Here is the list of Top Search Tips that came out of the Advanced Internet Search Strategies workshop held in London on February 18th, 2009. Participants came from the private sector, professional bodies and associations, academia and local government.
- Site search for searching individual web sites that have appalling navigation and useless site search engines. Use the site or domain search to look for difficult to find information on a particular web site, or to limit your search to types of organisation for example gov.uk for UK government or ac.uk for UK academic pages. Use the advanced search screens of the search engines or the site: command for example site:statistics.gov.uk car ownership.
- Advanced search especially numeric range
Click on advanced search in Google and Yahoo for a screen giving you options for focussing your search by file format (e.g. xls for data and statistics, ppt for expert presentations, pdf for industry or government reports); site and domain search to limit your search to just one web site or a type of organisation (e.g. UK government, US academic); and in Google there is a numeric range search.
- Thumbshots Ranking http://ranking.thumbshots.com/ – for checking the overlap, or lack of it, of the major search engines for a search strategy.
- Blogs can be useful sources of information for scientific information and discussions, competitive intelligence and reputation management. To search blogs try http://www.google.com/blogsearch , http://www.ask.com/ (you first have to do a web search then select More on the results page, and then Blogs), ttp://www.technorati.com/ and http://www.blogpulse.com. Blogpulse has a trends option that shows how often your search terms have been mentioned in blog postings over time. This is used by researchers who monitor competitor or industry intelligence to see what are hot topics and when, and also to monitor what is being said about a product or company. 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.If you are monitoring what people are saying about you, you should also check out Twitter (http://twitter.com/). Set up a search alert at http://search.twitter.com/.
- News: Silobreaker, Google Archive.
Silobreaker.com pulls together information from newspapers, journals, blogs, video and audio. In addition it offers geographical hotspots, trends and a network visualisation tool.Google News Archive at http://news.google.com/archivesearch covers news older than 30 days and some sources go back 200 years. Results are sorted by relevance but you can select to view them by date or display a timeline. The Advanced Search includes options for searching by date, source, language and price. The source coverage is not the same as the current 30 day Google News search. Many of the articles are priced and it may be cheaper to buy them elsewhere on a pay as you go service, for example Factiva.com.
- Compare search engines To compare search engines side by side try Graball (http://www.graball.com/) or Triple Me (http://www.tripleme.com/), which searches Google, Yahoo and Live. Use services such as Zuula or Browsys Powersearch to remind you of the different types of information that are available and the relevant search tools. Type in your search once and click on the search tools one by one.
- Visualisation tools. For example Allplus.com, Quintura.com. These show links between documents and search terms, and suggest, alternative keywords and phrases. Useful for teaching information literacy to students.
- Use specialist search tools for subject areas and scientific disciplines. Some are listed at http://hwlibrary.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/science-search-engines/
- Design your own search engine Try Google Custom Search Engine at http://www.google.com/coop/cse/. Ideal for building collections of sites that you regularly search, to create a searchable subject list, or to offer your users a more focused search option.
- Link commands Use the link commands to find pages that link to a known page or web site. This helps you find pages of similar content and type. Live.com’s link commands have been de-activated but Yahoo’s still work. To find pages that link to a specific page on a site use link: followed by the full URL of the page, for example link:http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/stats.htm . To find pages that link to anywhere on a site use linkdomain: followed by the domain, for example linkdomain:rba.co.ukLive.com’s linkfromdomain command, which is still working, lists all the external links on a site, for examle linkfromdomain:rba.co.uk