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Helping You Search Effectively Deb Craft, Information Media Specialist STMA High School Surfing is not searching. “Computers download information— • They do not teach you to think. • Computer education imparts technical skills. • It does not impart knowledge. --John Rosemond Not all the information that exists in the world is on the Internet-Not all the information that is on the Internet is accurate. Let’s Get Started. . . • • • • • Web site addresses Searching techniques Searching tools Evaluating information Citing sources URL’s • Uniform Resource Locator • The web “address” that connects you with a website • Goes in the address bar at the top of the screen • Gives you information about the website Parts of a URL http://www.starwars.com/seminars.html • http://--hypertext transfer protocol: • the language computers use to “talk” to one another • www—world wide web: • the body of information connected by the cables and computers of the Internet • .starwars—domain name: • the structured, alphabetic-based, unique name for a computer on a network Parts of a URL continued http://www.starwars.com/seminars.html • .com—top level domain: • gives an idea of where the document is stored • /seminars—file name: • a folder within a website • .html—hypertext markup language: • the computer language used to format documents Top Level Domains • • • • • • • .edu—higher education .k-12—elementary and secondary schools .com—commercial .gov—government agency .mil—military .org—general noncommercial organization .net—computer network How Do You Find What You Need? • Libraries and department stores are planned. • No one is in charge of organizing the Internet. • Well-prepared searches will eliminate useless hits and wasted time. Before you search, you need to: • Prepare • Organize Prepare • What do you need to know about your topic? • Make a list of all the terms connected with your topic. • Include names, organizations, and phrases. Combine Use Boolean operators to combine your most important terms. • • • • • Use AND to connect the terms you want to see. Use NOT to exclude terms you don’t want. Use OR to include similar terms. Use quotation marks around names or phrases Use lower case for all proper nouns, except for acronyms For example… mars AND planet AND life NOT god But what if… you WERE looking for information about the Roman god of war? The Greeks referred to him as “Ares”, so now your search will look like this…. mars OR ares AND “god of war” Notice the quotation marks around the phrase “god of war” Searching tips … an example… • • • • • search on the word “dogs” Add the word “collies” Add the word “breeding” Add the word “Minnesota” Add the word “Albertville” Searching tips … an example… • If you search on the word “dogs” you get over 129 million hits. • Add the word “collies” – 1,960,000 hits • Add the word “breeding” – 419,000 hits • Add the word “Minnesota” – 81,100 hits • Add the word “Albertville” – 108 hits What Do You Use To Search? • Web Directories • Search engines: Google • Metasearch Engines: Dogpile, Metacrawler • Paid Subscription databases: World Book Online, SIRS InfoTrac, Web Directories • Good for browsing topics or general information • Yahoo • Internet Public Library Search Engines • Are like the index in the back of a book • Let you search for specific words and topics • Use robots known as spiders to search for information. Examples: • Google • Alta Vista • Hotbot Paid Subscription Databases-• • • • Evaluated Resource Access allowed after payment Information is accurate Examples: InfoTrac, World Book Online, SIRS Metasearchers-• Sends your search terms to several other search engines at once. • Gives an overview of a topic across the Internet. Examples: • Dogpile • Metacrawler • Vivisimo Remember…. Hits are returned and ranked according to-• How many times terms appear on the page • How often terms appear • How close terms are to each other • How near the top of the page the terms are found The best results will appear on the first page or two of hits No two search engines are alike. Try another search engine, or rephrase your terms if you don’t get good results. Once you’ve found the information, how do you know it’s good information? “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The above cartoon by Peter Steiner has been reproduced from page 61 of July 5, 1993 issue of The New Yorker, (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20)only for academic discussion, evaluation, research and complies with the copyright law of the United States as defined and stipulated under Title 17 U. S. Code. Evaluating Websites “Let the buyer beware” Book publishers weed out inaccurate information. No one checks the Internet for accuracy. Before you start using the information-- EVALUATE! EVALUATE! 1.Authority 2.Accuracy 3.Currency 4.Coverage 5.Purpose/Objectivity Who is the author? • Is he an authority on the subject? • Do they have an e-mail address? • Are they an authority on the subject? (info usually found at the top or bottom of the webpage or on the homepage) Is the information accurate? • Can it be verified in an encyclopedia? • Is it relevant to your topic? • Does the author indicate where he found the information? • Are there spelling or grammar errors on the site? More than three errors indicate a poor site. Is the information current? • When was the last time the website was updated? • Are the links broken? Is the information sufficiently covered? • Do the links go with the webpage’s theme? • How in depth is the material? Is the information objective ? • Is it trying to persuade you to another point of view? • Is it trying to persuade you to buy a product? Let’s evaluate a web site! Five types of websites •Advocacy •Marketing •News •Informational •Personal Don’t forget. . . • Google’s advanced search! Citing a website • • • • • • • • • • • Last name, first name of author. If there is no author listed, begin with the title. “Title of article within the website.” Put quote marks around the title Name of website. Underline the name Date article was written. Put the date first, then abbreviate the month. Date you accessed the article. URL. If the URL won’t fit on one line, break it at a slash. Include the entire URL, not just the one for the home page. More Help For Works Cited: • Citation Machine • Noodle Tools • Easy Bib Example: General Web Site Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of web page. Date web page was created or last updated DD Mo. YYYY. Date web page was accessed DD Mo. YYYY. <URL>. Example: Abilock, Debbie. Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need. 23 April 2007. 25 April 2007. <http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/inf ormation/5locate/adviceengine.html>. • Use the right search tool for finding information • Evaluate the website information • Cite your sources Questions?