How to effectively “search” on the Internet

We may have a great deal of information at our fingertips these days, but not everyone knows how to find it. Students who are unable to search effectively will be at a disadvantage, creating a 'digital divide' between them and the students who can. It's not just a question of simply entering a phrase or keywords into a search engine, so students must learn how to conduct a search. This is a skill that teachers are failing to pass on. So this is how to search:
Quotation Marks
When looking for an exact phrase or quote, place it in quotation marks. "The Napoleonic wars" will bring up relevant information, whereas simply typing in the words without quotation marks will bring up lots of pages mentioning "Napoleonic" and other wars.
Placed before a word, this will exclude information that you don't want. So if you want pages on Napoleon, but want to exclude anything on Waterloo, search Napoleon -Waterloo.
Two Periods
This can be used to look for information between two numbers. For example, if you want to learn about Napoleon's early life, try Napoleon 1769..1780.
Site Search
To search only specific sites, type Delacroix or Delacroix
Country Codes
Sometimes you only want to search pages from a particular country, to exclude irrelevant information or get a particular perspective. Type the country code (e.g. .uk or .fr).
Primary Sources
There are many benefits to learning history through primary sources. The best way to search for primary sources is to filter Google News rather than the general Google search.
Something everyone should know about – filter bubbles
Every search you undertake on Google adds to your “filter” profile. The results your search returns is filtered and determined by algorithms working on your past search history, likes and location. This can seriously skew search results and also explains why two people searching the same term receive different results. The way around this is to search “incognito” (open new incognito window in your browser).

No comments: