UKeiG held yet another ‘Google and Beyond’ workshop on November 6th 2007, this time in London. As usual, the participants were asked to come up with a list of their Top Search Tips. Here it is!
- Graball http://www.graball.com/
Search two different search engines side by side and compare results.
- Use ‘site search’ to search within a specific, individual site or to a particular type of site e.g. UK government sites. Especially useful for sites that have poor navigation or awful internal search engines. Use the site: command, for example site:gov.uk or use the Advanced Search screens of the search engines.
- Use file format search to limit your search to one or more file formats, for example PDF, PPT, XLS. A good way of focusing your search: many government and industry/market reports are published as PDFs, statistics in spreadsheet format, and PowerPoints are a good way of tracking down experts on a subject. Use the Advanced Search screens or the filetype: command, for example filetype:ppt
- Intelways http://www.intelways.com/. Type in your search once and then run it through individual search engines one by one. The search engines are grouped together by type, for example Image, News, Reference. A useful reminder of what else is out there other than Google and that perhaps you should be thinking of searching different types of information.
- Numeric Range Search. Available only in Google and searches for numbers within a specified range. The syntax is 1st number..2nd number. For example:TV advertising forecasts 2008..2015
toblerone 1..5 kg
- Alacrawiki Spotlights http://www.alacrawiki.com/. Extremely useful in providing reviews and commentary on industry specific web sites that have statistics, market research and news. Invaluable if you need to get up to speed on key resources in a sector or industry.
- Panoramio. http://www.panoramio.com/. Now owned by Google. A geolocation-oriented photo sharing service with uploaded photos presented as a mashup with Google Earth.
- Wayback Machine – http://www.archive.org/. For tracking down copies of pages or documents that have disappeared from the original web site. Type in the address of the web site or the full URL of the document, if you know it. Note: this is not guaranteed but worth a try for older documents that are unlikely to be in the search engine caches.
- Google Book Search . Useful for searching within books that Google has been allowed to scan, and in particular older text books.
- Use anything but Google! For example – in alphabetical order – Ask.com, Exalead.com, Live.com, Yahoo.com. For a day, try out other search tools to see if you can survive without Google. You may go back to Google as your first port of call but at least you will have discovered the strengths and key features of the alternatives.
- For current news try Google News and its alert service (it’s free!). And don’t forget blogs, for example Google Blogsearch, Ask- Blogs, Blogpulse, Technorati.
- Blogpulse trends. Click on the graph icon on the results page to see how often your search terms have been mentioned in blog postings over time. Used by many of us who monitor competitor or industry intelligence to see what are hot topics and when. Many of the ‘peaks’ will tie in with press announcements: it is those that don’t that are really interesting. Click on the peaks in the graph to see the postings.
Another workshop – another top resources listing. This time it was Business Information Key Web Resources organised by TFPL and held on 31st October 2007. The list, which is compiled by participants at the end of the workshop, is usually limited to 10 but this time they came up with 16! As well as specific sources, they also came up with search techniques that they felt would help them target information more effectively.
- Site Search. Use the Advanced Search screens of search engines to limit your search to an individual site or use the site: command. Useful for tracking down information on large sites with poor navigation or internal search.
- File format search. As in number 1 above, use the Advanced Search to limit your search to a particular file format. For example PDF for market, industry, government reports; PPT or PDF for conference presentations; XLS for data and statistics.
- Think local. If you are researching a market or companies based in a particular country or region, look at the news sources, company registers, databases, and versions of search engines for that country. To change your country version of Google, click on the Language Tools options on the Google home page and go to the list of flags towards the bottom of the page.
- Kompass. http://www.kompass.com/. Well known company, product and service directory with world-wide coverage and detailed product codes. You can search free of charge but have to pay to view most of the information. You can opt for a subscription or the pay as you go option.
- EXPO 21XX – Industry, Automation, Aviation, Yachting, Fashion and Textile Online Fair. http://www.expo21xx.com/ A directory that mimics a trade exhibition in its design. Each “fair” is subdivided into halls, and each company in the hall has a “stand” with a brief description and a flag showing the country in which it is based.
- Blogpulse. http://www.blogpulse.com/ Useful blog search tool with a graph option (Trends) that shows how often your search terms are mentioned in blogs.
- Abyznewslinks http://www.abyznewslinks.com/ Lists newspapers and other news sources by country and by region within each country. There is a language code next to each newspaper and separate links to alternative language versions if they are available.
- Del.icio.us http://del.icio.us/ and other social bookmarking services. Good way to collaborate and share your favourite resources with others, both inside and outside your organisation.
- Official Statistics on the Web http://www.library.auckland.ac.nz/subjects/stats/offstats/
Starting point for statistical sources by country, topic or subject. This service includes sources offering free and easily accessible social, economic and general data from official or similar “quotable” sources, especially those that provide both current data and time series.
- BvD Taste of Mint Free Directory http://www.bvdep.com/ Free directory giving basic information on companies covered by the Bureau van Dijk collection of priced services. Search by name, country or activity, and size. Information provided free of charge includes company name, town, country, activity and size.
- Eco5 http://www.eco5.com/. Click on the Research tab. This service is aimed at researchers in the areas of finance and economics world-wide. Resources include links to national institutions such as central banks, stock exchanges and government bodies, and to to national and international institutions.
- Try a different search tool. Try something other than Google: another search engine e.g. Live, Yahoo, Ask, Exalead; an evaluated listing e.g. Alacrawiki, Intute; a listing of sites by type of information e.g. news (see number 7), statistics (see number 9).
- Repeat your search terms one or more times to change the way results are sorted.
- Allwhois. http://allwhois.com/. Domain name registry that can help you track down who owns or is behind a web site.
- Wayback Machine. http://www.archive.org/. Use the wayback machine to track down ‘lost’ pages, documents or sites. Also useful for seeing how companies have marketed themselves on the web in the past.
- Nationmaster. http://www.nationmaster.com/. Repackages information from many different sources and enables you to compare data in a variety of ways, for example countries, a region, or an economic group such as OPEC and then a category and statistic for that category. Click on Advanced View to see all of the search options. The information is not always the most up to date, but the source is always given so you can then search the original site for the most recent data.