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Search engine FAQ

Search engine FAQ -...

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Only a few years ago, the phrase "Web search" did not exist. Then the term began to move rapidly into  the awareness of information professionals, about as fast as a Japanese bullet train. Today, much,  though not all, of the work we do revolves in one way or another around the Web.  With so much to keep on top of, precious time becomes even more precious. A couple of years ago I  wrote an article trying to figure out a way to make the day 26 or 27 hours long. Unfortunately, that idea  never reached the implementation stage, though it remains an idea worth considering. Even within the  narrow bonds of 24/7/365, we must all still try to keep up to date about what is happening with Web  search engines. The fact that they seem to change on a weekly, if not daily basis, is no excuse.  We as professionals do not use every search engine or Web directory daily, nevertheless, we have to  know how each works and what data each does and  does not  contain. I fully understand that this is easier  said than done but today, information access is a topic that everyone is aware of and talking about. Pick  up any newspaper. Turn on the television. Everyday more and more articles and reports discuss  searching the Web. Many of these articles and reports are written for and by non-information  professionals. We have to stay ahead of our clients and patrons if we hope to help them. Excite or  AllTheWeb may not be your search engines of choice, but I bet they are for someone you know. Our  colleagues, co-workers, and friends come to us as the "search experts" and we must do our best to help.  Our knowledge and understanding in this area are great ways to make our profession look good and to  make our already valuable jobs even more valuable.  With this said, the following reviews the latest goings on in the search world and tries to provide some  suggestions and tools to make you more knowledgeable and save you some time. 
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Scope Notes Before we begin, we need to get a definition  straight — a definition that I think many of us  have thought about. What does "Web search"  mean to the information professional? In the early  days of the Web, it meant exactly how it sounds  — material found on the open Web.  However, as we move forward, the term "Web  search" has taken on new meanings. Does a Web  search involve tools like Google or AltaVista to  reach "open access" material? Does it mean  using the Web as a vehicle to log on to  proprietary databases such as Factiva or Dialog? 
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