Saturday, January 11, 2014

Information Searching Strategy and Principles Part 1 P- 11. Library Use and User Studies By :achandel a

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

Information Searching Strategy and Principles Part 1

P- 11. Library Use and User Studies

By :achandel a

1. Introduction

In the present information society, information is available in abundance. But its management for retrieval is a challenging task. In the field of library and information science, topics like ‘information needs’ and ‘information searching and retrieval’ have generated maximum literature. During 1960-1980, information retrieval was a hot topic for research. During this period many indexing techniques were evolved in order to improve the effectiveness of searching. With the advent of information technology, information storage, searching and retrieval took a different dimension and earlier indexing and classification techniques in use lost their importance.
The objective of the library and information services  and systems is to provide access to sources, information and ideas (Kuhlthau, 2008) Author further identifies two types of access; physical and intellectual. Physical access addresses the location of sources and information whereas, intellectual access deals with interpretation of information and ideas within the sources. For intellectual access, one needs searching capabilities so that the desired information is retrieved out of oceans of information sources. The purpose of generation/creation of knowledge and information is use, and use depends on the ability to find information. To make maximum use of information and to avoid disappointments in finding right information, users should have the searching skill with familiarity with search techniques being applied by different search engines and databases. The use of search techniques and strategies helps users to retrieve relevant and quality information.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss information search strategies, techniques and principles which today have increasing importance particularly in the context of e-learning. Online information searching and processing of information is a complex cognitive process involving multifaceted cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Many studies have reported that students often had disorientation problems and were not able to evaluate online information critically. Recent research showed that even graduate students and learners also had troubles with specifying search terms, judging search results, judging source and information as well as regulating the search process. (Meng-Jung Tsai and others, 2012). 

2.1 The student will learn about

1. The types of information searches
2. The importance of search preparation
3. The formulation of search strategies
4. The types of search techniques
5. The use of search techniques in information retrieval
6. The application of search techniques to various search tools

2.2 Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students one should be able to:

1. Distinguish between simple, advanced and meta searches
2. Plan for a search session
3. Formulate search strategies
4. Select the appropriate search tool for the required information
5. Identify and use various search techniques
6. Apply search techniques to various search tools.

3. Information Searching Techniques and Principles

Information and knowledge are available from a variety of sources through a variety of means.  A search is the organized pursuit of information. Somewhere in a collection of documents, Web pages, and other sources, there is information that user  wants  to find, but have no idea where it is.  To find information, a search strategy or techniques is the planned and structured by choosing and organising terms used to search in database and any other resources available. The search strategy will also indicate how these terms are combined in order to retrieve optimal results.
One may need to develop a separate search strategy for different sections or aspects of  research. Since, users will be searching several databases which needs familiarity with different techniques of search formulation in different databases

3.1 Concept of Search Strategies

Web information science research mostly concentrates on developing sophisticated search tools and technologies rather than exploring and developing effective human search strategies. Despite the key role of technological innovations to facilitate and simplify the usability of the Internet, it seems crucial to explore the human aspects of information retrieval in chaotic, as well as in structured information domains.

The concept of “search strategy” is contrasted with the concept of “search tactic” or “search heuristic”.  A “search strategy” stands for a comprehensive overall plan for the entire search, while a “search tactic” stands for a move made to further a search. Scholars and practitioners frequently misuse the term “strategy” to describe small operations as single search commands.  Search strategies can be very general in nature, applying to all kinds of searches; or they can be very specific, applying to particular search situations. In any case, general strategies too are implemented and tested in specific search situations, subject to specific constraints.

The Internet has changed our perspectives of information searching, because it has changed the nature of the information domain. It is no longer controlled, well defined, and well known. According to (Chau, 1997), unlike a CD-ROM database, the Internet does not have a controlled searching environment and information can be indexed in many different ways. In fact, the Internet enables the users to access a wide variety of information resources; for example, Web sites, professional databases, library catalogues, discussion groups, as well as real people through e-mail, chats, and phone calls. It has literally changed the way we search for information. Furthermore, searchers cannot limit the search to the Internet information domain. Users  are required to locate and use relevant information resources on the Internet and outside the Internet. Consequently, one cannot apply pre-Internet strategies without re-evaluating them to see whether these are relevant and applicable for searching for information today. Search strategies can be very detailed, consisting of detailed search plans, or very general, consisting of general guiding principles. The concept of a “structured search strategy” stands for a detailed set of guiding principles whereby the searcher follows a pre-planned course of action that he or she can modify according to the search conditions.

Information retrieval is a sequence of interrelated actions aimed at accomplishing the search assignment. It is a situation of problem solving and decision making (Harter, 1986; Marchionini, 1989 and Ammersbach, 1992). Once the search assignment has been defined, the searcher has to make a move. He or she can browse through the information space following a hypertext link, navigate hierarchical classified directories, type a query in a search engine, send e-mail, use the telephone, open a book, or consult his or her next-door neighbour. The variety of optional actions are almost infinite. However, some of the searcher’s actions might be unreasonable and fruitless. Because every decision made by the searcher affects the course of the search, the searcher’s reasoning emerges as the key factor in the searching process. In most cases, rational reasoning apparently shortens this process and significantly improves its results. Consequently, if searchers are able to identify logical reasoning, that makes the searching more efficient. The guidelines for conducting systematic searches can help users to a great extent. 

3.2. Types of Searches

Effective searching requires good planning which should not be accidental and random. But users hardly plan and formulate search strategy. As such desired information is not retrieved. Same information may be available to one, may not be accessible to another depending upon the searching skill of individual.   Good searches need planning. There are different search options depending on the level and amount of information that is of interest to the user.

3.2.1. Simple Search

A simple search is when the user uses some keywords to perform a quick information search from a database or from a search engine. A simple search may retrieve a huge amount of search output that may take time to sieve through for any relevant information items. In simple searches, browsing rather than focused searches is done. In simple searching one or two concepts can also be used. The user may use simple searches when not sure of the type of information required and when the topic is not focused on any area. A topic such as Malaria and Africa can cover any period, can affect adult or children, male or female and can be from English, French or Portuguese speaking Africa. This simple search can also retrieve information on Africa not related to malaria. The search results may be overwhelming and the user would be required to apply search techniques to focus the search for relevancy and precision.

3.2.2 Advanced Search

Advanced searching is the use of techniques that help to define the information that is being searched. In advance searching, some filtering is done to reduce the amount of items retrieved. Filtering refines the search for relevancy. In advanced searching the user is able to apply multiple search fields that can help to broaden or narrow the search depending on the topic and the search strategy. The use of advanced searching helps the user to;
• Apply filtering
• Reduce number of items retrieved
• Apply multiple search fields
Advanced searching tools are available in most search tools such as Medline/PubMed. 

3.2.3 Meta Search

A Meta search is when the user uses a variety of search tools simultaneously. This is done with the use of Meta search engines such as Dogpile,; Metacrawler and Vivisimo. These Meta search engines searches many search tools such as Google, Yahoo and MSN among others. Searching from a Meta search engine is conducted in the same way as in single search engines. A search can be a simple search or an advanced search. The only difference between Meta search engines and single search engines is that the search results will come from different search engines simultaneously.

3.2.4 Use of Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases that are used to closely describe the topic or subject by the author or through indexing. Keywords capture the ideas described in a document. In using keywords, it is important to consider related terms such teenager or adolescent, variations in word spelling such as American and English versions such as anemia or andemia, plural or singular versions, synonyms such as infant or newborn, or use of controlled vocabulary that gives alternative terminology to a word; e.g. Cancer is referred to as ‘neoplasm’ in controlled vocabulary terminology. 

3.2.5 Controlled Vocabulary

The use of controlled vocabulary is to give uniformity and consistency to the indexing of the literature. The controlled vocabulary ensures consistency in presentation of information for related topics. It also tries to standardise the language used by authors. The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a distinctive feature of MEDLINE - the foremost biomedical literature database. It is the most used controlled vocabulary or thesaurus for biomedical literature. It is used in the Medline database. MESH is used in the preparation of Medline and a search tool through PubMed.

3.2.6 Case Sensitivity

Electronic information can be presented in upper and lower case. It is advisable to control the use of upper and lower case while searching for information. Some search terms such as names of people and places may require the use of capital letters. However, the use of uppercase will retrieve only those words that are presented in uppercase. Using lowercase at all times helps retrieve information whether the information is presented in capital letters or not. Users should know when to use upper and lowercase letters. The use of lowercase should be preferred to avoid missing out useful information.

3.2.7. Use of Abbreviations

Some search terms are commonly presented as abbreviations. For example the use of HIV instead of Human Immunodeficiency Virus may affect the end results. The user has to be vigilant on the effect of such abbreviations on the outcome of the search.

. Preparing the Search

In our daily activities whether in learning, working or for personal reasons, information is vital. While looking for information, the starting point will depend on the type of information required.  The user may be looking for scholarly information, practice guidelines, information on a certain disease condition such as diabetes or general information. Depending on the information required, the user may require the services of general search engines and specialized search tools and bibliographic database. 

4.1. Steps in Developing Search Strategy

In search preparation, the search topic is sometimes presented as a question. It is only by coming up with the search topic that the user is able to come up with words that are important in the search. This is because most search tools such as Google use keywords in searching for information. For example a search topic such as “What is the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in teenage girls in Kenya?” would break the topic in keywords such as (prevalence, HIV/AIDS, adolescents/teenage, girls, Kenya). The user may also decide the publication period to be covered by the search, the type of information required whether reviews, journal articles or any other information. The process of preparing for the search and coming up with a search plan is referred to ‘formulating a search strategy.’ The user should also be familiar with certain search tools in the area of subject interest.

4.2. Use of Search Strategies

A search strategy is a plan that guides the user to answer some questions such as:
  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Is there a time frame for the required information?
  • Is the information required general or specific?
  • What sources would best retrieve the required information, general or specific tools?
  • Would the information be specific to a certain geographical location?

A search strategy relates to having good guidelines that will lead to a successful search output. Having a search strategy helps the user to:

  • Define the topic.
  • Break the topic into concepts or keywords such.
  • Use search techniques such as Boolean operators to refine the search.
  • Try out the search strategy and refine it as necessary for better results.
  • Identify the appropriate search tool and search techniques.
  • Decide on whether to start with a general search engine such as Google or a specific tool such as Medline/Pubmed.
  • Have alternative choices such as starting from print-based information sources such as reports or grey literature.

4.3. Requirements for a successful information retrieval

  • Defining the search problem.
  • Developing a search strategy.
  • Using search techniques.
  • Learning how to use a search tools.
  • Using correct spelling.
  • Considering other forms of information sources such as print and audio-visual.
  •  Evaluating the retrieved information.
  •  Using the information appropriately 

4.4. Formulating the Search Strategy

Regardless of the search tool being used, the development of an effective search strategy is essential if one wants to obtain satisfactory results. A simplified, generic search strategy may consist of the following steps:
  • Formulation of the research question and its scope
  • Identification of important concepts within the question
  • Identification of search terms to describe those concepts
  • Consideration of synonyms and variations of those terms
  • Preparation of the search logic.

The strategy should be applied to a search of any electronic information tool, including library catalogues and CD-ROM databases, etc. However, a well-planned search strategy is of especial importance when the database under consideration is one as large and amorphous as the World Wide Web. Along with the characteristics already mentioned above, another factor that underscores the need for effective web search strategy is the fact that most search engines index every word of the text in a document. This method of indexing tends to greatly increase the number of results retrieved, while decreasing the relevance of those results, because of the increased likelihood of words being found in an inappropriate context. When selecting a search engine, one factor to consider is whether it allows the searcher to specify which part(s) of the document to search (e.g., URL, title, first heading) or whether it simply defaults to search the entire document.  The most productive searches are those where the information seeker has spent time working out a search strategy beforegoing online. The strategy is a pre-requisite for anyone attempting exhaustive searching, such as those embarking on a PhD, and recommended practice for any student wishing to conduct an efficient search and avoid disappointments caused by low retrieval.

Working out specific information need and identify the different major concepts and alternatives is the prerequisite for good search. For example, the topic Inorganic fertilizers divides into two main concepts:
  • Inorganic fertilizers
  • Soil fertilization.

5. Search Techniques

Search techniques are ways of using search terms in finding required information from search tools. Search tools are many; e.g. Online Public Catalogues- OPAC, general search engines, search directories and portals as well as online databases or deep web. To achieve good search results, it is necessary to use search techniques. The following are some of the most common search techniques and principles that are applicable to various searching tools, 

5.1 Boolean Logic
5.2 Parenthesis
5.3 Phrase searching
5.4 Truncation
5.5 Wildcards
5.6 Field searching
5.7 Proximity searching

5.1. Boolean Logic

Boolean logic is a logical relationship of search terms. It is named after the British mathematician George Boole (1815-64). Boolean logic is used to narrow or focus the search or to broaden the search depending on the information that the user wants to retrieve. Boolean logic helps the user to achieve relevancy in the search results and it also assists in quick retrieval of information. The logic uses the following operators AND, OR, NOT. These are the most common operators. XOR is also another operator you find available when using some databases,

  • AND – Narrows the search
  • OR - Broadens the search
NOT – excludes unwanted words or concepts to focus the search

5.1. 1. AND

AND links terms together in a way that makes your search more narrow. UsingAND tells the computer that you want records that contain all the words you specify. For instance, the following search will find you only records that contain the words "dog" and "cat":
dog and cat
If the record contains only the word "dog", it won't show up. Likewise, if it only contains the word "cat", the search will ignore it. The record has to contain bothterms for the search to return it.
Alternate Text
Although you can use AND to link together as many terms as you want, the more times you use AND, the more narrow your search gets, and the fewer records your search will turn up. For instance, a search on dog and cat and snake would turn up less records than one for dog and cat

5.1. 2. OR

OR is, in some ways, the exact opposite of AND. Instead of narrowing a search,OR widens it by turning up records that have either term you specify.
For instance, a search on dog or cat will get you all the records that contain the word "dog", as well as all the ones that contain the word "cat". Although at first glance this may not seem very useful, it can come in very handy in certain situations. For instance, a search on "dog" will only get you records that have the word "dog", not "dogs", "canines" or "canis domesticus", all of which are terms used for "dog." So if you wanted all the possible records that might be about dogs, you could try dog or dogs or canines or canis domesticus
Alternate Text

5.1. 3. NOT

Finally, NOT is a term that allows you to exclude records with certain words from your search. Specifying dogs not cats would get you all the records that contain the word "dogs" EXCEPT the ones that also contain the word "cats." For instance, if we had a book whose title was "The Complete Book of Dogs and Cats", that record would not show up, even though it had the word "dogs" in it, because it also contains the word "cats."
Alternate Text
This can be helpful if you want to exclude certain records from your search. Let's say I was looking for books on the state of Mississippi, and typed in Mississippi as a keyword search. I'd get a lot of books on the Mississippi river, so I type inMississippi not river, which effectively cuts out all the books on the Mississippi River. Be cautious with this term-you can cut out a lot of records you might want. Think carefully when using it

5.1.4. XOR

The last operator we will cover here is the "XOR," or the "exclusive or" operator. XOR is used to locate records matching any of the specified terms but not all of the specified terms. For example, "dogs XOR cats" will find items with the word "dog" or the word "cat" in the record, but will not return items which have both terms in the record. 

5.1.5 Boolean Searching on the Internet

When a user searches the Internet using a search engine, the use of Boolean logic may be presented in the following ways;

  • Full Boolean logic with the use of the logical operators
  • Implied Boolean logic with keyword searching
  • Use of symbols
  • Boolean logic using search form terminology Full Boolean Operators

Most search engines use Boolean logic operators, AND, OR, NOT. However, it is important for the user to know how each search engine works so as to have effective retrieval. Implied logic

Most search engines use AND as a default. In PubMed, for example the search term Malaria in Africa will be searched as malaria AND Africa automatically, and there is no need to type the word AND. Other search engines may default to OR. It is therefore, important to know how each search tool presents its information for searching. Use of symbols

Some search engines uses symbols to describe the logical relationship of terms instead of words for example the use of:-+ instead of AND- implying NOT. It is advisable to check “help” pages in each search tool to understand the way information is organised for  searching. Boolean logic using search form terminology

Most search engines have an advanced search mode that helps the user to focus the search. In the advanced search mode a template is presented that guides the user in selecting the relationship of the terms – NOT, OR, AND.

The use of Boolean logic can be used in various search engines. The user should however check with “help” in each search engine to understand how the Boolean operators are presented. They can be presented either in word format or symbol format. It is also important to keep in mind that most Search Engines require that Boolean operators be typed in Capital letters. Search engines such as Google use keywords to query their databases and produce results. Results match the keywords. It can be seen that the use of Boolean logic or any other search technique depends on the type of information the user wants to retrieve

5.2. Parenthesis

The search technique is used to force the order of how information is retrieved. For example the retrieval of information related to diabetes prevention and control can be searched as –
Diabetes AND (Prevention OR control). The keywords in the brackets will be searched first and then matched with the results of the keyword outside the bracket. In the absence of brackets all the keywords will be searched together from left to right. The use of brackets controls how the search is executed. Results returned through the use of parenthesis are more relevant. Parenthesis uses more than one Boolean operator and is used to perform complex searches

5.3. Phrase searching

This technique surrounds the search keywords in quotes “….” It instructs the search engine to search only words that appear side by side inside the quotes. This method narrows search results significantly leading to more relevant results.

5.4. Truncation

Truncation is the process of using an asterisk mark (*) while searching. The purpose of truncation is to broaden the search results. Through the use of truncation at the root of the word, the search tool searches all word variations after the asterisk e.g.; the use of * with Child* will retrieve child, children and childhood. In the example below,
• Child* retrieves 1,694,851records
• Children retrieves 1,649,662 records
• Childhood retrieves 150,545 records

Depending on the root word and the place where the asterisk is placed, use of truncation can sometimes retrieve some irrelevant results. Each search tool treats the use of search techniques differently. The user is advised to check if the search tool in use allows the use of truncation.

5.5. Wildcards- Special Symbols or “Wild Card”

Wildcards are characters that are used to assist in searching for information. Wildcards are used to represent one character or letter in a word. Wildcards are especially useful in situations when the user is not sure of the correct spelling of a word. In medicine, there are variations in the use of American and English word spelling for medical terms. Wildcards can be used when the user is not sure of the exact spelling of a certain word. It is advisable to check the wildcard symbols used by each search tool or search engine. The most commonly used wildcard is “?”. Below is an example
• An?mia will retrieve all records that contain either anaemia or anemia
• Colo?r will retrieve all records that contain colour and color
However most search engines do not currently support the wildcard facility.

5.6. Field Searching

An electronic record is presented as a field. Within a bibliographic database, there are data fields for the title, author, affiliation, journal or book title and language, among others. The user can use any of these fields to retrieve the required information. As an example, a user can search for an article by a certain author on a specific topic such as teenage pregnancy in Africa by David Mukamba. This is a focused search through the author field. The user can also focus a search through the use of the title, subject or publication type such as journal article

5.7. Proximity Search

A proximity search allows you to specify how close two (or more) words must be to each other in order to register a match. There are three types of proximity searches:
  • Word proximity
  • Sentence proximity
  • Paragraph proximity

5.7.1. Word Proximity

word proximity search specifies a range that all terms in the proximity search must appear in. The terms must be contained in the same document. The first word from the proximity search that is found begins the count for the range.
You can use wildcards in proximity searches.
Word proximity searches can be ordered proximity or unordered proximity. Ordered proximity is more restrictive than the unordered proximity search. Ordered Proximity

The ordered proximity operator is the forward slash /. Terms in an ordered proximity search must be enclosed in quotes. Use ordered proximity to specify the order in which terms must appear within a given range to count as a match.
For example, an ordered proximity search to find dogcat, and rat within a 10 word range must find dog first. Dog counts as one word in the range. Both cat and rat must be found within the next nine words to register a match. (In an unordered proximity, it would not matter which term was found first; the other two terms must be found within the next nine words.)
Example Query
"content collection"/5
Finds documents which contain content collection, in that order, within a five word range.

"creating a content collection"/10
Finds documents which contain creating a content collection (in order) within a 10 word range. Unordered Proximity

The unordered proximity operator is the at symbol @. Terms in an unordered proximity search must be enclosed in quotes. Use unordered proximity to specify a set of terms which must appear within a given range in any order.

Example Query
"create content collection"@14
Finds documents which contain all three terms, in any order, within a 14 word range.
"work* process$"@25
Finds documents which contain terms starting with work and synonyms of the term process within 25 words of each other.

5.7.2. Sentence Proximity

sentence proximity search allows you to search for terms which fall within the same sentence. Unlike word proximity, which requires you to specify a range for the search, Sentence proximity requires that all terms in the search be found in the same sentence.
When doing sentence proximity searches, every document in a content collection is assumed to be a sentence (by default). Individual sentences (meaning text between two periods) are not necessarily used for sentence proximity searches.
Sentences must be defined using special sentence proximity codes when the content collection is created (the creator of the content collection controls where these codes appear). As such, "sentences" for sentence proximity searches can span multiple sentences within a document (as in a list of items).
Like word proximity searches, sentence proximity searches can be ordered or unordered. The ordered proximity operator is /S. The unordered proximity operator is @S.
Example Query
"ordered operator"/S
Finds documents which contain both terms, in the order listed, within a single sentence.
"multiple sentence searches"@S
Finds documents which contain all three terms, in any order, within a single sentence.

5.7.3. Paragraph Proximity

paragraph proximity search allows you to search for terms which fall within the same paragraph. Unlike word proximity, which requires that you specify a range for the search, paragraph proximity requires that all terms in the search be found in the same paragraph.
When doing paragraph proximity searches, every document in a content collection is assumed to be a paragraph (by default). Individual paragraphs (meaning text between two paragraph breaks) are not necessarily used for paragraph proximity searches. Paragraphs must be defined using special paragraph proximity codes when the content collection is created (the creator of the content collection controls where these codes appear). As such, "paragraphs" for paragraph proximity searches may span multiple paragraphs within a document (as in a list of items).
Like word proximity searches, paragraph proximity searches can be ordered or unordered. The ordered proximity operator is /P. The unordered proximity operator is @P.
Example Query
"special proximity codes"/P
Finds documents which contain all three terms, in the order listed, within a single paragraph.
"paragraph searches"@P
Finds documents which contain both terms, in any order, within a single paragraph.

6. Steps for Searching Strategy

The following list provides a guideline to follow in formulating search requests, viewing search results, and modifying search results. These procedures can be followed for virtually any search request, from the simplest to the most complicated. For some search requests, one  may not want or need to go through a formal search strategy. If you want to save time in the long run, however, it's a good idea to follow a strategy, especially when someone is  new to a particular search engine. A basic search strategy can help the searcher to  get used to each search engine's features and how they are expressed in the search query. Following the steps may be helpful to retrieve relevant results if  search is multifaceted and complex.

The steps are as follows:

6.1 Identify the important concepts of your search
6.2 Choose the keywords that describe these concepts
6.3 Determine whether there are synonyms, related terms, or other variations of the
6.4 Keywords that should be included
6.5 Determine which search features may apply, including truncation, proximity operators
6.6 Boolean operators
6.7 Choose a search engine
6.8 Read the search instructions on the search engine's home page. Look for sections entitled   "Help," "Advanced Search," "Frequently Asked Questions," and so forth.
Create a search expression, using syntax, which is appropriate for the search engine. Evaluate the results. How many hits were returned? Were the results relevant to your query?
6.9 Modify your search if needed. Go back to steps 2-4 and revise your query accordingly
6.10 Try the same search in a different search engine, following steps 5-9 above.

7. Search Tools

There are different kinds of search tools such as;

7.1 Subject directory

"offers a collection of links to Internet resources submitted by site creators or evaluators and organized into subject categories." Subject directories are useful when you are conducting general research or want to find resources recommended by experts and evaluators.
Examples include:

7.2. Search engine

 is "a searchable database of Internet files collected by a computer program." Use a search engine when you are looking for a particular web site, have a specific research question, or are looking for the most current information (see Searching the Internet).
Examples include:

7.3 Meta-search engines

send searches to several search engines at once, then build the results into a coherent results pages.
Examples include:
  • Dogpile (
  • Metacrawler (

7.4 Natural Language Engines

allow you to ask questions in ordinary language: "What is a screech owl?" or "When did Hank Williams die?"

7.5 Specialized search engines

enable you to narrow your search to a particular discipline and profile web sites of particular interest. See an extensive listing of specialized search engines, seeSearch Engine Colossus  (


The ability to effectively search and locate information in the present electronic age is important and essential for every one of us  in our  everyday life, irrespective of nature of job we are engaged in. Information available and accessible online is massive, but searching and retrieval of relevant information is complex and difficult. Availability of information is of no value if not used. Users always strive to get relevant information which they may often fail to retrieve due to lack of searching skill. They hardly go for developing this skill, thinking that they know everything which is required. Thus, they satisfy themselves whatever, they are able to find.
Use of search techniques and strategies will definitely helps users to retrieve relevant and quality information. The results from a single search command produces an overwhelming amount of information which needs to be filtered for relevancy and precision. Without learning the new literacy skills, it may not be possible to search information what is needed. Every search engines and databases have their own features for locating information, therefore getting familiar with them is important. Formulating a systematic search strategy may prove useful. One should understand that information needs and searching both are  cognitive process which needs to be analysed for effective results.


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    12.  What  is search Strategy?

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