Savvy Web Surfing Tips

by Julie Griffin Levitt, author of Your Career: How to Make It Happen, 4th Edition

This section provides an overview of efficient web surfing techniques for producing fast, targeted results. It also lists excellent online resources for developing web search skills (including comprehensive online tutorials) as well as online resources for career success.

Efficient Web Search Involves Three Steps:

1. Identify your topic concepts:

Clarify in one or two summary sentences what you want to find, then identify the keywords from your summary. List all keywords and keyword phrases, including synonyms and spelling variations. Use these words to form your search query. A "search query or string" is the word or words (sometimes called "keywords") you key into the search engine's search field to direct your search.

2. Learn how to use Internet search tools: Become familiar with the use of each class:

3. Learn how to phrase search queries:

      • Use search engine and subject directory help files: Search parameters vary, and most search sites provide easy tips to maximize your results-use these help aids.

      • Try more than one engine/directory: Don't waste time thinking up complicated Boolean queries. Try three or four keyword variations-if you don't get the results you want, try another search engine.

      • Use natural phrases in queries: Keyword phrases typically produce better results than unrelated individual keywords. (See "phrase search" under Boolean commands below.)

      • Use simple Boolean commands: Major search sites are becoming increasingly user-friendly, so generally keep the Boolean commands basic.

      Summary of Boolean Search Commands:

      Most search engines and directories use "Boolean Commands" (special terms to help direct your search). The following simple commands can help to focus your search:

      AND

      Using and between each keyword in the query retrieves documents containing all the keywords. For example, dog and cat finds documents containing both words (not just one or the other).

      OR

      Using or between words retrieves documents containing a single word, several keywords, and all the keywords specified in the search query, for example, dog or cat finds documents containing one or the other of the words or both.

      NOT

      Using not between words retrieves documents that do not contain the word(s) preceded by the term not. For example, dog not cat finds documents containing the term dog but not containing cat.

      "Phrase Search"

      Surrounding a group of words with quotes retrieves only those documents containing the exact phrase-use this as often as possible to help narrow your search. For example, "dental implant surgery" finds documents with this phrase and eliminates documents containing only one or two of the words.

      Internet Resources for Boosting Your Net Search and Career Development Skills

      The Internet search information in this section is a brief concept summary. Visit the Internet sites listed below to become well versed on maximizing your Net search time. These also contain great tutorials (or links to tutorials) to lead you quickly and clearly through the learning process.

      A. Developing Web Search Skills:

      1. Web Search Strategies: http://home.sprintmail.com/~debflanagan/main.html

      2. Search Engine Watch: http://searchenginewatch.com

      3. Web Search (About.com): http://websearch.about.com/internet/sites/websearch