • Search Engine Showdown: The Users' Guide to Web Searching
    Subtitled "The User's Guide to Web Searching," this blog, maintained by author and librarian Greg R. Notess. This provides good information, tips and guides, as well as up-to-date news on the industry.
  • Search Engine Watch
    Evaluates and rates search engines and Web directories
  • Search Tools for Web Sites and Intranets
    "This site provides information, news and advice about web site searching technology, we do not accept advertising or sponsorships." This site provides good information on how a search tool within a Web site works and provides good information on choosing and using search tools. The site provides product listings, a glossary, etc., and is searchable.
  • Searching the Web (University of Oregon)
    A very useful website that presents excellent links and "tools for searching the internet for various types of information." The guide covers open access research publications, the deep web, multimedia, metasearch engines and other key web resources and tools.
  • Tool Kit for the Expert Web Searcher
    "Tired of endless lists of Web search tools that give you no guidance as to which ones to use? Or that were last updated when Gophers were alive? I'm inviting you to look over my shoulder and use what I use every day for Web searching in an academic library. I keep up with this stuff so you don't have to!" Prepared by a librarian - and expert searcher - this guide provides excellent links to sources which will help you improve your searching - regardless of your expertise.
  • World Wide Web Research Tools
    A browsable, annotated list of Web research tools including search engines, directories, reference books, online bookstores, databases, graphics, periodicals, government sites, news links, and more. The site also includes links to research tips and evaluating and citing Web pages.
  • Yahoo! Directory: Searching the Web: Search Engines and Directories
    This site is a directory listing, with some annotation, with the most popular engines first and then alphabetically, of all the search engines available today.
Tips for Searching Google
Google remains the most popular search engine today. These sites will provide you with good, quick tips to make your search more precise and focused.
  • Google Advanced Search Tips
    This Web site from offers good suggestions and advice for basic and advanced searching of the Google search system.
  • Google Book Search Help
    Google Books is becoming the key ebook site for the Internet. "The Library Project's aim is simple: make it easier for people to find relevant books – specifically, books they wouldn't find any other way such as those that are out of print – while carefully respecting authors' and publishers' copyrights. Our ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers." This page will give you ideas and tips on how to maximize your use of this growing archive.
  • Google Help Central
    This is the home page for help from Google. The site provides help from the basics to various advanced techniques. Updated continuously.
  • Google Scholar Help
    This is the 'official' help page for Google Scholar and contains good information, tips and ideas for using this key resource.
Keeping Up to Date on Web Searching
Some excellent sites exist that help you keep up to date on changes and enhancements with search engines, tips on searching, etc. Here are just a few:
  • FreePint
    This British Web site offers a free e-mail newsletter featuring valuable or topical Web sites, sent every two weeks. The web site includes a searchable archive of these newsletters back to 1997.
  • Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals
    This is the Web page for this periodical, which is targeted to professional online searchers. Each issues includes online news, searching tips and techniques, reviews of search aid software, editorials, and interviews with leaders and entrepreneurs of the industry. The site provides information on each issue, with full-text of several of the articles from issue issue online.

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