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Tips for Powerful Internet Searching
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Tips for Powerful Internet Searching

 Be clear about what you want

  • Before you start, ask yourself: "What exactly am I looking for?"
  • You will be more successful and save a lot of time if you clearly define your topic at the start.

Use Google & other search engines

Google is currently the most successful web search engine and you should learn how to use it effectively - using the standard Google Search, or Google Advanced Search, Google Scholar, etc. However...

"Not everything on the Web is fully searchable on Google. Overlap studies show that more than 80% of the pages in a major search engine's database exist only in that database."

- UC Berkeley (Retrieved 4 October 2012)

To get at more of the visible web, you might want to explore using other search engines:  Yahoo! Search, or Exalead, or  Bing

 Be aware of the visible web and the invisible web 

  • The invisible web includes thousands of specialized databases such as library catalogues, licensed article databases, and pages on websites that search engines do not pick up. 
  • Some invisible web pages are freely accessible, and others are restricted.
  • You cannot search the invisible web with Google, Yahoo! and similar search engines. However, they can help often by getting you to websites that have invisible content. 
  • For Centennial Libraries' invisible web, visit our library catalogue and e-resources (licensed databases). The library catalogue is freely accessibly to all users. The e-resources, however, are restricted to Centennial College users and require logon when off campus. (See Your Library Card for instructions on how to activate your Libraries account. Your Libraries user ID is your student or employee number. Your password is the last four digits of your activated card.)

  Subject directories

  Search boxes on websites 

  • Use search boxes AND other search & browse options when you are exploring a website.
  • Why not rely totally on these search boxes on individual websites? They are generally not 100% reliable - many miss a lot that is on the site.

  Search strategy - scan, save, select

  • Avoid using information from only the first one or two sites you visit.
  • Get a good range of information by first creating a folder, then scanning sites, saving to your folder the ones that look promising.
  • When finished, go to your folder, and select for in depth reading those sites that best meet your needs.

Websites on Internet searching

Books recommended on Internet Searching (books are available in Centennial Libraries)

  • Research ate my brain: the panic-proof guide to surviving homework (Ashtonbee - LB1048 .R48 2005)
  • Internet effectively: a beginner's guide to the World Wide Web (Progress - TK5105.875.I57 A33 2006)
  • What every student should know about researching online (CCC & HP STC - ZA4228 .M86 2007)
  • Internet research skills: How to do your literature search and find research information online (Ashtonbee - ZA 4228.O33 2007)