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Search the Internet effectively

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Searching for information on the Internet is a lot like using the computerized card catalog at your public library: The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to find what you're looking for. Keep these tips in mind when you search:

  • Be as precise as you possibly can when you choose words to search for. Don't specify dogs, for example, if you want only information about collies. If what you're looking for is longer than one word, enclose the words or phrase in quotation marks (for example, "border collies").
  • Make sure you have spelled the word correctly.
  • Don't include words that appear so often that they overload the search engine. These include "it," "and," "me," "of," "a," and "the," among others. Other less obvious words are "1998," "1997," and "available."
  • Use the plus (+) and minus (-) signs to refine your search. The plus sign tells the search engine to retrieve only pages that include this word. The minus sign tells the search engine to discard pages that contain this word. Don't include a space between these signs and the search words (for example, +collies, not + collies).
  • Be careful about using punctuation in your search query. Including a question mark, for example, might result in a "No matches found" message.

More Tips for Using the Internet

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