Web Searching 1: Essential Tools and Tips
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
February 23 - March 22, 2010
"Google it" is the way a lot of people find information. Often, we (and our library users) "ask Google" and are amazed how often it works. But what about the times when it doesn't? Even when we know the answer is on the Web, we cannot construct a search that provides just what we need. Or, we get millions of search results and wonder what we did wrong. We may lack an effective search strategy for navigating the billions of websites and other online resources that are out there. Do you find yourself wondering:
- What goes on in search engines? How do they "think" about searching?
- What are today's best search engines aside from Google? Why are they the best?
- What are the most useful search commands? Will they work beyond Google?
- How can I create searches that effectively zero in on just what I need?
- When should I turn from a search engine to a subject directory like ipl2?
- How can I find good, relevant subject directories?
- Which search strategies work best for different kinds of information?
- How can I quickly evaluate my search results?
In this course, you will explore answers to all these questions and more. You will gain an understanding of search engines and general subject directories, ways to use them to find information quickly and efficiently, and an overall strategy applicable to most Web searching. It is designed for those who may be new to Web searching, as well as those who want to refresh and update their search skills.
Course Description: This four-week online learning course is designed to enhance your speed and confidence in deciding where, why, and how to search. Through background readings, quizzes, and hands-on exercises, you will be able to practice the essential tools and tips of Web searching. The instructor will provide cheat sheets that will help you apply the skills after the course is completed. You will also participate in online discussion forums and have a chance to submit real questions from your own experience. In a "ready for anything" exercise, your search successes and frustrations will be discussed in terms of the strategies offered in this course.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week One: The Best Web Search Engines Today
- How search engines work
- Strengths and weaknesses of the best search engines
- Essential search principles shared by almost all search engines
- Week Two: Using Limiter Commands to Focus Your Search Results
- Essential limiter commands and how they work
- Building effective searches using and combining limiter commands
- Week Three: When to Turn to Subject Directories
- The best general subject directories today
- Using Google to find specialized subject directories and link-rich pages
- The essentials of evaluating what you find on the web
- Week Four: Being "Ready for Anything"
- Developing search strategies for different kinds of questions
- Analyzing questions, learning as you go, and remaining flexible
Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ to 3 hours per week. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, it is recommended that you complete each week's assignments within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the library community with an interest in improving his or her skills and efficiency in finding information on the Web. This course is appropriate for support staff/paraprofessionals. It covers the essentials of using search engines and subject directories, how to integrate them into your search strategies, and how to evaluate information found on the Web. A follow-up course, Web Searching 2, covers advanced tools and tips.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday February 23, 2010.
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