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Search engines are specialized tools or programs used to remotely access information or data on the internet. Users employ a variety of techniques such as urls, document titles, or full text to search for what they need. Results obtained from one search engine may differ from the ones acquired from the other due to the behavioral differences of search engines (Maxymuk 97). Therefore, it is imperative to use more than one, especially when conducting extensive online research. This essay focuses on the methods of searching the World Wide Web using Google as the search engine.
Searching the Internet
The internet is rich in information, but getting high quality material calls for varied retrieval techniques, and not simply by navigating the hyper-textual space. Google uses a “spider” to “crawl” the internet looking for new, existing, and updated pages through a process called indexing (Jansen and Amanda 249). Although Google maintains the largest catalogue of pages on the World Wide Web, not all media or pages may automatically be found while searching (Maxymuk 97). Google search engine has a variety of features that users can explore while searching the net as indicated below.
It is important to note that since all words in the search engine are stored in lower case, capitalization of the search text does not influence the results.
Further, Google search engine does not index some words (stop words), especially those used in the day-to-day speaking of the English language. For instance, it is impossible to search pages that contain the word “or.” Other examples include “a, be, by, for, in, is, that, this and many more. However, such words are used only under special circumstances using a specific procedure. For example, Google can be forced to search for the existence of the word such as “in” in the feedback “in that” (Barfourosh 25). The following process also works best when searching using stop words:
First, use a plus (+) sign in front of the stop word that could have been excluded in the search process, for instance, (got it +from)
Second, include the stop word in the phrase using quotation marks, for instance “got it from”
The Boolean logic uses specialized operators, which are also among the stop words, to search the web. The words may be describing a topic in a given document being searched by the user. The search engine requests for several keywords and allows the user to omit or include some in the search process (Searching with Google). The following operations describe the Boolean search processes.
The Logical “AND”
When the user types several words in the search box, the search engine assumes that they are supposed to be joined together using the AND operator by default. The user is required to specify the operator using capital letters (Searching with Google). For example, horses AND donkeys
The Logical “OR”
The user is able to expand the search process by typing a variety of words and synonyms in the search box. The OR condition should be in upper case and placed between words (Searching with Google). For instance, horses OR donkeys
The Negating Operator
When searching for web pages using Google, the user can omit certain words by placing a minus sign in front of the word (Searching with Google). For example, when web pages about horses but not donkeys are needed, the procedure is as follows:
Google can search for a series of words occurring in a given order. The words are bound using quotation marks as follows:
“been there, done that”
“four letter words starting with e”
A search on Google can be restricted to a given section of the html as depicted below:
Searchers restricted to titles of documents only, compare: strategic management vs. t:strategic management (Searching with Google).
Those restricted to urls only: compare: strategic management vs. u: strategic management
Google Advanced Search
Google also offers advanced search functionalities. The feature is located on the bottom-right corner of the page. The site uses all the Boolean logic operators and the user can narrow down to specific language, region, date, domain, file format, usage rights, and the appearance of search terms on the page (Searching with Google).
Although the World Wide Web is rich in information, searching for it can be tiresome. However, with the application of a variety of search techniques, getting the desired materials becomes an easier task.
“Searching with Google.” 24 Sep, 2003, www.ou.edu/webhelp/general/tutorials/google/
Barfourosh, A. Abdollahzadeh, et al. Information retrieval on the world wide web and active logic: A survey and problem definition. 2002.
Jansen, Bernard J., and Amanda Spink. "How are we searching the World Wide Web? A comparison of nine search engine transaction logs." Information processing & management 42.1 (2006): 248-263.
Maxymuk, John. "Searching beyond Google." The Bottom Line 21.3 (2008): 97-100.
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