Saturday, February 24, 2007

Signing off

My Internet studies course NET11 at Curtin has now ended, so this is my last post. I have so enjoying being able to record my journey through NET11. It has really been an adventure for me and I leave it feeling much more confident about the internet and my ability to learn new skills. All the people I got to 'meet' through the course have been so helpful and shared their knowledge. Our tutor Cynth deserves all the praise and warmth we have heaped upon her. She has been encouraging and helpful every step of the way.

It is now past the time I should have submitted this learning log blog, but I will actually miss having it to step into. Who knows, I may even start another one some time just for myself. It's a whole new world out there!


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Module 4 - Organising search info.

Well, the first thing I have had to do for this task was some basic file management as my NET11 area had got huge and unwieldy - I've been caught like this before and should do it at the start of something I know is going to be huge, not half way through. Still, it's looking better now.

I have saved each webpage in a multi-tiered folder under:
BTeach - Net11 - Module 4 - Mod. 4 tasks Organising search info
and named it specifically e.g. Resource 1 is 'sydney uni library internet tutes'.
I saved these pages as a hyperlinks on this blog post, and on my computer as outlined above, using 'save as' a whole web page.

The plan is to record here the information from three sources from previous search task.

Resource 1
University of Sydney Library - Searching the Internet. This page contains a brief summary of, and a hyperlinked heading to more information on, the following subjects: Search Engines, Subject Directories, Library Subject Guides, Meta Search Engines, Email Discussion and Newsgroups, Finding People. No individual author name is given.

Resource 2
University of Auckland Library - Information Skills, Searching the Internet. This page contains hyperlinks to topics including Search engines, Meta search engines, Subject directories, Search tips and techniques, Narrowing your search and Specific search engines.

Resource 3
University of Toronto Libraries - Library and Internet Skills. The page contains hyperlinks to topics such as Advanced search strategies, Searching by author, Choosing keywords, Boolean searching, Truncation, Fields and many others.

Module 4 - Boolean Search Task

Knew vaguely Boolean was something to do with libraries... Interesting to apply it to internet searching.

First task - for the biggest number of hits for advanced internet users I used Google (basic) and added OR logic between each word i.e. at least (or only) one of my three terms had to be present in the results. This gave an outstanding 2,690,000,000 hits! Putting AND between the words, and putting nothing (space only) between the words yielded far fewer hits, 276,000,000 and 91,700,000 respectively.

Second task - skills-based information on
advanced internet users. This was interesting. Decided to stick with Google (basic, i.e. not 'scholar' or 'advanced search' etc.) This is what I tried:
  • (advanced internet users) AND skills (20,500,000 hits).
  • (advanced AND internet AND users) AND skills (20,300,000 hits).
  • (advanced + internet + users) + skills (6,920,000 hits).
  • advanced + internet + users + skills -statistics (1,880,000 hits).
Just getting a little conceptual here, but the task asks for "how you would best search for...". Do we assume the less hits is the best, or the most hits, or something in between? Might assume that fewer results would have weeded out some rubbish, but sometimes, more hits may be better?

Third task - advanced internet users only from university sources. I tried, again using basic Google:
  • advanced + internet + users + universities (1,170,000 hits)
  • advanced + internet + users + universities + edu (905,000 hits)
  • advanced + internet + users + universities + edu + databases (857,000 hits).
Someone on the Discussion Board (post 1622, January 11, 2007) recommended using "" which did narrow it down slightly. Got 776,000 hits. Would be massively improved if I used Copernic Agent or any other smart search engine.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Modifying post below...

Well, after all the below, I stumbled across the first search I did in Copernic Agent and I think it was the best. It gave 31 results and they had the three words together (exact phrase). The results looked very useful and had a short description of the site or tutorial or whatever it was - very handy. It also told me which search engine the results had come from. I originally had it configured to use 12 engines, before I got all confused as you can see below.

Have a bit more to learn about using Copernicus, but it's been a good start. Wish I had known about all these wonderful things last year while looking for online articles for my teaching degree assignments.

Module 4 - Search the Web (cont.)

After copying and pasting in the first hit from Google for the 'advanced internet users' task (see below), my blog would not let me add anything further to the post. I don't know why not, but am continuing in this new post.

I got a whopping 90,700,000 hits for those three words in Google.

Am a little confused about the rest of this task. I used Copernicus to do further searching of the phrase, but was hoping to use Clusty, SurfWax among others, but they did not seem to be options. There were also several engines that are there by default and I could not turn them off. I have screen prints of the whole thing above. I then did different searches (still with the 4 default engines) and added these search engines separately, each time: (gave 10 results), Open Directory Project (gave 4 results) and Alta Vista (gave 11 results).

Obviously Google gives every Tom, Dick and Harry a go - indiscriminant to say the least, whereas the higher order search engines are extremely choosey and gave higher quality results. Also, all the engines didn't have the three words together - any individual word could show up anywhere in the result - the consequence of not doing speech marks? Better get on with the Boolean part of the tasks!

As an aside, Laura Cohen's notes/tutorials are excellent. Very interesting and well-written. It's a whole new universe out there. Will definitely use some of these other search engines. Google no longer has a stranglehold on me and my internet habits!

Module 4 - Search the Web

Advanced Internet Users Tutorial - CIESE

Information about using your internet browser's Help Menu is available and linked ... Choose what web page will be shown when you start Internet Explorer. ... - 16k -Cached - Similar pages

Module 4 - Web Tools

Have enjoyed reading through Module 4. It feels like the nitty gritty of this course to me. Thought highly of the Internet Tutorials site - well written and covers just about everything. Think I will go back to this in the future and have bookmarked it.

But now the deadline for this course is fast approaching and I'm rushing to finish this module and my essay. I have downloaded (onto my Desktop, where I will see them and remember they exist!) the following: Copernic Agent Basic, RealPlayer 1 (have Apple QuickTime Player already, also Adobe Reader), BookMark Buddy and WebCopier for Windows. They all look pretty darn useful. Looking forward to getting more into BookMark Buddy as I've bookmarked so many things courtesy of this course and have tried to be sensible about where they are, but I know it could be improved. WebCopier looks useful for the same reason. I'm always online and have never actually saved things so I can access them offline, so will have a go with this.

The Glooton seach manager/combiner had such a poorly proofread page I didn't want to go near it - lost in translation, I'd guess.

All these things have 15 or 30-day free trial periods, from memory. It will be interesting to see if I actually purchase any of them.