The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
WWW Search 101 Cheat Sheet
17 Ways to Cut to the Chase
>> How Search Engines Work
>> Web Discovery Model and Peer to Peer Search Model >> Gnutella
>> Life of a Google Query:
Examples of keywords, classification and description of content in meta tags: Auto.com, Cars.com, Ebay, C|Net
Real World Applications
>> How to Interpret your Search Results: Example from Google
>> Various Search Services : Examples from Google. Also: The Google Tour
Analyses of Search Queries, Patterns and Trends
>> The things you're searching for: Example from Lycos
>> Google Zeitgeist: Examples from Google
>> Yahoo! Buzz Index: The data is collected from Yahoo! search log files. The Yahoo! Buzz Index counts the total number of people searching for specific subjects.
1A. The Keyword
Search feature enables you to look for information by using words
or phrases that describe your search topic.
Google is one of the best keyword search engines on the net today. Read about Google technology to find out what makes Google different from other search engines. Read about the Google founders
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the history of Google.
1B. The Subject Directory part of the search engine is primarily
the web organized by topic into subject categories or directories. To search
you click on the appropriate category(ies). One of the oldest subject tree/directory
site is Yahoo. Click
here to read the history of Yahoo.
Chief Yahoos: David Filo and Jerry Yang
What's Yahoo!? The name Yahoo stands for:
Other directories include: Google Directories
Other directories include:
What are Portal Web sites?
Portal Web sites offer a broad array of resources and services, such as free Web space,
forums, news headlines, search engines, and on-line shopping malls.
The first Web portals were online services, such as America Online, news Web sites like Boston.com
that provided access to the Web, but by now most of the traditional search engines have
transformed themselves into Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience
and analysts expect them to "evolve" into central databases for individualsí data.
The nine major portal Web sites include:
In addition to partnering with each other, these sites work with content providers such as news organizations and travel agencies. On average, portal vendors work with an average of 15 companies today; by 2002, the sites expect partnerships with thousands of companies. According to analysts, the nine major portal Web sites now receive 15 percent of the traffic but 59 percent of online advertising dollars.
3. Use a Meta-search Engine to send your search request to multiple search engines and get a complete list of matching sites. Some of the best are:
search capability to your system or Web pages. Go local with:
You can find links to several other meta-search engines:
4. As the Web gets bigger and more confusing, there's a growing need for specialized search tools. Here are a few to help pinpoint the information you want:
Peer to Peer (p2p) Search Engines:
Peer-to-peer (p2p) search engines are based on a network in which each computer has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities.
The peer-to-peer network differs from client/server architectures, in which some computers are dedicated to serving the others. Peer-to-peer networks are generally simpler, but they usually do not offer the same performance under heavy loads.
Here are some popular p2p applications:
** Napster: Locate and download your favorite music in MP3 format. See Napster logo
** Gnutella: Software tool to bypass Internet service providers and allow computer users to search and communicate directly among themselves. See Gnutella logo.
** KaZaA: peer-to-peer (p2p) application for finding, downloading, playing and sharing files with millions of other users.
** iMesh: file sharing software with lots of features and services.
Other Specialized Search Engines
4B. Today there are special search engines for finding:
AnyWho Directory Service offers reverse telephone look-up, allows you to search by street address, and provides maps that show you where a person lives or where a business is located.
5. Need to find the email address, URL or Internet phone number of a particular person? Try Netscape's Net Search White and Yellow Pages.
Or, you could link to Finding
People on the Net
Find friends, colleagues, and old roommates for free at Switchboard or WhoWhere?
Finding people Gopher sites
Finding people Four 11 directory services
Finding people A More Comprehensive List
5B. Need to find the address and phone number of a company you are researching? Try the Yahoo Yellow Pages. If the company is listed, you can use the MapIt! button to see where in the city or town the company is located. Once you've done that, you can click on the DriveIt! link to get point-to-point driving directions.
Other good sources for information on businesses include:
6. Still haven't found what you're looking for? (watch this space for an announcement by Bono's lawyer ...) Then try a specialized directory that covers all the sites relating to your particular topic.
7. Use a Search Engine Index to create a database of sites. To search you enter a request in a search form and the engine returns a list of sites that match your request. For example, in AltaVista you could do a simple search on "mountain biking" (without quote marks), and AltaVista would find about 40,000 matching sites. That's obviously too many sites for you to look through one by one.
So, you need to refine your search term. Put quote marks around "mountain biking," and AltaVista interprets it as a single phrase rather than as two separate words. This cuts the number of hits down to about 10,000. Most search engines interpret quotes as "search only for sites will all words exactly as typed."
You can refine your search term further by using AltaVista's advanced search button and connecting search terms with "and," "or," "not" or "near." For example, if you type "mountain biking" AND "north carolina," you'll get about 500 hits. Add "north carolina" in the box marked "Results Ranking Criteria," and sites with "north carolina" in the first few words or with multiple occurrences of "north carolina" will be at the top of your results list.
You can also exclude irrelevant hits on most search engines by adding a minus sign followed by the key words you don't want to see. On one search engine, for example, "JAVA" yields 20,000 sites; "JAVA-coffee" reduces the list to 26 sites that deal only with the JAVA programming language.
A summary of search engine tips:
The biggest index? AltaVista.
8. Refine your search terms by:
9. Try to conduct your search at non-peak times on the Internet. For example, the search engines will work much more quickly at 7 a.m. than at 3 p.m. in most time zones.
10. Before beginning your search, check a stylebook to find out what information you will need to cite the web site in a bibliography or footnote. The latest edition of both the MLA and the APA stylebooks include sections on citing electronic references (see Concordia University's Citation Style Guides).
11. Read through the annotation that the search engine returns. You can eliminate many sites without ever taking the time to follow the link to the site.
12. Check out the following tips on searching:
Eric Stands in Front of Me, Speaking Words of Wisdom ...
13. Think about what you are looking for. Where would that information most likely be? Individual facts are not in search engines. Example: When looking for a UNC site, you should first search for UNC. Sometimes you need to be a little general when beginning a search.
14. Be familiar with the differences between the search engines. Yahoo's listings are different than Lycos's. Think about what you're looking for when deciding which engine to use.
15. Don't get overwhelmed by the number of sites you are given. Search engines usually return the best sites first. The information you are looking for is not likely to be in the 2,000th site returned. Also, be aware that a lot of information is repeated over and over on the Web. Ten thousand sites about something DOES NOT mean there is a wealth of unique information on the subject.
16. Explore. Before you use these search engines to do a project that "counts" (i.e. JOMC 50 work), try to learn about searching the web by looking around for sites about your interests and hobbies. By playing around, you will learn how to get serious work done.
17. Don't be intimidated by the Web. Just because it grows exponentially,
it isn't necessarily a scary thing. The Web is really just as simple as your
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Last Updated: September 11, 2002