Searching the Internet

WHILE there is hardly any information not available on the world wide web, locating the same can easily be a formidable task.

Type a word like "Tamil" in the search box of any search engine and hit Enter, you will be confounded by the response "top 20 web results of about 1,900,000."

It is interesting to note that out of about 20 people asked to find the longest name for a daily in a maximum of 30 minutes, only two found the same and that too in less than 5 minutes. One of them took only 30 seconds.

Technique consequently makes considerable difference. Yet, as the need for information is universal, even the layman will be benefited by a few tips to make the search results more sensible even when the number of matches are large.

Avoid prepositions and conjunctions. Use singular nouns and plural verbs avoiding `ing' endings. For example, quality test is to be preferred to quality testing. Likewise `novel dickens' or `dickens novel' is to be preferred to `novels of dickens'. Searches are generally not case sensitive.

Change the order of words. If the matches are turning out to be irrelevant this will give better results.

Use quotes. If any set of words have to be necessarily together, searches with these words within quotes will not show the matches where the words are not together. For instance, search for `information technology' within quotes will not show matches containing `information about technology'.

British verses American English. Colour is British spelling for color. Sometimes it will be useful to search for each separately. Likewise apartment is American for flat, elevator is American for lift etc. Again, organization is American for organisation.

Use the + sign. By using the + sign between words, one ensures the matches contain both words not necessarily contiguous. E.g.: tamil+language

Use the - sign. By using the - sign between words one ensures the matches do contain reference to word preceded by a minus sign. E.g.: tamil-language (note that there is no gap between `-' and the word) for seeking references to tamil other than language.

Search synonyms separately. `Home furniture' and `House furniture' can be tried out separately.

Searching company web sites

Search for `The Hindu', `Indian Airlines' etc. Avoid Ltd, Pvt etc.

Sumptuous, satisfying, swift surfing awaits you. Enjoy!

Hariharan. N

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