I ran another Advanced Search Strategies workshop on April 26th. This time it was organised and hosted by Manchester Business School. As usual the participants were asked at the end of the day to come up with their own list of top tips and tools. There were no real surprises in the list, although two RSS/Blog tools were mentioned this time around highlighting the increased interest in these technologies. Wikipedia was popular despite some of the bad press it has been receiving, and the new Accoona News SuperTarget makes its first appearance in the list.
1. There are other search tools. Alternative search engines to Google such as Yahoo, Ask, and Exalead sort your results in different ways and have unique search features. Try evaluated subject listings such as BUBL, EEVL, Alacrawiki for quality information and overviews on industries and subjects.
2. Use the domain/site search options to search for types of sites or to search just one site. For example .gov.au for Australian government sites, .edu for US academic pages, statistics.gov.uk for UK official statistics. Ideal for those massive sites that have dire navigation menus and in-site search, or for tracking down lost documents within a site. Available in Google, Yahoo, Exalead and Ask.
3. Repeat the most important term or terms several times in your search strategy to change the order in which documents are ranked. For example ‘beer market share belgium czech’ and ‘beer market share belgium czech czech czech’ give different results. Works in Google, Yahoo and Exalead
4. Use synonyms in your search. Use the OR command to search for your own alternative terms, the ~ before a term in Google to use Google’s synonym search, or see what terms and strategies search engines such as Exalead and Ask suggest.
5. Ask or answer your question in your search strategy. For example “How fast can a hippopotamus run” or “A hippopotamus can run at”
6. If you are new to RSS, try Bloglines.com for monitoring RSS feeds for current awareness and alerts.
7. Try Blogpulse.com for searching blogs, especially the Trend Search. The free web version allows you to monitor and compare graphically the frequency of up to three search terms or phrases over a period of up to 6 months.
8. BBC news for current and archived news
9. Wikipedia for a general overview of a topic.
10. Accoona.com SuperTarget News enables you to further refine your search by date, publisher, relevant company, person, country and state. It will also search free sources of news that provide archives older than 30 days.
11. Use meta search tools to search quickly across several different tools at once:
Trovando.it – to run your search across dozens of tools one by one, and by type of information for example blogs, images, audio/video
Killerinfo.com – generates a single deduplicated list and organises similar results into folders or topics
Dogpile.com – searches Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN. You can view a single deduplicated list or view two or more of the results lists side by side with the unique results in each highlighted.
Jux2.com – generates a single list of results but also gives you the option to display what Google missed, what was unique to Google etc.
If you failed to get a place on the course this time around, the workshop is being re-run at Manchester Business School on September 14th, 2006. Further details are on the Manchester Business School web site at http://www.mbs.ac.uk/programmes/courses-seminars/management-research.htm