1/16info260.hcommons.org/web-search-activity/Web Search ActivityIntroductionWeb searching can seem deceptively simple. Type just about anything into the search boxand the search engine will return resultsprobably thousands of them. This leads to bothfrustration and complacency: many users understand themselves to be proficientsearchers at the same time that they struggle with large quantities of irrelevant results.Search engines make available a great variety of toolsmany of them underutilizedthatcan improve search precision. Filtering out all irrelevant results is not, in most cases, anattainable or appropriate goal. A more productive goaland the focus of the strategiesdescribed in this activityis to increase the concentration of relevant results and promoterelevant results closer to the top of the result list.In this activity, we will explore web searching strategiesespecially strategies for craftingsearches to produce the greatest density of relevant results.Save your answers to each question on a word processing document. Number youranswers. Here is a template you can use: https://info260.hcommons.org/ws-answ/Save early and often.Search with Phrases2/16When you enclose search terms in quotation marks (), you are telling the search enginethat you want results that include only these exact terms in this exact order.You can narrow your web searches by enclosing phrases in quotation marks.For example, imagine you are searching for a person named Bob Apple.You enter the following search terms: Bob AppleWhat do you get? Primarily, you get sources on the game bobbing for apples, including theWikipedia entry on apple bobbing and the wikiHow page on how to bob for apples. Toforce Google to return results that include only the exact phrase Bob Apple, you mustenclose the terms in quotation marks: Bob AppleTry doing a web searchin any search engine (Google, Bing, StartPage, etc.) forsurveillance bunny, without quotation marks, and briefly observe the number and type ofresults you receive. Now run the search again, this time enclosing the phrase in quotationmarks: surveillance bunny The number of results drops dramatically, and all of theresults include the exact phrase surveillance bunny.Task #1Find a webpage that includes the exact phrase surveillance bunny and copy the link/URLinto your document.Add Terms to Narrow/Filter Your SearchThe Boolean operator AND is used by default in all major search engines. AND limitsresults. The more terms you add, the narrower your search. You are basically telling thesearch engine that you want ONLY results that include ALL of your terms.When you need to narrow a search and filter out irrelevant or less helpful results, trysimply adding more terms. For example, try searching forUC Davisand then forUC Davis pepper spray memeTask #2How many results when you run the two searches?UC Davis results3/16UC Davis pepper spray meme results(Both numbers will be huge, but that doesnt really matter. Our goal when we narrow oursearches is to get the search engine to return a greater density of relevant results.)Use OR To Search with Alternative TermsBe attentive to the various terms used to describe the thing youre researching, andincorporate those terms into your search strategy.For example, if you are searching for information about the brand-name drug Coumadin,youll probably want to include its generic termwarfarinas part of your search strategy:side effects Coumadin OR warfarinCouldnt you just run your search twice, once with the first term and once with the second?Yes. But note that as your searches become more complex, the OR operator could be asignificant time saver.For example, in the following search there are far more possible combinations than youwould care to search for one at a time:programs OR services elder OR elderly OR geriatric OR seniorsTask #3Imagine that you are getting too much spam (unwanted email). You want to block thiscontentor, put another way, to stop it from reaching your inbox. Craft a searchformulation using all three terms (spam block stop) and including the OR operator.Include this search formulation (not the results, just the words you typed into the Googlesearch box) in your document. (Hint: Put OR between the two terms that mean basicallythe same thing.)Important: the operator OR must appear in ALL CAPS in order to function as an operator.Filter Out Unwanted TermsOften a set of search results will be cluttered with unwanted pages that all have somethingin commonusually a term or phrase. Pages containing this common element can befiltered out with the minus sign operator.If your search produces many unwanted results, try to identify a term common to theseunwanted results, and add it to your search with a minus sign (-) in front of it.For example: fries recipe -potato potatoes4/16Task #4Using the method described above, find a recipe for fries that can be made with somethingother than potatoes. Copy a link to that recipe onto your document.Use Wildcard Searching To Fill In BlanksUse wildcard searches to help fill in blanks.For example, if you were struggling to remember some common expressions of sympathyfollowing a death, you might search forplease * condolencesThis would lead you to expressions such as Please accept my condolences or Please conveymy condolences to (Note: you can search with our without quotation marks, but thistype of search tends to be more powerful and precise when used with quotation marks.)Task #5Run one of the wildcard searches below, and copy any two sentences or phrases that youfind using this method.I would like to apply for * inonline * than * face-to-facerunners * than swimmersHad I not * I would havepeople who * the lottery areView Cached PagesSearch engines do not search in real time: they do not zip around the globe searching foranswers to every search query. Instead, they search an index that has been compiled overtime in order to determine which live web page to direct you to. The index includes theterms that appeared on the page in the past, when the page was crawled.Some sites are indexed more frequently than others. This is why our search results aresometimes disappointing: The information we seek was on the page days, weeks, or5/16months ago when the page was indexed, but the information is no longer appearing on thelive page. The search-engine index is out of date.Many search engines will tell you when they last indexed the page, and they will cache thepage.Do a Google search for internet archiveBeside the URL on the results page you will see a tiny downward-pointing green arrow:Click on it and select Cached:Another way to do this is with the query cache:urlExample:cache:archive.org(note: no space after the colon).Task #6When was the
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