What Are Search Engines?
Internet search engines
are huge searchable databases used to locate openly accessible Web
sites on any topic.
There are generally two ways to search an engine, a category search
or a keyword search.
One of the best ways to search the Internet is to use the categories
developed by Yahoo. Using Yahoo's categories a searcher follows
logical links by clicking on narrower and narrower topics, without entering
anything in a search box or form. For example if you wanted to find information
about Saturn cars in Yahoo, you would look at the broadest category related
to your topic. Continue to select narrower categories until your subject
is reached. The categories you would probably select would be:
The main advantages of using a category search include:
- It will often result in a more controlled search with fewer results/hits
- Usually the results will be more relevant
- You won't waste time looking through sites found on the planet
In any engine, enter key words of your choosing into a small search
box. The search engine retrieves as many results/hits as it can find that
contain the keyword(s) you have entered. Often hundreds or thousands of
sites will be retrieved. The more words you add, the fewer results will
be retrieved. It is often useful to search in more than one engine as
each search engine is unique and will retrieve a somewhat different set
of results. Be sure to ask for help at the Reference Desk at any time.
For best results with key word searches use advanced
search techniques such as Boolean logic, phrase searching, and truncation.
These are available in all of the major search engines, although they
are represented somewhat differently in each. Use the online help and
instructions for advanced or power searching in the engine you are using
to maximize your search results.
Much more detailed information on search engines, including comparisons,
is available from these sites:
are search tools that allow you to search many Internet indexes
simultaneously. This can be useful, though they may be slow and
you sometimes lose the more sophisticated search features of the
better indexes. Worth investigating! Try Dogpile,
MetaCrawler, and WebCrawler.