Every ... search engine is equipped with tools ... ... Taking the time to learn how to use them ... improve your search results for some types of ...
Every significant search engine is equipped with tools called Boolean operators. Taking the time to learn how to use them can drastically improve your search results for some types of searches. Unfortunately most of us are completely unaware they even exist.
An Example of the power of the Boolean tools is the use of the word "and" in narrowing down your search area. It could actually mean the difference in receiving 10,000 returned results and only 100.
The Boolean tools are so powerful at doing what they do, a number of search engines are automatically incorporating them into their searches. In other words, if your using one of these search e- sources to search for "maps,Africa" what your actually searching for is "maps and Africa". This can be a good thing. Without the "and" in your search in the above example your results would include thousands of unwanted "map" sites. With the inclusion of the "and" your results will only contain map sites with Africa included.
At the same time if your unaware of the Boolean tools use of the "and" in your search it can just as easily filter out results that are 100% pertinent to your query.
An example of this would be a search string like " maps, Africa, poverty," This could be a very legitimate search if you were doing a paper on the areas of poverty in Africa. Unfortunately if the search e-source your using is also automatically using Boolean tools your search results will all have to contain the words "maps and Africa and poverty" thus narrowing your results down far beyond anything you really wanted. (see list of automatic Bolean search e-sources at the end of this article)
What does all this really mean for you and your searches? Well actually it means quite a bit. If your unaware of how the search e- source is looking for your information you'll probably not end up with all of the most pertinent information available.
If you are aware of the power of the Boolean tools your searches will now be a much less painful experience. You'll spend far less time searching, and you'll return far more relevant results.
"Automatic Boolean search engines are AltaVista, AOL Search, Google, HotBot, Lycos, MSN Search, and Northern Light."
[ jim Peters is Manager of NSI "SOLUTIONS". NSI specializes in custom website design,promotion, maintenance, domain registration ,site hosting ,site and graphic design, as well as e-commerce packages for small to medium sized companies. In other words "SOLUTIONS".]