Know and understand the way search engines work
Effectively manage the results of your search
Assess the quality of the information you find
Remember that each search engine is different. Read the help before you proceed. Determine if you are using a Web directory or a search engine. See if there is an "advanced search" feature.
- "All search engines search the same way"
FALSE: each search engine searches in a different way, and provides different options for searching.
- "If I use one search engine, I'm searching the entire Web"
FALSE: entry in a search engine is dependent upon the Website owner knowing about the search engine. If they don't register their Website there, you won't be searching it.
- "Search engines search what's on the Web right at this moment"
FALSE: search engines do not search in real time. They compile the information on the Web a little at a time. The information you find may be weeks old or may no longer exist.
- "Search engines will evaluate the Website for me, showing me the best information first"
FALSE: only you can truly evaluate the content that you find. Some search engines will show you the Websites that are accessed the most frequently. That doesn't mean they are better.
- "Search engines are free"
FALSE: you pay for a search engine each time you use it—by viewing the advertising that supports the site.
There are hundreds of search engines, ranging from those that search for everything to engines geared to find specific information (like games).
When to Hit the Books
The Web just does not have it all. Even the best search engine will only search what is available. Remember that the Web is only the first tool in your arsenal of available resources.