Laurie Floyd-Searching Tips Using Google: Unlike databases, the word AND is assumed so you do not have to include it. If you want to eliminate a word, use a minus sign. (Turkey –bird) For compound words, phrases or names, use quote marks. The root form of a word looks for all forms of the word. (sing=sings, singing, singer) To avoid that, add + in front of the word (+sing will only give you sing). To search with other words of similar meaning, use a ~ (tilde). (~large planet will also yield big, vast, giant) Use the * as a wild card for a word you are unsure of in a phrase or title in quotes. (“Obama voted on the * bill). One of the easiest things to do to find more specific and better results is to click on “Advanced Search” and use the boxes there to narrow your results. To search within a country’s version of Google, use “Advanced Search” and put the country’s code into the domain box. Here is a link to all of Google’s county’s codes http://code.google.com/apis/adwords/docs/appendix/countrycodes.html Important pointer to teach the kids: once on the website that you think has what you are looking for (but you don’t see it right away) use ctl F to search directly on the page. This saves a lot of time! Other cool Google tips: Weather, spelling, calculator, sports scores, measurement, time, reverse phone number look up. Other Search Engines: Bing, Ask, Yahoo. NO search engine accesses the entire web. For serious research, you need to use more than one. Helping your kids judge websites (including Wikipedia): http://library.valpo.edu/user/evaluation.html is a great site for help on this. A Checklist for the kids (you can cut and paste this into your own document): Dupe Detector: A checklist to help surfers begin determining if information found on a website is true or not*. Website: Trustworthy Questionable 1. Do large companies you know advertise on the site? Yes □ No □ 2. Are there any ‘dead links’, or links to ‘moved pages’? No □ Yes □ 3. Do the images support the stated facts? Yes □ No □ 4. Is the site hosted by a credible provider and reside in a ‘trustworthy’ domain. Yes □ No □ 5. Are there links and references to other web sites, resources and experts that corroborate this information? Yes □ No □ 6. Is the resource available in another format? Yes □ No □ 7. Do the site’s authors have other publications with credible sites and publishers? Yes □ No □ 8. Are the sites authors experts in the subject? (Do they have any credentials or experience around the topic?) Yes □ No □ 9. Is contact information provided and does the place/email exist and work? Yes □ No □ 10. Does the site present highly biased visuals (e.g. racist statements, derogatory remarks, and emotional language)? No □ Yes □ 11. Is the site professional (grammar and typing errors are not present or very minimal)? Yes □ No □ Totals**: * There are many reasons why Internet information may be considered false or untrustworthy. Thus there are many ways in determining if information is trustworthy and true. The questions on this form help middle school and secondary surfers begin to explore some of the most obvious and easily detected flaws (falsehoods) in web site information. The following are additional information into each of the 11 aforementioned items: 1. Usually large companies do not advertise on spoof and parody sites because the ‘marginalized’ messages usually tarnish the public’s perception of the company. The exception occurs when the site attracts a large audience and/or the message is seen as ‘clean’, acceptable, humour. 2. Most parody and spoof sites are not kept current, thus links are often broken. 3. Usually visuals support the site’s message. Usually when the text and pictures don’t agree with one another, the information becomes unclear and questionable. 4. Usually the domain (.com, .org are known as domains) matches the website’s content. For example, the ‘official’ Vatican website resides in the Vatican State and has the extension .va (see vatican.va/). The Vatican parody site ends with the domain .com (see popedope.com). more on domains can be found at: http://www.sosig.ac.uk/desire/offline/3_5.html. 5 & 6. Information from other experts in the field, who do not post their information in the same site, usually indicates that the information is trustworthy. 6 & 7. Material also published in books (and in the public library) usually means the information has been checked by editors for false or unreliable information. 8. Doctorates from a recognized university in the websites content usually indicates trustworthy information. Go to the post secondary website to determine if the person and or the degree issued is valid. 9. Incorrect email or address often indicates the authors will not stand behind the site’s information. 10. Usually highly emotional and negative language indicates perspectives that are irrational, inflammatory, and biased. 11. Typing and grammatical mistakes usually indicates similar lack of care in accuracy of information. ** Two or more check marks in the questionable column indicates a good chance that the website’s information is questionable and likely not reliable and true. This is a fake website created by the University of Michigan that you can send the kids to if you want to test their ability to find credible sites: http://www.umich.edu/~engtt516/ This is an overall guide on doing research in the digital age for students: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=111939489&CRID=nullCRnull&OFFID=newsletter20101114dd Our Databases: Go to the school’s website and click on “Online Media Center Catalog”. User name and password are the same for all sites: . User name: cnhs Password: colts EbscoHost probably is the most useful for our purposes (scholarly resources for us and the kids—great for research papers). Has a lot of journals, newspapers, etc to search. Facts on File is more like an encyclopedia online BUT has some good teacher resources and lots of primary sources. Gale Virtual Reference Library: Full text versions of reference or encyclopedia entries. (just needs user name). Finally—don’t assume that students are good searchers; they are not. Teach them how to search effectively and you will actually help them to become “life-long learners”.