Curiouser and Curiouser...

My Adventures in blogging, digital and Public History

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Googling Off!

I have to admit that I started with the Google search because honestly, I knew I had a limited idea of how this search engine worked. The simple search indicated that the most ‘relevant’ hit appears first. Of course I couldn’t help wondering, relevant to whom?

The advanced search was actually a revelation. I have used it before but after reading the Essentials of a Google Search page, I realised how much I had forgotten ( or how little I really knew in the first place.)

In order to put this new knowledge to the test, I skipped to the Web history scavenger hunt. The first item to find was a sound recording of Leon Trotsky speaking English. I used a simple search and typed “Trotsky speaks English”.( without the quotation marks) I was actually directed to many student blogs from the class which was originally assigned this task. Now I had a dilemma. Should I click on one of the blogs and read about how someone else had found the recording? Was this cheating? I decided that the object of the hunt was to find the items as quickly as possible so I read through the student blogs and from there it was just a matter of finding the correct answer. There were however a couple of problems: some of the links provided were dead and others pages wouldn’t load. Finding the sound recording was probably the most difficult task for me.

Finding lines from poems or speeches was really easy. I just used a Phrase Search and enclosed the specific lines in quotes and within seconds I had an answer.

Needless to say, I did not find all of the required items but I did manage to figure out why I couldn’t. Some of the items such as "Annual Review of Information Technology Developments for Economic and Social Historians, 1993" in The Economic History Review were only accessible through a private or gated web. Basically you have to have a paid membership to access some of these online journals.

No I didn’t finish in the allotted time and no I did not manage to find all the things I was looking for. Fortunately though, I did learn some tips and tricks to help me navigate the web and help me in my research-mission accomplished!


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