This is a convenient spot from which to conduct Advanced Searches in the major Search Engines.
Advanced Search Forms (when needed) as well as some specific engine insights are presented here.
For more information about Advanced Searches, specifically use of Boolean terms please click
HERE.

If you can't find what you're looking for from this page, try one of these:
AltaVista InfoSeek Lycos Excite
Open Text WebCrawler Yahoo!! HotBot
Link to another great search page EBCC for Central PA


Use the right tool for the job

You wouldn't use a hammer to cut through a board. You wouldn't use a saw to hang a picture. Well, maybe you would, but your edges might be a little rough or your wall might get a few scratches on it. Simply put, your results wouldn't be as good as they could be if you simply used the right tool. This page is designed to help you get more accurate search results.

Internet Search Engines are tools and each has characteristics and abilities that make it better suited for certain types of searching. The good news is that each of these powerful WebSites has cataloged multi-millions of pages and, in response to your queries, can retrieve them quickly.

The "bad" news is that, although these things can find every page with every occurance of your query's keywords, in order to find what you're looking for you may have to dig through far more "junk" than you might like. (Junk, being defined as hundreds or thousands of pages which do not really deal with the topic at hand.)

These search engines are not all created equally. Each of them is very good, and each has particular strengths which make it better at finding certain kinds of internet content. Almost all of them have "advanced" features which allow you to narrow your searches in order to weed out some of the "junk".

The following piece is designed to help you get the most out of your searches. This material has been culled from personal experience, the "Help" and "Advanced Search" pages on each of the search engines sites as well as an article in the October, 1996 issue of PC Computing Magazine. The search engines being described are: AltaVista, InfoSeek, Lycos, Excite, The Open Text Index, WebCrawler", and Yahoo!!.


Boolean Basics
In our examples below we are searching for pages about whales. Each search engine treats certain cases slightly differently so please read the exceptions in the sections below. Also, keep in mind that you may have to "play around" with your queries until you really ask for what you really want.

Computers are not smart. You've got to tell them what to do and they will do exactly what you tell them and no more.

To do this: Boolean Type something like this example:



S

  I

    M

S     P

  E     L

    A     E

      R

        C

          H




N/A


whale

  • Returns multiple thousands of references.
  • (Watch out...using a query like this will also return pages containing the words whaler or whales, but not whaling.
  • 
    
    
    I
    
      N
    
        C
    
          L
    
    W       U
    
      O       D
    
        R       E
    
          D
    
    
    
    
    
    AND
    
    
    
    whale AND physiology
    
    
  • This brings back only pages with both whale and physiology on the same page.
  • 
    
    
    E
    
      X
    
        C
    
          L
    
    W       U
    
      O       D
    
        R       E
    
          D
    
    
    
    
    
    NOT
    
    
    
    whale NOT physiology
    
    
  • This should return only pages not dealing with the physiology of whales.
  • 
    
    
    P
    
      R
    
        O
    
          X
    
            I
    
              M
    
                I
    
                  T
    
                    Y
    
    
    
    
    
    NEAR
    
    
    
    whale NEAR physiology
    
    
  • Returns pages with the words whale and physiology near each other on the page. (Each search engine defines "NEAR" in it's own way. Usually measured in either characters or words.) (See individual engines sections for correct usage.)

  • Boolean Combinations
    By using Boolean terms in various combinations with one another you can further refine your search terms to nail down exactly what you're seeking. Check out these examples:
    Type This: And you'll get this:
    
    whale AND Alaska NOT "mating habits"
    
    
  • Returns pages containing whale and Alaska, but eliminates pages with the phrase "mating habits". NOTE: Many engines want to see quotation marks surrounding phrases, but there are some exceptions. See individual Search Engine sections.)
  • 
    physiology AND whale AND course
    
    
  • Returns pages which describe courses on whale physiology.

  • If you can't find what you're looking for from this page, try one of these:
    AltaVista InfoSeek Lycos Excite
    Open Text WebCrawler Yahoo!! HotBot
    Link to another great search page EBCC for Central PA

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