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8-fold Logo     The Eight-fold Path to Right Searching: Tips, Tasks, & Tools

    course content by P. F. Anderson, pfa@umich.edu,
    presented by P. F. Anderson and Karen Reiman-Sendi.

The Basics of Advanced Internet Searching

Tips: Basics | "1" | (2) | 3=OR | 4=site | 5=filetype | +6 | -7 | ~8 |
More Tips (Refinements): Compare | Truncate | Terms | Quality | Features | Features 2 | Expert | Redux

First and foremost, before all else -- Consider the Question. Here is an example of a worksheet for developing a strong search process for a health question. Consider how this process might be adapted for other types of questions or search tasks.

The main concepts from the FRIAR to apply to any search are these:
  1. From the question, choose the most important ideas for your search.
  2. Order the ideas by how important they are. In the search field, put the most important idea first.
  3. For the most important ideas, think of more than one way to describe the idea. If your search doesn't go the way you hope, try another way.
  4. If you get too many results, add another term for the idea to describe your question more precisely.
  5. If you get too few results, add more terms for your most important idea, or describe your question more broadly.

Second, a few very simple actions will usually allow you to personalize your search experience, making it a better fit for the way you like to search.

  1. Check the search engine for the ability to set personal preferences. Remember, these are usually cookies or require you to sign in, which means you also need to be aware of privacy issues related to using these features.
  2. Check for advanced searching pages; learn from the search string generated and use these for expert-style speed-searching.

Certainly not the least concept to take home is the idea of parallels or commonalities between Internet Searching and Library Resources. Many of the resources demonstrated have fee-based equivalents, that have been paid for by the University Libraries. Think of the resources demonstrated both as useful in their own right, but also as illustrations of a resource type or discovery tool that might be useful in other contexts. Our discussion today begins with the Internet. Other contexts might include, for example, print or peer-reviewed research. Some of the same types of tools are available in print tools, databases, and the Internet; some of the same ideas for searching strategies will also work in a variety of environments.

Next, slick tricks to add power to your search (a.k.a. "The Eight-Fold Path to Web Searching Power").

Tips: Basics | "1" | (2) | 3=OR | 4=site | 5=filetype | +6 | -7 | ~8 |
More Tips (Refinements): Compare | Truncate | Terms | Quality | Features | Features 2 | Expert | Redux

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"Yet once more let me ask you to consider the question from another point of view, and see whether you agree with me: There is a thing which you term heat, and another thing which you term cold?" "Certainly." "But are they the same as fire and snow?" "Most assuredly not." "Heat is not the same as fire, nor is cold the same as snow?" "No." -- Plato (427?-347 B.C.) The Phaedo. URL: http://www.bartleby.com/2/1/36.html
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