Tips for Searching the Internet

The Internet is a bit like a giant shoe store filled with millions of shoes: there’s so much to choose from, but you have to do some searching to find what you’re looking for. And – just like in the shoe store – once you find something that might be exactly what you want, you have to “try it on” to see if it “fits.” The Internet works the same way: you can search for and find many websites with a lot of information, but you have to read through the information to see if it fits your assignment.


General Search Tips

  • Using UPPER CASE (capital) and lower case (small) letters
    Some search tools can tell if you are using upper case or lower case letters. If you search using only UPPER CASE letters, some search tools will only find words that use only upper case letters. If you search using both Upper Case and lower case letter, some search tools will only find words that use both upper and lower case letters. If you search using only lower case letters, all search tools will find words that use UPPER or lower case letters.
    TIP: If you want to find more search results, use only lower case letters. If you want to limit your search results, use both upper and lower case letters.
     
  • Using “AND” vs. “OR” vs. “NOT”
    Use the word “AND” between your search words to tell the search tool to locate all of the search words anywhere in a web page. Use the word “OR” to tell the search tool to locate any of the search words in a web page. Use “NOT” in your search to leave out words that you don’t want in your results.

Examples

search words… minnesota AND viking
results… Minnesota Vikings Official Team Website
NFL.com Minnesota Vikings Team News
ESPN.com Minnesota Vikings Clubhouse
search words… minnesota OR viking
results… North Star – Minnesota State Government Online
Minnesota Vikings Official Team Website
Viking Mission to Mars Project Information
search words… minnesota NOT viking
results… Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota Historical Society
University of Minnesota
search words… viking NOT minnesota
results… Viking Mission to Mars Project Information
The Viking Network
Viking Office Products

 

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Types of Searching

Now that you have an idea of HOW to search, let’s look at WHERE to search.

  • Search Indexes
    A search index is a collection of websites that have been reviewed and selected by grown-ups who care about children. This is a good place to start if you need to find information about just one part of a very large subject (for example, one of the fifty states or one of the American presidents). Examples of search indexes are KidsClick and Awesome Library.
     
  • Search Engines
    A search engine is a tool to help you sort through the millions of pages on the World Wide Web. When you type a search request, the search engine provides a list of websites that match your request and links to take you to those sites. The websites you find on a search engine are not reviewed or selected by humans; they are selected by a computer program and a robot. Google is a search engine.
     
  • Meta-Search Tools
    A meta-search tool is a search engine that searches other search tools (try saying that ten times fast!). When you type a search request, the meta-search tool will provide a list of results from several search engines and indexes. Examples of meta-search tools are Ask Kids and Dogpile.
     
  • Databases
    A database is a collection of information that is organized to be searched by using a computer. Skokie Public Library has many databases, some of them made just for kids. Examples of our kids’ databases are Searchasaurus and World Book Online.

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Not Sure Where to Start?

  • Browse or search the Library’s Databases A to Z to get started on just about any school project.
  • Answer a few questions about what you’re looking for and NoodleQuest will get you started on the Internet.
  • When you know what you need, but you’re not quite sure where to start searching, NoodleTools can steer you in the right Web direction.

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