Monday, February 14, 2005

Research Tip - Know Your Search Engine

Considering the size and growth of the web, it is probably not surprising that even the largest search engines index less than one-third of the documents on the web. Furthermore, studies have shown that there is very little overlap in the documents retrieved by different search engines.

So what is a web researcher to do? First, make sure that you know how to use your favorite search engine very well. Click on the Help or Tips links to learn the best way to build your search. Set the Preferences so they work for you. And use the Advanced Search options when appropriate.

Second, unless you are absolutely certain that you have found everything you need, run your search in at least two or three search engines. The Infopeople Project has created two tools to help you choose and use other search engines. The Search Tools Chart shows the best features of the best search engines, meta-search engines, and subject directories, with links to Advanced Search and other specialized searches for each. The Best Search Tools Page has search boxes for the seven best search tools on one page, with links to the home page, Help, Advanced Search and specialized searches for each. Bookmark it to save time when you need a second or third search engine.

Third, stay flexible. If one search tool or strategy is not working, try something else.

Coming Soon: Finding Legal Information on the Deep/Invisible Web

Archive of Research Tips

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