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Internet Research Tips
- Directories and search engines allow you to locate useful sites. Directories classify websites by subject. Search engines index words within the documents on Web pages and match them to specific search terms. Google, Yahoo and Bing are examples of search engines. No directory or search engine covers all of the Internet's documents. In fact, most cover only 50 percent or less.
- A metasearch engine submits keywords to several search engines and their databases simultaneously. Within a few seconds, users receive the combined results of every search engine queried. A popular example of a metasearch engine is Dogpile.
- Some search engines or directories are case sensitive, requiring users to enter upper- and lower-case characters.
- Place quotation marks around a search phrase to search for the exact wording as entered in the search box (example: "apple pie").
- Use Boolean operators ("AND," "OR," "NOT" or "NEAR") to broaden or narrow your search results.
- "AND" locates only documents containing all specified words or phrases. Entering "+" before each search term is essentially the same as typing "AND." Example: Entering "dogs AND cats" or "+ dogs + cats" locates only documents containing both dogs and cats.
- "OR" locates documents containing at least one of the specified words or phrases. Example: Entering "dogs OR cats" locates documents containing just dogs, just cats, and both dogs and cats.
- "NOT" excludes documents containing a specific word or phrase. "-" is equivalent to "NOT" (place the "-" directly in front of the search term you wish to exclude). Example: Entering "dogs NOT cats" or "dogs -cats" returns documents containing the term dogs but not cats.
- "NEAR" finds documents containing two or more specified words or phrases within 10 words of each other. Example: Entering "dogs NEAR cats" locates only documents containing the term dogs within 10 words of the term cats.
- Parentheses can be used to nest Boolean operators. Example: Entering "dogs AND (cats NOT kittens) NEAR food" locates only documents containing both dogs and cats within 10 words of the term food, but eliminates results that contain kittens.
- Use the "Help" function in each directory or search engine to determine the best way to formulate your search.