inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #51 of 166: Mary Ellen Bates (mebs) Sun 11 Oct 98 13:44
    
See also <digaman>'s article in the July 1998 issue of Wired, titled Ex 
Libris, on "the joys {or not] of curling up with a good digital reading 
device."
http://www.wired.com/wired/6.07/es_ebooks.html
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #52 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Sun 11 Oct 98 13:47
    
A combination of the two, peeps. But it's sold as a hardware device, an
electronic "book" with a screen and various navigation devices.

And thanks for that excellent pointer, mebs.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #53 of 166: Steve Kaye (skaye) Tue 13 Oct 98 10:49
    
Reva, your career has taken you from traditional research librarian--
somebody who takes books and journals off the shelves to compile
information--to the modern equivalent, a person who can live a hundred
miles from the nearest big university library and still make a living
doing high-powered research over the net.  Do you consider the rather
sudden change in the availability of information revolutionary?  Do
you think it will change society (or maybe has already changed society)
in a big way?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #54 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Tue 13 Oct 98 20:24
    
Actually, there's a middle stage in that continuum, Steve (assuming it's a
continuum) -- the kind of proto-online period, when scholars were
communicating on the Net, and many librarians and other information
professionals were using the traditional, pre-Web, dialup services like
Dialog and so on. That period ran from the mid-'70s, roughly, til the early
to mid-'90s, when the Web took off. So, though it =feels= revolutionary, and
certainly =is= revolutionary in many ways, it's really been more of an
evolutionary process than it might appear from the outside.

I =could= have made a living, doing the kind of on-demand research I was
doing in Berkeley, before the Web came along. About the only difference
would have been the toll calls to the online services' dialup numbers or the
nearest packet-switching node (in my case, in Santa Rosa), instead of the
local call I now make to one of my 4 neighboring ISPs. And the long-distance
calls to my clients, many of whom wouldn't have had email several years ago.

But, yeah. Backing up and taking the long view, it certainly has been
revolutionary. Y'know, I used to get into conversations at parties or on an
airplane, and as soon as I started explaining what I did for a living -- and
believe me, I had it down to a fine marketing-worthy soundbite -- I could
just see peoples' eyes glaze over (the dreaded MEGO effect).

Now, though, I explain that I'm an expert at finding information online, and
there's a very good chance the homunculus in the next seat will fire back
with "So what's your favorite search engine?" Online is cool, all of a
sudden. And yes, I think it's changed the way people do business; I think
it's empowered people to take control of their own healthcare, of major
purchases like houses, cars, and vacations; it's certainly raised the
visibility of information, and the value of information, in just about every
facet of our lives.

For a couple of years there, early on, people did think the Internet might
be just a fad, like, I dunno, CB radio or something. That seems pretty
laughable now.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #55 of 166: Gary Gach (ggg) Wed 14 Oct 98 11:48
    
pro-found.

While I ruminate on all that -- do you think there's much use in "agents"
such as Firefly?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #56 of 166: Kathy L. Dalton (kd) Wed 14 Oct 98 20:04
    
is this where I can put in my little crab about how the advanced search
feature in altavista used to allow for a more sophisticated / delimited
search but for some reason they dumbed it down a while back.

as for those racy sites who cheat on keywords perhaps add the term "and not
sex" to your boolean searches.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #57 of 166: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Wed 14 Oct 98 20:58
    

also why do search engines pull up the same pages over and over?  This is a
dumb question I know.


Does anyone use Dogpile?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #58 of 166: Gary Gach (ggg) Wed 14 Oct 98 22:33
    
Dogpile is major!  Multisearching shows how things can be "out there" even
if Altavista or Hotbot can't find 'em -- other engines might.

I hear good things about inference, but haven't tried it yet.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #59 of 166: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Thu 15 Oct 98 08:13
    

What is Dogpile? How does it work?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #60 of 166: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 15 Oct 98 11:22
    
Inference got good reviews in the WELL Web conf, so I started using it for
preliminary searcches.  It's often fabulous.  But, yes, do tell about
dogpile. Great name!
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #61 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Thu 15 Oct 98 14:15
    
Dogpile's aptly named, because it lets you search a couple of dozen (at
least) different search engines at the same time. Not that that's
necessarily a good idea. It has a custom search feature that lets you
prioritize the ones you want to search and get results from first.

About agents, or 'bots, or whatever you want to call 'em. The technology
isn't really there yet, except maybe for some very specific e-commerce
applications (like "find me the lowest price on such-and-such color inkjet
printer), but this may be one of the major directions in which online
searching is gradually developing. The idea is, you tell your agent what
you're looking for, and it comes back and says, in effect, "here's what I've
found." Smart agents learn from the choices you make, and fine-tune their
internal filters to match your criteria even more closely the next time.
It's quite possible that, in the not-too-far future, typing in an URL will
be a thing of the past; we won't care about locations on the Web, just about
getting the information we need, wherever it happens to be located.

Plum, about getting the same pages over and over? You mean at the same
search engine site when you try to adjust your search question, or at
different sites, or every time you search, or what?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #62 of 166: Declined To State (jrc) Fri 16 Oct 98 11:02
    

Reva, does the + sign have any relevance still in search engines. I use it,
even though the instructions to do so have long since disappeared from the
sites I visit. But it sure seems to help me get what I want.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #63 of 166: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Fri 16 Oct 98 17:22
    

oh, right, which is better "+" and "-" or AND and NOT?

I mean, reva, about the duplicate pages.  You search with say altavista, and
they throw up 11,000 documents.  Many of these are the same.

Also, am I blind?  I cannot find a command in netscape 4 to search a web
page.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #64 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Sun 18 Oct 98 16:37
    
Plum, how about the Search button, the one with the flashlight icon, up on
that big fat toolbar? It takes you to a portion of the Netscape site that
lists a dozen or so of the major search engines (currently, Alta Vista is
the one they feature), plus some specialized engines for finding people and
business listings and news and so on.

Jon, yeah, most of the leading search engines still understand "+", which
basically instructs them that the word that follows it =must= appear in
whatever documents they retrieve. I'm curious about what sites you visit,
because just about all of 'em do include detailed documentation; you
sometimes have to hunt for it, though, under a link called Advanced Search
or Power Search or Help or Search Tips or whatever.

You might get the impression that + and - have fallen out of favor because
some engines give you different ways of accomplishing the same thing.
You can specify so-called "mandatory" terms, or terms that must =not=
appear. That's what the + and - signs do, respectively. Or you might see a
pulldown menu that lets you say "these terms must appear" or "these terms
must NOT appear."

If you're absolutely sure of how your search concept is described -- a
company, person or product, say, that has a particular name -- using a +, as
in  +imac , definitely helps your results. otoh, I stay away from the minus
sign, which is the equivalent of the Boolean NOT operator. Why? Because the
fact that a concept you're =not= interested in happens to occur in a
document doesn't necessarily mean the document is irrelevant.

Suppose, for instance, that you're interested in solar eclipses. You might
be inclined to say -lunar or NOT lunar. But suppose you find a great article
out there that happens to deal with both kinds of eclipses? Just because it
mentions the word "lunar" doesn't mean it won't be of use to you.

An even more extreme example, which I use in Researching Online For Dummies:
Imagine an article that begins "This paper will talk about solar eclipses
exclusively. For information on lunar eclipses, see this other paper..."
See? The simple cross-reference, because it uses a word you've NOTted out,
knocks what could be an excellent article out of the running; you'll never
see it.

Cynthia, the kind of + we've been talking about is different from the
Boolean AND, which you use to say that you want word A AND word B included
in any hits you retrieve. The difference is like this:

+papillon -- the word "papillon" must appear in every document retrieved
papillon AND dog -- both "papillon" and "dog" must appear; don't bring me
anything that talks about butterflies in French exclusively.

Actually, that's another good example of why not to eliminate words with NOT
or the minus sign (which =is= roughly equivalent to the Boolean NOT). If you
entered  papillon -butterfly
or papillon NOT butterfly

you'd eliminate all kinds of references that explain that the papillon dog
breed gets its name (which I'm assuming it does; correct me if I'm wrong)
from its butterfly-shaped ears.

About the duplicate pages. What you're probably seeing are hits from the
same site that contain your search terms. Or you might be getting some
mirror sites or other Web pages that reference the same document. Some
search engines -- Infoseek is one -- let you group all the results that come
from a particular site; that's definitely the way to go if you find yourself
wading through hundreds of identical-seeming pages.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #65 of 166: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Sun 18 Oct 98 20:19
    

so lemme ask you this:  is there a difference between

papillon +dog

papillon AND dog

?

also, reva, I see that search button.  usedtabe a button on older netscape
that would only search the page actually on your browser.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #66 of 166: Jacob Davies (cromis) Mon 19 Oct 98 06:35
    

Do you mean "Find in Page..."?

That's under the Edit menu in both NN 4.06 and IE 3, which is all I have to
hand.  The UNIX shortcut is Meta-F, under Windows Control-F, dunno about
Macs.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #67 of 166: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Mon 19 Oct 98 08:34
    

thank you jacob if I may call you jacob.  There it is, nice as you please.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #68 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Mon 19 Oct 98 18:20
    
Oops, sorry. I thought you meant Web search, as opposed to Page search. Both
the Page search function and the distinction between the two were a lot
clearer, for sure, in earlier versions of Netscape.

Thanks for jumpin' in, <cromis>.

About papillon +dog versus papillon AND dog -- yeah, they're different. Or
they might be different, depending on how a particular search engine works.
In the +dog case, you're telling the engine that "dog" has to be there.
Papillon might be, or it might not. In the AND case, you're saying "both
these terms should be there." But not all search engines take that "should"
as a "must." In the best of all possible worlds, documents that contain both
dog and papillon will be at the top of your search list. But it doesn't
always work that way. It does on systems like Dialog and Lexis-Nexis, but
you can't count on it on the Web.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #69 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Mon 19 Oct 98 18:49
    
Oh, and to clarify (or perhaps obfuscate): If you type  papillon AND dog
into the basic search form, you can't assume that any given search engine is
going to treat it as a Boolean search statement. Sometimes they ignore the
AND and treat "papillon" and "dog" as an OR request -- bring me anything on
either of these. Sometimes they do infer the AND, but not in the strict
Boolean sense. It's more like "it'd be nice, but it's not essential, if both
these terms appeared."

Unless you're looking at documentation or a pulldown menu that makes it
absolutely clear that AND = both terms MUST appear in any documents
retrieved, your best bet is to click on Advanced Search or Search Tips or Do
A Boolean Search or whatever they call it, to make sure you're running your
search in Boolean mode. It doesn't always happen automatically.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #70 of 166: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 19 Oct 98 20:03
    
Reva, one thing I noticed in your book is a "screen-shot" of a search engine
with one of those *annoying* and devious ads that is made to look like the
entry box for the search engine.

I really hate those decoys, and when I saw it I hoped you'd denounce or at
least explain the darned thing.

And I also wondered if you or Dummies got any fee for any of the ads you
included...  though I notice many of your screen shots are ad-free.  Just
wondering how deeply the parterning paradigm is reaching these days.

What's up with the "CybrerianOutpost" ad banner and phony find button on the
Liszt page picture?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #71 of 166: Gary Gach (ggg) Mon 19 Oct 98 23:09
    

Thanks for your insight into "agents," Reva.  How about visual searching:
?

I'm thinking of Perspecta, but maybe you know some better ones.

[ps  please check out my all-in-one search site and tell me how'm I doin':
http://word.to/rc.html <Research Central]

                                          devotedly,
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #72 of 166: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 20 Oct 98 04:57
    
Thank you for explaining why AND doesn't always seem to work so well.
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #73 of 166: Erik Van Thienen (levant) Tue 20 Oct 98 06:30
    

>How about visual searching

I just found a new service from AlataVista : the AV Photo Finder :

 <http://image.altavista.com/cgi-bin/avncgi>
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #74 of 166: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Tue 20 Oct 98 10:17
    

so, am I getting boring with this? -- do you feel that

+papillon +dog

would work better?
  
inkwell.vue.4 : Reva Basch, Goddess of Cyberspace
permalink #75 of 166: Reva Basch (reva) Tue 20 Oct 98 13:34
    
It'd get you more targeted results, for sure. The only danger is -- suppose
the word "dog" somehow happened not to appear in a document that was
otherwise relevant. Y'know, there might be a page that talked all about
"pedigreed papillon puppies, sired by so-and-so," without ever once
mentioning the word dog.

Gail, what an interesting question. No, absolutely no fees or partnering or
preferential treatments were involved. I took all the screen shots myself,
and wherever possible, tried to scroll the page so the banner ads weren't
visible, or at least time the screen capture so whatever appeared on the
changing display was minimally obnoxious. Other than that, I was completely
unconscious of any ads or their content -- other than the annoyance factor,
of course. I certainly didn't get any money for including particular ad
displays, and the matter never came up with my publisher, so I'm convinced
that there's no back room dealing going on between them and either site
owners or advertisers.
Erik, thanks for the pointer to Alta Vista's new photo finder; they were
touting it at the Online World conference (where I was last week instead of
answering questions here in near-real-time), and you've reminded me that I
want to check it out.
  

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