Thursday, February 19, 2009

Internet Quiz - week 7

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES
Defining and describing search engines and their functions
Studying web index search engines
Studying web directory search engines
Studying meta search engines
Learning about specialized search engines

SEARCH ENGINES
A search engine is a software tool that helps users find information about any subject. The Search engine consists of a very large database that contains information about web pages. It uses keywords entered by users to find the web pages that contain the information sought by the users.
The search engine builds an index of web pages along with associated key words. Then, it uses the index to find the web pages that match the key words specified by the user. The results are provided in a list that is sorted into priority order. Each item in the list has a brief description of the web page and a hyperlink to that page.


SEARCH ENGINES
While search engines enable people to gather information about the most arcane subjects, it is not a perfect tool. Using search engines can be frustrating and time consuming. However, once you know how to search, the possibilities are endless.
Different search engines use different methods to search and produce different findings for the same query. Unfortunately, no single Internet search tool can be truly comprehensive because of the lack of a common indexing scheme for Internet materials. In other words, universally accepted cataloging standards, such as those found in libraries, do not exist for the Internet. Since some search tools are more effective than others for finding information on certain subjects, you will have to use several tools.
Another major challenge in using search engines is that Internet searches frequently result in the "all or nothing" dilemma—either far too much or no material at all is retrieved. This problem can be reduced by following appropriate search strategies.
The first step in becoming a proficient Internet researcher is understanding the different search tools. Search engines fall into one of two general categories, indexes and directories. In addition, multi-threaded search tools combine the functions of indexes and directories.
WEB INDEX SEARCH ENGINES
A web index search engine uses software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters. If you think of the Internet as a gigantic book, web indexes perform the same function as a book's index, referencing names, technical terms, and concepts found therein. By searching an index, you can search the Web for sites that contains specific words or phrases.
The most popular search engine, Google, is an indexed search engine. This kind of search engine builds up its index or database of web pages using a software called a crawler. The crawler is programmed to constantly surf the web, following all links it comes across. As it visits new websites, it checks its own database to see if the site is listed. If the site is already listed, it makes note of any changes. If the site has not been previously listed, the crawler will look at the page contents and decides what key words and phrases should be associated with that page. It then stores this information along with the page address in its index.
WEB DIRECTORY SEARCH ENGINES
A web directory is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest. If we go back to the book analogy, web directories are like a table of contents, which helps you locate major sections and subsections of a book. In other words, web directories are catalogs of other web sites. They contain main subject headings and several levels of subheadings. For each subject, the directory provides a set of links to all the web pages that fall within that area of interest.
The major difference between web directories and indexed search engines is that directories only include links to web pages that have been screened and categorized by human beings. Directories are therefore more discriminating. They tend to produce the most relevant results when you are searching for a general topic, but they may not be as comprehensive as indexes. In addition, directories are not as up-to-date as indexes since web page selection is not automated. The most popular web directory is Yahoo.
META SEARCH ENGINES
A third type of search engine is called meta search engines. Meta search engines searches the result sets from other search engines. It returns the matches from several other search engines all at once, saving the searcher from having to visit each major search engine individually. An example of this third type is IxQuick, which searches 13 different search engines.
These multi-threaded search engines that simultaneously search multiple directories and indexes are useful when the topic is obscure and you are not having luck with your search. These tools are also helpful when you want to find as much as you can with a single search statement.
SPECIALIZED SEARCH ENGINES
Over the last few years, search engines have refined their advanced searching capabilities and increased the options that users have before they even begin their searches. A variety of search engines have been developed that index only one discipline, such as science, or one resource type, such as newspapers or audio files.
SEARCH ENGINES FOR CHILDREN
In the search engine Ask Jeeves for Kids, children can type in a question just like they would ask a teacher or parent. The engine's developers have created appropriate answers to a wide variety of questions. If an answer is not found, Ask Jeeves pulls results from other search engines just as meta search engines do. The returns from these search engines are filtered before the list is returned to the user.
One of the most useful advanced searching capabilities that engines like Google offer is safe-search filtering. These filters screen out objectionable material. For example, Google's SafeSearch screens for sites that contain offensive content and eliminates them from search results.

What is a search engine?

It is a software tool that helps users find information about any subject
It is an engine that helps users search for software
It is software that helps users search for any hardware
It is a software tool that helps users find keywords

Question 2
25 points
Save

What is a spider?

It is a book's index, referencing names, technical terms, and concepts found therein
It is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest
It is a software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters
It is a hardware that roams a book's index, stores the pages, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters

Question 3
25 points
Save

What is a web directory?

It is a software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters
It is a hardware that roams a book's index, stores the pages, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters
It is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest
None of the above

Question 4
25 points
Save

What is a meta search engine?

It is a software that searches the result sets from other search engines
It is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest
It is software that helps users search any hardware
It is a software tool that helps users find any keywords from 13 search engines

You have heard the World Wide Web has it all--lesson plans, activities, professional development ideas, real data, software, newsgroups, and much more. But how do you get to it? Searching the Internet can be frustrating and time consuming for you and your students. However, once you know how to search, the possibilities are limitless.
I realized first hand the importance of good search techniques through an assignment I gave to college students taking my introductory science course. The assignment was suggested by a picture of a light bulb with a list of all the chemical resources that are needed to produce it. I asked my students to choose some other common item and to search the web to create the same sort of list. What better place than the Internet to find such information?
A week later, I asked how everybody was doing on the assignment. Talk about frustrated! They were ready to give up. One student was particularly vocal. He had chosen something simple--a match--but his search of the Net had revealed nothing about the chemical components of a match. However, he had learned how to make plastique and how much it would take to blow up a school bus. Other students had similar stories. I realized then that I needed to know much more about searching the Internet before I could help my students use it productively.
Understanding the Challenges
Unfortunately, no single Internet search tool can be truly comprehensive because of the lack of a common indexing scheme for Internet materials. In other words, universally accepted cataloging standards, such as those found in libraries, do not exist for the Internet. Since some search tools are more effective for certain topics than others, you will have to use several tools. There are many similarities among the tools, but each has its own strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities.
Another challenge is that Internet searches frequently result in the "all or nothing" dilemma--either far too much or no material at all is retrieved. This problem can be reduced by following appropriate search strategies.
The first step in becoming a proficient Internet researcher is understanding the different search tools. Basically, search tools fall into one of two general categories, indexes and directories. In addition, multi-threaded search tools combine the functions of indexes and directories.
Web Indexes
If you think of the Internet as a gigantic book, web indexes perform the same function as a book's index, referencing names, technical terms, and concepts found therein. Keep in mind, however, that the book is so big and is growing so fast that no index can keep up. Indexes offer the most comprehensive compilation of web documents. Searching indexes tends to return extensive lists of resources, and the task of sorting through them can be overwhelming.
Indexes require you to develop expertise in mastering search language. One of the biggest problems with indexes is narrowing your search sufficiently to retrieve a manageable number of documents relevant to your topic.
Web Directories
To stay with the book analogy, web directories are like a table of contents, which helps you locate major sections and subsections of a book. In their simplest form, web directories are merely catalogs of links to other web sites. They contain main subject headings and several levels of subheadings.
Some web directories are so vast that they have tools to search their own contents. Yahoo!, which started off as two graduate students' list of favorite web sites, is probably the best-known web directory. Two other directories are Magellan and the Argus Clearinghouse. Use of these three tools illustrates the vastly different policies for selection criteria in different web directories.
Choosing Among the Tools
A major distinction between directories and indexes is the way their content is compiled. Indexes cast a broad net using artificially intelligent computer programs with descriptive names like crawler, bot, worm, spider, wanderer. These programs capture all information that meets their data-collection criteria. Directories tend to be more discriminating. Human editors normally sift through web documents and list those that meet a site's selection criteria.
Directories tend to produce the most relevant results when you are searching for a general topic, but they may not be as comprehensive as indexes. In addition, directories usually are not as up-to-date as indexes since document selection is not automated.
Confused? One solution is the use of multi-threaded search tools that simultaneously search multiple directories and indexes. These are useful when the topic is obscure and you are not having luck with your search. These tools are also helpful when you want to find as much as you can with a single search statement and your search is not complex. The better multi-threaded search engines remove duplicate files and provide some information along with the document title.
Understanding the different Internet search tools is the first step in developing productive searches. To help my students finish their assignment, I gave them the information in this column and required them to use each search tool, entering the same query information in each. The diversity of the results of their searches was amazing. We also discussed search techniques specific to each search tool.
As you and your students improve your web-searching skills, keep in mind another important issue: quality control. Since the material on the Internet is not checked for accuracy, we all need to view the information with a critical eye.
Reference
Owston, R. (1998). Making the Link: Teacher professional development on the Internet. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. (ENC-012911)
Roempler's Recommended Resources
Web Indexes
Alta Vista: http://www.altavista.com/Provides a very large full-text database searchable by keywords, phrase, or field; performs complex Boolean searches.
Infoseek: http://infoseek.go.com/Searches the full text of a relatively large database using implied Boolean logic with field-search options; retrieves results quickly.
HotBot: http://www.hotbot.com/ Searches a very large database with field and media search options using a fill-in template to guide your query.
Excite: http://www.excite.com/ Provides an up-to-date database searchable with Boolean logic, keywords, or natural language; provides concept searching when you don't know what terms to use.
Lycos: http://www.lycos.com/ Contains a very large database with a variety of Boolean and term proximity options; you can also control the relevancy ranking of your results.
Web Directories
Yahoo!: http://www.yahoo.com/ Provides broad but unevaluated subject coverage allowing an overview of what is available on the Internet on your topic.
Magellan: http://magellan.excite.com/Identifies generally good quality sites thereby reducing the need to wade through sites of lesser quality. (The database of Reviewed Sites is currently not being kept up to date.)
Argus Clearinghouse: http://www.clearinghouse.net/ Finds a collection of Internet resources on specific topics recommended by specialists.
Multi-threaded Search Engines
MetaCrawler: http://www.go2net.com/search.html/ Processes results fast, removes duplicates, and presents results in order of relevance.
Inference Find: http://www.infind.com/ Searches multiple search engines and groups results by concept and Internet site.
Ask Jeeves: http://www.aj.com/ Allows you to ask a question in plain English, and after interacting with you to confirm the question, takes you to one web site that provides an answer.
Dogpile: http://www.dogpile.com/ You set the order in which the search engines are searched.
Web Sites on How to Search the Internet
University at Albany Libraries Searching the Internet: Recommended Sites and Search Techniques http://www.albany.edu/library/internet/search.html Provides strengths and weaknesses for each index and directory listed as well as information on the search syntax (language) used.
Searching the Web: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov:80/common/web-search.html Collects some of the most useful search tools on the web and categorizes them based on what information is available (e.g., Internet catalogs, software, people, publications).
Spider's Apprentice: http://www.monash.com/spidap.html Evaluates different search tools. It has come up with the following rating system for search tools:
· Biggest, Fastest, Coolest
· Most comprehensive results
· Highest overall usability rating
· Most relevant results
· Most likely to find a hit when others can't
For current ratings, visit Spider's Apprentice: http://www.monash.com/spidap.html
Another example of a web searching tutorial is Searching the Web at http://www.niti.org/enc/
Citation information
Roempler, Kimberly S.. April 1999. How the Internet Is Indexed. ENC Focus 6(1)

Refinements and additions to search engines make the World Wide Web a better source of information for students.
by Kimberly S. Roempler, ENC Instructional Resources

In the last issue of Focus (Mathematics and Science Across the Curriculum, Vol. 9, No. 2), Joyce Kasman Valenza wrote about the limitations of the widely available search engines for student research. Students miss important resources when they use the World Wide Web as their only source of material. I couldn't agree more. However, using the right search engine will help students uncover important resources that will support research projects.
Over the last few years, search engines have refined their advanced searching capabilities and increased the options that users have before they even begin their searches. A variety of search engines have been developed that index only one discipline, such as science, or one resource type, such as newspapers or audio files. Several search engines have been developed especially for children.
Indexes and Directories
Search engines fall in two main types--ones that automatically index web resources (like Google) and directories (like Yahoo!) that depend on humans to do the indexing. Some search engines return results that are a mix of the two types. Both provide useful results for student research. Web pages that are indexed automatically are "spidered" or "crawled" by software that visits the page, reads it, and follows links to other pages. Everything that is "read" is indexed. The search engine plows through the index and finds matches to search queries. The engine may present the matches ranked by the number of times the search term shows up in the web page or in the links from that specific page.
Because "spiders" don't "read" all the same web pages or revisit sites in a timely fashion, the same search query used in different search engines will return different results--some more relevant than others.
Meta Search Engines
A third type of search engine doesn't spider the web to build indexes. Instead, this search engine searches the result sets from other engines. It returns the matches from several other search engines all at once, saving the searcher from having to visit each major search engine individually.
An example of this third type is IxQuick, which searches 13 different engines and identifies the engines where it located a particular site. The return list is manageable, with only 70 to 80 resources returned for each query. However, IxQuick accepts money to make sites appear at the top of return lists. These sites are labeled as "sponsored," so be aware of this feature. Vivisimo, another example of this type, sends queries to a variety of search engines and organizes the output of these search engines. A unique feature of Vivisimo is that it returns resources in clusters or categories.
Advanced Searching Capabilities
One of the most useful advanced searching capabilities that engines like Google, Alta Vista, and FAST offer is safe-search filtering. These filters screen out objectionable material. For example, Google's SafeSearch screens for sites that contain offensive content and eliminates them from search results. While no filter is 100 percent accurate, Google's filter checks keywords and phrases, URLs, and categories.
Filtered search engines allow students to search the entire web rather than a handpicked selection of kid-safe sites. This feature allows teachers to give their students access to major search engines that teachers were not comfortable with previously.
Many advanced search features include the ability of search engines to handle wildcards, Boolean searching, and a number of languages. Wildcard searching is helpful when you aren't sure how a word or phrase is spelled or what version of the word might be used. An asterisk is used in place of the letter or word you don't know (e.g., environment* would search for environmental as well as environment). Boolean searching allows the user to broaden or limit searches by adding the commands and, or, and not to the keywords. The language feature in advanced search allows users to limit searches to materials in one language or expand to all languages.
Specific Search Engines
Some information in databases is not available to the search engines' indexing mechanisms. The information that is locked away in these databases has been called the "invisible web." Specific search engines have been developed to search these hidden databases.
A relatively new engine, introduced in 2001 and called Scirus, indexes web resources that are specific to the domain of science. The Yahoo! News search engine spiders only news sites and revisits these sites several times a day. If you want to access only images, use the Google Image search or the Alta Vista Photo Finder. Advanced searching allows choices to be made in terms of image size, file types, and color. You can also search for all media--images, video, or audio--by using the FAST Multimedia search engine. Advanced search features include choosing stream or download, the file type, format type, and channel for audio files.
Kid-Safe Search Engines
In the search engine Ask Jeeves for Kids, children can type in a question just like they would ask a teacher or parent. The engine's developers have created appropriate answers to a wide variety of questions. If an answer isn't found, Ask Jeeves pulls results from other search engines just as a meta search engine does. The returns from each of the search engines are filtered before the list is returned to the user. This is different from the Yahooligans site, which provides hand-picked sites appropriate for children. If there are no matches from within the Yahooligan index, searches will not be forwarded to the Yahoo search engine. Additionally, adult-oriented banner advertising will not appear within the service.
The Bottom Line
The best advice to teachers is to become familiar with the many indexes, directories, and meta search engines that are available to you and your students. Always click on the "advanced" or "customize" buttons when visiting search engines to see what features are available. Pick a few keywords or phrases and systematically run the same search on each search engine. Compare the results to see which engines return material that is relevant to your purposes. Have your students do the same exercise. Have them analyze the results and present their findings to the class. A lively discussion almost always follows.
ENC is hosting an online discussion of this article. Join other educators talking about questions such as these:
· How has the web affected your students' research?
· Has the impact been positive or negative--or both?
· Should traditional research methods still be taught?

Question 1
25 out of 25 points
What is a search engine?
Selected Answer:
It is a software tool that helps users find information about any subject
Correct Answer:
It is a software tool that helps users find information about any subject

Question 2
25 out of 25 points
What is a spider?
Selected Answer:
It is a software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters
Correct Answer:
It is a software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters

Question 3
25 out of 25 points
What is a web directory?
Selected Answer:
It is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest
Correct Answer:
It is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest

Question 4
25 out of 25 points
What is a meta search engine?
Selected Answer:
It is a software that searches the result sets from other search engines
Correct Answer:
It is a software that searches the result sets from other search engines

PRT 2- NAME Indexes and Directories - How the Internet is Named Quiz
Search engines fall in two main types—
ones that automatically index web resources (like Google) WEB INDEX- COMPUTER-GOOGLE
and directories (like Yahoo!) that depend on humans to do the indexing. WEB DIR-HUMAN-YAHOO – MAGELLAN – ALTA VISTA
Web pages that are indexed automatically are "spidered" or "crawled" by software that visits the page, reads it, and follows links to other pages. Everything that is "read" is indexed.
What is a spider?
It is a book's index, referencing names, technical terms, and concepts found therein
It is a human edited directory of web sites categorized by area of interest
It is a software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters
It is a hardware that roams a book's index, stores the pages, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters

Question 2
16.66 points
Save

What is an example of a Web Directory
Google
Magellan
IxQuick
Vivisimo

Question 3
16.66 points
Save

An analogy of a web directory is
Index in a book
Table of contents in a book
Cover of a book
Chapters of a book

Question 4
16.66 points
Save

What is an example of a Web Indexes
Google
Magellan
IxQuick
Vivisimo

Question 5
16.66 points
Save

What is the challenge when doing research using search engines?

The Internet connection is slow
The Internet is very comprehensive
The searches can only be done in English
No one search tool is truly comprehensive

Review Assessment: Search Engines Article One - How the Internet is Named Quiz
User
Neil S. Winchel
Submitted
2/19/09 12:25 AM
Name
Search Engines Article One - How the Internet is Named Quiz
Status
Completed
Score
66.64 out of 83.3 points
Instructions

Question 1
16.66 out of 16.66 points
What is a spider?
Selected Answer:

It is a software that roams the web, stores the URLs, and indexes the keywords and text of each page that it encounters

Question 2
16.66 out of 16.66 points
What is an example of a Web Directory
Selected Answer:

Magellan

Question 3
16.66 out of 16.66 points
An analogy of a web directory is
Selected Answer:

Table of contents in a book

Question 4
16.66 out of 16.66 points
What is an example of a Web Indexes
Selected Answer:

Google

Question 5
0 out of 16.66 points
What is the challenge when doing research using search engines?

Selected Answer:

The Internet is very comprehensive

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