Although there are many search
tools on the Internet, most of the following tips will only work with AltaVista.
Go to the Alta
Vista web site at http://www.altavista.com
Read each section, try the strategy listed. Record your results! You can then
redo the exercise using other search tools.
1. Use the "+" and the "-" operators between words or phrases
Prefix your search words with the "+"to indicate that they MUST occur
in a page to be considered a hit, and use "-" to exclude pages. For
will find only pages that contain BOTH words. By adding an exclusion term as
shown below, the number of hits drops will be greatly reduced.
2. Never us one word for a search. Use quotes for phrases. If you really want
to find fiction stories (and not just pages with those words) put the request
inside quotation marks. The search
"fiction stories" -science
will yield many fewer hits. It will be more manageable.
3. Use the "host" and "domain" keywords
Try looking for a specific word or word at just one website by using a search
"George Washington" +host: www.whitehouse.gov (no space after host)
+"George Washington" +host:www.timeforkids.com
The first will find articles about George Washington published only at the White
House website, and yields just 73 hits. The second, using Time For Kids found
only 7 hits.
You can also exclude a website or an entire domain from a search or request
only a specific domain.
+"George Washington" -domain: com (then exclude these) -domain: net
-domain: org or if you only want sites that end in edu add +domain: edu
This example eliminates all documents from an entire domain (commercial), and
the addition of other domains eliminates those as well.
4. Use the "title" keyboard
If you're looking for pages on a specific topic, instead of pages that just
contain certain words, try limiting your search like so: (no space after title)
This often helps to weed out unwanted hits. The fact that someone bothered to
categorize their page with a <TITLE> keyword should help you get better
quality matching documents. Of course, some words will be specific to get results.
5. Use the "image" keyboard
Looking for a special photo or icon? Try something like this:
image: George Washinton.jpg
or click the "image" tab at the top of the Search Engine to request
6. Use the "link" and "URL" keyboard
The "link" keyword finds pages that contain a link to another pages,
and the "url" keyword finds pages with specific characters in the
address. Here are some examples:
link: whitehouse.gov - finds pages linked to the official WhiteHouse site
url: language arts worksheets - finds pages with "language arts worksheet"
in the address
7. Multimedia Searches
Searching for specific forms of multimedia on the Internet is relatively easy.
In addition to identifying your major topic or theme, consider adding the file
extension type to your search. For example, to locate a sound file for a wolf
you might use
The extensions used for the various media formats may include:
.au, .aiff, .wav, .midi, .mp3, ra
.gif, .jpg, .tiff, .bmp
.mov, mpg, .movie, .moov, .avi, .rm
Test your browser's ability to handle various formats at: