|Chapter 6: Search Strategies for Search Engines|
1. Using the advanced search mode in AltaVista, http://altavista.com, and in All the Web, http://alltheweb.com, look for relevant resources on the following topics:
a.The life expectancy of a Brussels Griffon.
b. Mary Kingsley's travels in Africa.
c. Symptoms of bacterial meningitis.
Write down the titles of the first three Web pages retrieved by each search engine. Were any of these the same in the two search engines? Write down the search expression you used in each database.
2. Sometimes it is helpful to look for specific types of Web sites about a topic. Go to HotBot at http://hotbot.lycos.com and look for Web pages about the inventor Nikola Tesla. Can you tell how many results are found? Now go to HotBot's advanced search page and do the same search, limiting your results to domains that are .edu. How many results do you find now? Change your search to look for results with the .gov domain which were published since January 1, 1999. How many results do you find?
3. Go to Lycos at http://www.lycos.com. Find a recent annual report and a mission statement for Pfizer. Now try the same search in Google at http://www. google.com. What search expression did you use in Direct Hit? In Google? Which search engine gave you more relevant results?
4. Look for information on how genetically altered corn is affecting Monarch butterflies.
a. First, write down your search strategy. What keywords will you use? What other words might be used instead of "genetically altered?" What search expression will you start with?
b. Try your search at Vivisimo, http://vivisimo.com. How many results did you find? Go to the first three sites listed. How relevant are they to your search? Give the URLs of the sites you visited. Do you need to modify your search expression?
5. Try that same search for genetically altered corn and Monarch butterflies at All the Web, http://alltheweb.com.
a. How many results did you find here? Choose the most promising. Which did you choose? Go to the first three sites listed and give their URLs.
b. How did this compare with your results from Vivisimo in question 4? Which search engine did you prefer for this search? Why?
6. Using the advanced search mode in Alta Vista, http://altavista.com, look for information on how mad cow disease (also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
a. Write down your search expression and the total number of results. Do you need to modify your search expression?
b. Were your results relevant to your request? Write down three of the most relevant titles and their URLs.
7. Go to Google at http://www.google.com, to find comparison studies of the drugs venlafaxine XR and fluoxetine. What search expression did you use? Go to the first three Web sites listed. What are the brand names of these drugs? Give the titles and URLs of the three sites you visited. Which was most relevant?
8. Just as the Web is constantly changing, search engines do as well. Go to Google at http://www.google.com and do a search for comparisons and reviews of search engines. Scan through the search results and go to the most promising sites. Give the titles and URLs of the sites you visited. Which was the best? Why? You may want to put one of these sites in your list of favorites or bookmarks. (A good site for keeping up with the rapid pace of change at the search engines is The Search Engine Watch at http://www. searchenginewatch.com. You can even subscribe to a free email newsletter at the site to stay up to date!)