WebSearchGuide Updates and Comparison Charts
Forwarded to you from a library association list to which I belong. I thought this could be of interest to you. Plus if you find any useful in tracking down your roots, please do a write-up for the upcoming issue (October 2010, deadline August 1, 2010) on Tweets and Tools.
Editor, Chinook, 2008 Winner of the National Genealogical Society Local Newsletter Award
[Apologies for cross posting.]
The Research tutorials in WebSearchGuide.ca (WSG) have been updated to reflect changes since March 2009.
2009 was a remarkable year. Microsoft really stirred things up in introducing Bing. Bing web search handles very nicely but it might be a bit of a stretch to call it a decision engine. It is good on consumer questions - health, travel, shopping - and may improve in other areas. Bing has a good orientation video to show how it can help with decisions. However, mostly we are thankful that Bing's inventive display prodded Google to introduce Show Options with many more views - especially the Timeline and Wonderwheel. Yahoo didn't just roll over and die in anticipation of the partnership in 2010 with Microsoft either. It finally found more ways to show off the Search Assist and has had web site developers enhancing the display of their search results. As well, Google and Bing beefed up image and video search.
WSG highlights all of this and more in new pages about the four main search engines: Ask, Bing, Google, and Yahoo, and about multimedia search. There are other search engines. We look at Cuil - much improved, great for identifying categories, and can be linked to Facebook - impressive results. There is also Kosmix, excellent at creating a dossier or profile page on a topic from the full range of Web resources. Of course, the story in 2009 was about Twitter and real-time search. We see how Google, Bing, and Yahoo handle this.
Other search engine updates concern metasearch engines - Web search is largely the same, but Leapfish.com handles multimedia and real time search, and there are some search comparison engines that pit Google against Bing.
Subject directories continue to deteriorate. LII.org and IPL.org have finally merged and formed ipl2.org. Directories are not entirely dead. RefSeek.com, which aims to serve students and researchers, has a small set of recommended tools.
The WSG updates include some edits to the search engine comparison charts for the major engines, showing features and syntax constructions. Edits to these were minor for syntax, although some engines have new features. I removed Gigablast on the grounds that it is no longer competitive. You may want to print new copies of the charts or guides.
People who are new to web searching would get most value from working through the section on search syntax ( http://www.websearchguide.ca/research/synfram.htm), and the new pages on Ask, Bing, Google and Yahoo.
Web Search Guide at http://www.websearchguide.ca/
What's New has a review of the main changes - http://www.websearchguide.ca/whatsnew.htm
Comparison charts are at http://www.websearchguide.ca/research/compfram.htm
Internet News blog at http://www.websearchguide.ca/netblog/
The next Mastering Web Searching course starts February 8, 2010. This course is offered through Professional Learning Centre of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. People who complete this seven-week course will be masterful in web search strategies and tools. Students who have already taken this course are welcome to audit it for updates and a refresher. More information and registration is at http://plc.fis.utoronto.ca/coursedescription.asp?courseid=3.
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