Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Speculative Searching: A Hyponym Challenge

Speculative searching: information fluency techniques for finding information when you don't know for certain what words to search with or where to look.

I'm sure that could be stated more elegantly, but I think you get the idea. Most searches start off as speculative searches. We have a general idea what we're looking for but are unaware of the keywords needed to finish the search.

Successful searching usually requires finding more specific keywords that finally lead to sought-after information. Those more specific keywords may be classified as hyponyms. Buick is a hyponym for car. Terraza, a specific model, is a hyponym for Buick.  Hyponyms are often proper nouns or professional language that is specific to the field.

You don't have to be an expert in the field to find the hyponyms. The words often appear in snippets.

Here's a hyponym challenge.

Look closely at the photo. Find information about the product she is wearing.

What do you see? Write down the words that come to mind that you could use as search terms.

Search for those words and look at the snippets for more specific terms. Use the more specific terms in your query. Terms that you should be able to find include the material from which the product is made and the name of the company that makes it.

Post those terms in the comments and the keywords you used to start with.

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