Friday, November 28, 2008

Browsing Practice

There are very few searches that do not involve browsing, that is, clicking hyperlinks. The main exception occurs when you find what you are looking for in snippets without visiting the site where the information is found (not a sound research strategy).

To keep browsing skills sharp, try a couple of these challenges. Using only a mouse, navigate Google's Directory to find:

  • The name of the elephant that teaches children about Internet Safety.
  • A live web cam featuring eagles.

The hardest part about browsing is to figure out which keyword or tag leads in the direction you need to go. Words choices typically start vague (hypernyms) and become increasingly specific (hyponymns) until the exact information is found. With a Subject Directory, there are often multiple routes to the information destination. Since the categories are created by humans and reflect the popularity of searches, the "right" words are not always easy to guess unless you're the "average" citizen.

If you get stuck and don't believe it can be done, go ahead and type in keywords in the search engine that sits on top of the directory (use the search box on the directory page). Examine the results and you'll see the successful paths you could have taken to get to the information.

I love a challenge. If you have something you want others to find bt browsing the Subject Directory, post your challenge here!

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