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Google Power Searching – Class 5

July 22, 2012

Class 5 – Checking your facts

  • Credibility
  • Variant data
  • Books & quotes
  • WHOIS
  • Occasional misconceptions

These are class 5 topics.

This time I will need to do a quick ‘power search’  considering that time is running out. And this I want to test my search skills in the post-class assessment, which can be latest done at the 23/24.07.2012 depending in the time-zone you are living.

Credibility

Do not follow this example.

(Image source: blaugh.com)

Verify the credibility of information you find and to check your findings, just do one more search. The URL has its own story to tell and can be an indicator for credibility as well.

Variant data

We all know the situation, you type in a search query and we receive different, often contradictory search results. The below search tips should help you to verify which result is credible.

  • Verify the credibility of information you find on the web.
  • Avoid confirmation bias when conducting searches.
  • To verify the source of a piece of information, use the precise information you have.
  • To confirm a fact, use a generic description for what you seek.
  • Example: [average length octopus] will give you information about how long an octopus is. [18 inch long octopus] will give you sources with examples of octopuses of that length. Don’t bake your answer into a query

Using books to verify quotes

You can use the Google books search feature to search for key words and/or quotes. So do not always rely solely on Google Search, but use also Google’s other search options.

Using WHOIS and looking for other site information

I never heard about WHOIS, but thanks to the Google Power Search course 😉 I know I can type in the query [define WHOIS] and that’s what I came up with.

“WHOIS (pronounced as the phrase who is) is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name, an IP address block, or an autonomous system, but is also used for a wider range of other information. The protocol stores and delivers database content in a human-readable format.[1] The WHOIS protocol is documented in RFC 3912. ” ( Source: Wikipedia)

Thus, WHOIS can be used to identify who owns a particular website.

  • If you see a second company listed as a contact on the WHOIS page, then a relationship exists between the two companies; you can then do another search to determine that relationship.
  • Example: [whois] finds WHOIS registries you can use. Find the search box for the registry, and enter [zagat.com]. See that Google is the registrant. Search for [google zagat], which leads to the information that Google acquired Zagat.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce operates the WHOIS search available at http://www.internic.net/whois.html; alternative WHOIS registries also exist.
  • If you don’t know a company’s website, you can search for the company’s name in Google and locate the web address.

Occasional misconceptions

Daniel Russell commented on occasional misconceptions about Google. He stated that rank order does not equal authoritativeness or credibility. He pointed out that you cannot buy your way up in ranking and that we, as the searcher, have to check whether the results are credible or not. How true, it is up to us to check the facts and to not assume or take anything for granted, like the boy in the cartoon.

Well, that was the fast forward version of class 5  😉

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One Comment
  1. This is a great blog, Sylvia. Learnt a lot and will share it with others. Thanks.

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