20 Search Tips

A good presentation by Mary Ellen Bates of Bates Information Services in the US listing her top 20 search tips. These were a little oriented to the research community but interesting nevertheless.

I arrived a little late so I only caught 19 of the 20 but I’ve asked for the presentation so. I’ll update later (as well as correcting any mistakes as I couldn’t see the screen!)

1. Use My Yahoo (or similar from Jeeves or Google) to keep a record of where you have searched so you can search within the results for greater accuracy in the future

2. Search podcasts – serious information providers have taken to them very quickly
3. Use furl.net to archive pages you want to find later
4. Use Wikipedia
5. Use “squishy boolean” when searching paid online services
6. Use the Mindset service to tell the search engine whether you are shopping or researching
7. Use search engine hybrids like Scirus, Yahoo subscription services or Zoominfo for specialist information
8. Use Blogpulse to see trend information on what’s being talked about in the blogsphere
9. Put multiple competitors into a research search to eliminate individual company websites (as competitors never mention each other!)

10. Complex searches don’t work on the web
11. Compare search engines. Dogpile research found 85% difference on the first page results of the popular search engines

12. Xceline.com (?) Is the best advance feature search engine on the web with things like proximity searches
13. Collect examples of spoofing to educate colleagues – see www.wto.org and www.gatt.org for two entirely opposing views of globalisation

14. Use data visualisation tools like Grokker and the heat map of Google news
15. See incominglinks.com for a list of specialised web portals
16. See the YQ service from Yahoo! for a contextual search that looks at what you are reading
17. See Site Explorer from Yahoo! for advanced search features like links to etc
18. Check out SIPs (stastically improbable phrases) from Amazon for improving book searches
19. Check out the widgets available from www.confabulator.com which let’s you do web thinks on your desktop.

Shell knowledge system

Peter Breithaupt from Shell talked about a start-up called Shell Energy Efficiency which builkt in knowledge management from day one. The company offers energy efficieny advice to companies on a shared benefit basis and the problem is there are a thousand engineers scattered around the world and often the expertise in, say, papermills is not where the work is. So the problem was solved by the KM system built on SiteScope – an internet-based collaboration system, Knovel, a small US company offering online reference books, and an internal document management system called LifeLink.

How to get the engineers usine the system? Well, he says, somewhat improbably, make the system fun not administration. More effective is probably the system of rewards in return for making a sensible information request which later is researched, written up and posted on the system, or for making significant numbers of "qualified replies".