Web Search Engines and Me

My Exploration


Table of Contents

Introduction: The Beginning
Data Collection: The Search For Stuff
Prior Generational Reports: Before Me
Conclusion: Final Thoughts
Instructions

Introduction: The Beginning

Everyone is curious and wants to learn more information. To receive this information, they can ask others, research it in books, etc., etc. Yet, that could be time consuming. The fastest and easiest way would be to use the internet, or a web search engine. There are many different search engines to choose from, each with their own unique tools, like Alta Vista, Webcrawler, Excite, Yahoo, the list goes on. For this report, I will use Alta Vista and Webcrawler to collect my data. I will then list my findings including some personal information regarding my search. I will also give a rating of my search experience. Next, I will consult prior generational reports to compare their experiences and problems with my own. And then end with my conclusion and suggestions for future generations.

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Data Collection: The Search For Stuff

Search Report Data Sheets

Freediving Bodyboarding
Underwater Photography Puka Shells
Simpsons
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Prior Generational Reports: Before Me

In order to fullfill our learning of search engines, we had to look back at prior generations reports to see what processes they went through to learn about search engines. So I searched through the reports of generation 4.

The first report I came upon was Kathy Morifuji's. She briefly explained her own definition of what she thought search engines are to her and what her experiences were like using them. She also discussed prior generations reports, like what I'm doing now. She then went on to explain briefly about a couple of search engines and then discussed her attempts at using 3 different engines to find some information on a topic. And finally went on to say what she learned in the entire process. A good report, although it was a little short on details.

The next report I came upon was Carol Ohta's. She too began her report with her personal interpretation of what a search engine is to her. To her it's an easy way to look for information and that it's like a library, only bigger and more updated. Which I believe is true too. She then talks about what it's like to use a search engine if you're inexperienced using one. She then gives a little more detailed discussion of how 3 different search engines work. To find out how they work and the differences between the 3, visit each engine and just click on everything to see what happens. Her report then ends with a discussion of her learning experience with search engines. This was a very good report, check it out.

The third report I came to was Jill Umetsu's. She also talks about what a search engine is to her (they all had to do this). Also about being inexperienced with usin a search engine (they all had to do this too), and how search engines work (and this). Then she talks about her experience using 3 different search engines to find information (and this) and what she learned throughout the whole process (and lastly this).

It was good to see that others experienced the same problems and stuff like I did, that everyone goes through the same process in order to gain some experience. The biggest problem they all seemed to have in common was that the results they found weren't related to what they were searching. To alleviate this problem, they either changed their search statement or added Boolean operators. They also changed search engines, maybe getting better results from another source. Another big problem they seemed to all have was the time it took to download stuff, it took too long. To solve this, some of them just stopped it and went to another site, others let it go and did other things to pass the time away, like making something to eat and when thay came back it was finished downloading. Another problem was what to search and what words to use. To solve this one, they either brainstormed to find a topic, searched a topic they were doing in another class, or searched whatever interested them. And deciding what words to use, they used whatever they were searching for and if it didn't produce good results, they either added/deleted words and Boolean operators or searched another topic related to the topic of their search. They also had problems with connecting to UNIX from their home, which they either got an account with a different company and it became faster or tried to connect at different times when there would be less people trying to connect.

All these problems they encountered, I encountered also. In regards to not getting relevant results, there were many times I got results that didn't pertain to what I was searching, but there were also times where I got mostly all relevant results. To solve this problem, I also added/deleted words and Boolean operators to change my search statement, but I didn't change engines. I didn't change engines because for this report, we had to stick with 2 engines, but I did do it on my free time to see what results I would get. I also had a problem with downloading time, but I didn't let it bother me. I either let it load and did other things so when I came back it would be finished, or I stopped it and re-did it again. I never stopped it and tried another site because the reason I was clicking on this site in the first place was because it looked interesting and I really wanted to view it. I also had a problem with my search statement. I didn't have a problem with what topic to search for because I searched what I was really interested in, my hobbies. To make my search statement most efficient, I kept the amount of words to a minimum because that's when I seemed to find the best results,of course sometimes I didn't, but that's expected. And I also had a problem connecting to UNIX. Like the others, I tried it at different times or I just went to school and used the computers there. I also had a problem with time. I seemed to always run out of time. So I had to really budget my time wisely and use the computer only when I had plenty of time to spare. That way I didn't rush what I was doing and do a bad job. I also noticed I had a problem with my mood. If I was in a bad mood or tired when I used the computer, I would lose my patience and cut corners to make my search go as fast as possible. Yet, when I was in a good mood, I took my sweet old time and looked over everything more thoroughly. Everyone is going to run into problems when they use computers. And the best way to solve this is to understand that there will be problems and to use constructive ways to work around these problems. Also it helps to be in a good mood when you use a computer and to make sure you have ample time to do what you have to do.

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Conclusion: Final Thoughts

This was a very interesting experience. It was my first time at really using a search engine. It was relatively quite easy looking for information, faster, and more fun. I learned how to use search engines and that before you actually use them, you should learn everything about them, by clicking on everything on the main page to help make your search easier and better. And you should do this for all search engines, not just one because every engine is different and has its own features, plu you get different results from each engine. I also learned how my mood/personality affects my searches. I learned to be more patient, that everything doesn't just pop up on the screen right after you click on it (which before I used computers, I thought it did). I also learned that the Web is huge, there is so much information and it's constantly being updated. I didn't think I would be so fascinated with computers, I learned a lot about myself and computers.

As for future generations, don't procrastinate. Do things when you have the time because if you finish it faster, you'll have more time to improve it so you can get an "A". Also expect to run into problems no matter what you are doing on the computer. And when you do, don't wait until the last minute to ask for help. Ask the person sitting next to you, ask the lab monitor, ask a fellow student, ask Dr. James, ask anybody. Just ask as soon as it happens. Also be in a good mood and make sure you have enough time to do what you want. Being in a good mood makes the searching easier and more fun, and having plenty of time also makes it easier and more fun. That way you don't have to rush to finish things. And lastly, don't look at this class like it's difficult, it's not. Just go in there with the right attitude, have fun, and you'll have an easy time with the class and get a good grade in the process.

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My Exploration of the Generational Curriculum Labyrinth | My Home Page | Report 1: GCDL--The Generational Curriculum Digital Library. |Report 2: Web Search Engines and Me. |My Newsgroups Report |My Bookmarks File |My Icons File |My G7 Class Home Page |Dr. Leon James' Home Page

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