It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.
As mentioned several times already, searching the Internet is a process. There are no magic buttons on the Internet that instantly present you with the answers to your questions. You are a detective, investigating, finding clues, and altering your strategies as you learn more about the scene and what it can yield.
Like Boolean Logic, teaching about the process of searching the internet is difficult. Search processes tend to be very personal, depending on the types of information that people typically look for and their information management styles. For this reason, the S.E.A.R.C.H. process has been developed to provide a beginning model for searching the Internet.
Here is a brief description of the S.E.A.R.C.H. process. You can click on the letter or scroll down to read a more detailed explanation of each step in the process.
|S||Start with a small database search tool, such as Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com ).|
|E||Edit your search expression|
|A||Advance to a large index search engine such as HotBot (http://www.hotbot.com ), Excite (http://www.excite.com ), or AltaVista (http://www.altavista.digital.com ).|
|R||Refine your search phrase.|
|C||Cycle back and Advance again|
|H||Harvest your information gems.|
|Start with small database search tool||Start with a
single keyword on a small database search tool, such as Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com ). There are two
very important reasons to start with a search tool like Yahoo.
These are both important features because at this point, you are simply educating yourself about the types of resources that are available. You are interested in the relevant hits that you get, but just as interested in the irrelevant resources. You are gathering keywords, words to attract useful sites, and keywords to filter out resources that would NOT help you solve your problems, answer your question, or make your decision.
As an example, let's say that you are looking for information on earthquakes for a unit that you are preparing for your students. You would start with Yahoo by typing earthquake as the keyword.
Among the first 20 or so web pages that Yahoo finds, you find quite a few that would be useful. You find that many of these have the word seismology in them, so you decide to add this word to you list of keywords.
You also find several web pages about earthquake prediction. Although you, as a science teacher, find the information on these pages interesting, you know that it is too technical for most of your students. So you add prediction to your list of words.
Other pages have information about earthquake proof buildings. This is another type of page that would not be of use to your net unit. So you also take down the word, engineer.
|Edit your search phrase||Edit your
search phrase based on what you learn from your initial search of Yahoo or other small
database search tool. Be sure to visit the help or tips page of the search engine you plan
to use so that you are familiar with the boolean conventions that it accepts. Use the text
processor to rearrange your keywords and to insert operators. Here is one possible search
phrase that you might settle on:
(earthquake OR volcano) NOT (prediction OR engineer)
|Advance to a large database search tool||Advance to a
large index search engine and conduct a search with your edited search phrase. This sweep
will likely produce a large number of hits. Here you will find more pages that are
relevant to your goals and many more that are not relevant. Continue to add to your list
of keywords that are common among the good pages and also words that are common among the
web pages that do not help you.
One feature of the search process is the fact that you will find types of resources that you had not anticipated in the beginning. For instance, in our advanced searches for earthquake pages, we find a page with a QuickTime VR (virtual reality) image of the inside of a volcano. By manipulating the mouse, we find that we can see a 360° panorama of the landscape. As a result of this discovery, we might conduct a separate search whose search phrase would read:
|Refine your search phrase||Refine your search phrase based on the new keywords. Use the text processor to add, rearrange, and delete keywords and to insert operators and punctuation. Then copy your new search phrase and paste it into your search engine of choice.|
|Cycle back and Advance again||Cycle back to Advance again. You will continue to cycle around and re-search until you have accomplished your goal.|
|Harvest your information||Harvest your information gems. At the same time that you move the information that you seek into your computer for processing, also collect all of the information that you will need to appropriately give credit to the author.|
Global SchoolNet Foundation copyright © 1996-2004 All Rights Reserved Last Update: 02-Dec-2003