Lab: Search Engine Follies
Mar. 8, 1999
The purpose of this lab is to study some of the techniques used in
narrowing the number of keyword ``hits'' one receives from a search
engine. In this lab, we'll look at some fairly mechanical techniques.
Let's say we're interested in the topic of personal privacy. Using
perform the following searches, recording the number of hits received
from each search:
Personal Privacy (Note: the two words are capitalized. Be
observant of that in the succeeding searches.)
- Click on the Advanced link (near the top on the right) and in
the Boolean expression field type in the search
personal NEAR privacy.
- In Advanced search,
Personal NEAR Privacy
- Near the top on the right, click the Search link to return to
the basic search page. Perform this search:
title:"personal privacy" (If that results in no hits, try
- You now have a set of searches and the number of hits each search
returned. Why did they return varying numbers of hits? Following the help
link, study the help page and explain the varying number of hits returned
by each search. Discuss which search or searches are most likely to
return the most useful results.
- Using the results of the final search, record the URLs of, and study,
the first five Web pages returned by the search. On your own, establish
five criteria for evaluating these pages and apply these criteria to the
pages in order to rank them.
Thomas P. Kelliher
Mon Mar 8 10:39:36 EST 1999