Super Searcher CE Course: Tuesday, Oct. 6 / Instructor: Max Anderson

This is mainly a chronology of the course, with a few statements from the content and my personal impressions.
Pretest-Things to think about: What do you already know? “Baseline” to compare what you know after the class. This is a very helpful feature for self-assessment. I think all courses should provide a simple pre and post test so that participants can more objectively evaluate what they have gained from a course.
Search engine versus directories – Search engine is not human powered (algorithm); you hit a limit where you can’t go any further in terms of the pages of results.
Directories-for the most part human powered; most feature breadcrumbs.
Examples: dmoz -open directory project. 84,000 editors (only 4 million sites as opposed to billions), Librarians’ Index to the Internet.
Google and Yahoo directories are at least 75% human powered.
Mamma- metasearch engine – shows where search results came from.
Exercise 1- Evaluation (sites other than Google)- Can you tell where the information is coming from? How clear are your search results?
Exercise 2: Advanced searching techniques (either menu or search string) of Yahoo and Google
Exercise: 3: Clustering and Previewing Search Tools (bypassed during class). Try the links on your own:
Exercise 4: Emerging Search Engines: Bing, Wolframalpha, Google Squared
Exercise 5: Specialized Search Tools
Exercise 6: Real Time Search (e.g. searching Twitter and Facebook)
My impressions of the course are as follows:

  • I don’t think it was necessary to have an classroom exercise for using the advanced search features of Google and Yahoo because information about these functions is readily accessible through the Yahoo Help file, the Google Cheat Sheet, and the Google Quick Reference.
  • I still learned new things from the course. I found the exercises where we compared non-Google sites (particularly the “emerging” search engines) to be the most useful.
  • Max is an effective instructor who is always very responsive to questions.
  • Overall, I found the course to be worthwhile.
  • I think that for future iterations of this course, the NN/LM course developer(s) should focus more of the course content on the emerging search tools. I think participants are generally either less likely to be aware of those tools, or are are at least less likely to have used them on a daily basis.

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