Advanced Web Search Tools & Tips for 2008
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
May 27, 2008-June 23, 2008
Do you use the web for reference or research of any kind? Do you know what's new and hot in web search engines? Do you know that all the search engines offer useful, largely secret advanced search commands? Do you know how and when to search for answers within blogs, wikis, video, and photo sites? Do you have a search strategy that encompasses all the formats and types of websites that exist today?
In this course you will learn these things and more:
- What's new in search engines and when to use the latest innovations
- How and when to use web search engines' best advanced search techniques, including obscure limiter commands and other tools search engines rarely tell about
- The value in research and reference of subject-specialized search engines, databases, and web pages, and how to find them
- How to create and find your own searchable custom search engines to full-text search within almost any set of websites on almost any subject
- When to go beyond directories like lii.org and Infomine to explore the "invisible web" of databases and websites that can be useful in research and reference
- The likely future of web searching and tools for keeping up with the changes
This course will make you a more efficient and effective searcher able to use the latest as well as the most useful advanced search techniques.
Workshop Description: This four-week online learning course will provide, through individual written exercises and the instructor's feedback, explanations and practice developing the skills listed above. The instructor will provide cheat sheets and a webliography, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately. You will have a chance to try to find answers to questions submitted by other students in the class.
During the course, you will be doing exercises and taking quizzes. You will also participate in online discussion forums as part of the online learning process.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Module One: What's New, Changing, and Useful in Search Engines
- The best search engines at this time for advanced and basic searching
- Obscure commands and limiters
- Module Two: Subject-specialized databases, search engines, and websites
- Searches and directories to find specialized search engines, websites, and useful searchable databases
- When to use and how to find the growing "invisible web"
- Module Three: The new participatory web and reference
- Creating your own search engines and finding Custom Search Engines
- Mining the "new web" for useful information – when to consider turning to wikis, blogs, video, or photo sites.
- The place at the reference desk for social networking and sharing sites like MySpace and LibraryThing and 43Things or 43Places
- Module Four: Being Prepared for Any Question
- Advanced search strategy
- Keeping up and the future of web searching
Online Learning Details:
This four-week course will be taught online using the web. When you register, you will receive a registration confirmation that will include the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password.
Every student proceeds through the online learning modules at his or her own pace. Students should expect to commit to spending a minimum of 2 to 2½ hours per week on this course in order to be successful. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to do that week's assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first week of the course to begin the course work.
Your instructor will be available for limited consultation support for two weeks after the official end date of a course, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that, to give those who have fallen behind time to work independently on the course. However, you will be expected to accomplish the majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first four weeks.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the library community who uses the Internet to find information, either for research or reference. This is not an introductory course. Students who enroll should be familiar with basic web searching, either through some ground or online web searching class or through considerable web searching experience.
This course is taught over the web. You must:
- Have an Internet connection.
- Be able to save Microsoft Word .doc or Adobe .pdf files to your computer and print them out. (For .doc files, a free Word Viewer is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en. Search for "Word Viewer." For .pdf files, a free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html).
- Be comfortable navigating on the web and navigating back and forward on a website that uses frames.
- To be most successful in this course you should be willing to share information with your colleagues and be willing to spend time reading and participating in the weekly discussion boards.
System Requirements: The online learning product that Infopeople uses is called Angel. The following are minimum system requirements for using Angel. You will need access to a computer that has at least these specifications to participate in an online course:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Netscape 7.1 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- Mozilla 1.4 and above (which is the same engine as Netscape 7.1), Safari 2.0 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- OS X and above (OS 9 will NOT work with our online learning product)
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and $150 for those out-of-state.
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday, May 27, 2008.