Be a Super Searcher

I am an almost religious Google searcher. I need to know what the weight of the world is: Google. I need to find out if it’s raining in Edinburgh today: Google. I need to know where babies come from: Google. I think it might be a chronic, untreatable condition.


Image from the Better Parenting Institute

So when the opportunity to take a Super Searcher one day seminar come up over the library listserv presented by Andrew Youngkin from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, I almost deleted the email. I have Google in my back pocket (literally!) what else do I need? I hate to turn down precious professional development hours, however, so I sign up and, to my surprise, learned a lot of fact-finding resources out in cyberspace that I might actually use. I thought I’d compile a list of my favorites for your reading (and searching) pleasure.

Google Advanced – Now this is a resource I have used before, but I felt like it was worth mentioning. This is Google on steroids. One of the best things about using this resource for a while is that you start to pick up shortcuts. For example, I now add “site:.edu” to the end of standard searches when I want to only search .edu domains. http://www.google.ca/advanced_search

Microsoft Academic Search – This is actually an amazing resource for finding out information about academics and their works…if you can get it to work. The program is still rough and often runs very slowly, but it includes such nifty extras as visual webs showing the connections between scholars and their co-authors and bios on prominent (and some less prominent  academics. A great resource for graduate students and academic librarians. http://academic.research.microsoft.com/,

The Wayback Machine – This site provides access to an assortment of archived websites going back to 1996. Great resource for middle and high schoolers and just plain fun for everyone else.  http://www.archive.org/

Cyber Cemetery- Another website for defunct websites, but this time with a distinct government flavor. http://govinfo.library.unt.edu

Blekko Surprisingly useful search engine.  It keeps spam and ads limited.  In their search box, you can type in what you are searching for, leave a space, and then type “/monte.”  It will conduct the search on Google, Bing, and Blekko and present the results in three columns (three card monte).  You can then easily see which site provides the most reliable results for that particular search. www.blekko.com

Wolfram Alpha – This search engine, found at www.wolframalpha.com, is one of my new favorites (though it hasn’t yet dethroned Google).  It can compare cities, provide statistical information, etc.  It will even tell you where babies come from, “their mother.”  It definitely takes its cue form Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.”

If you’d like to take a look at his course material, you can find it here: http://nnlm.gov/training/supersearcher

Happy searching!


5 comments on “Be a Super Searcher

  1. Wow! I need to go exploring through this post – I may need to bring some provisions and a tent! Thanks for sharing.

  2. What an informative entry! I’m sure I’ll be using blekko quite a bit now that I’m aware of it — thanks!

  3. How cool is this! I’ll have to have a geek-out session as soon as the semester is over.

  4. I had heard about the Google advanced search option, but I didn’t know you could filter results. I hadn’t heard about the Wolfram Alpha site, but it sounds like it could be useful. I’ve used a meta search engine called dogpile before, it sounds similar to blekko.

  5. Hello Maryska,
    I liked the picture of the cat operating the mouse on the desktop. The cat looks like a super searcher and he looks like he know what he is doing. Oh yes, I heard that statement on a local channel, “Google is on steroid”.

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