Wednesday, April 9, 2008

speed searching- tips and tricks for speeding up the search process

greg notess – search engine showdown
speed searching- tips and tricks for speeding up the search process
wednesday 9 april 2008

why speed searching?
isn’t the web fast enough? (not at the moment. wireless iz broken)
or are we not always fast enough (both!)

take time to:
find the best search query
choose the best data source
quickly find out the terminology, finding the best resource

keystroke economy:

  • 3, 2, 2, 1 search: first three characters of first word, then 2 of second word, 2 of third word, and 1 of the fourth word (Old School- as to save the computing process time)
  • find the unique term and use that for searching
  • web search relevancy optimized for unique words
spell checking:
  • long name, word phrase is unusual?
  • using google as spell check- for suggestions, auto-correction (our commercial databases don’t do a good job of correcting spelling, neither do our catalogs. the open web does a good job of this)
  • links to reference sources
  • suggest tools: slow your typing

greg goes to and starts typing. ask offers that neat page with some info, as well as suggested searches
type slower to increase your searching speed.

copy and paste:
  • can be as quick as a short query
  • can copy from many e-sources
  • using a bookmarklet can highlight a word and clicking on a bookmarklet and will search (cool!)
try the search here, if you need to check spelling
has content from dictio snaries, encyclopedia’s (print and wikipedia)
if you don’t know a word, click on it, and does a follow up search

picky picking
  • search terms matter!
    • common number of search words
    • query length
    • average query length
  • which gets best results?
    • does depend on search engine. average query length did the best
    • “education attainment or highest level of school” common phrase, learning the language used in that area.

trained his eye to the unique terms- source might have a misspelling, switch to another access point

database checking:
use multiple databases ‘cause it’s fun! you’re a librarian!
as well as lack of overlap between data sources

overlap in web search
not so comprehensive for
  • pages buried deep within sites
  • forum, social network pages

users have the impression that google has everything. though not always the case.

greg practices search switching: not necessary for quick look ups.
  • when and for what type of searches
  • not for the low value info need, when triangulation not needed
  • use when digging deeply
    • hard to find answer, person, etc

search switching: how?
federated search ought to be doing this- doesn’t always achieve this (think of databases that hold smaller databases)
federated search engines: ex: google will cut them off. if there is no $$, google will cut that IP off if the ads aren’t visible

search switching: internal
  • within one system, like google
  • some possibily intergrated
    • tabs, think videos, books, “more”, browser search box (like in firefox)
    • turboscout, intelways, zuula, flashearth (search location and switch btw the various providers of aerial photography)

search transfer bookmarklets

customize google:
can do some neat things: make the google book search images downloadable. an extension in firefox

(the book searching two step!!)
preview at amazon or google book, or authors website. look for an extract, a unique looking phrase to locate full text books online.

q: should we be linking to full text books online?
a: no clear answer… who are you linking to? do you actually have the book? why are you linking? should we be adding for books that are out of copyright too? will they always be staying there? what are the persistence and the maintenance needs? (no direct answer, but more questions)

q: is more not always better?
a: searching a broad database, not really the precision.

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