Search Guide


1. Introduction

There are different types of search instruments on the internet, search engines are the most popular though. Search engines are websites where you can search information (available at other sites). These are databases with references to web pages, news items, FTP-documents, and so on. In this way you can kind of compare a search engine with a library, but with the difference that a library catalog contains all the documents that are in the library, while a search engine only deals with a part of the internet, 40 % to be exact.

Search engines can – based on how the information is indexed ( gathered and ordered) – be divided in ‘directories’ and ‘search engines’ . Beside this, I will also talk about ‘search robots’ and ‘meta-search engines’.

2. Search engines

I am not going to elaborate on this, everybody knows the popular engines like Google,Yahoo, Altavista, Ask Jeeves, and many more. I will discuss how to search later.

3. Directories

In directories, like Google Directory, Yahoo! Search, Looksmart, and so on, the indexing (the creating of the catalog) is done by people (editors). Websites are examined, criticized, and put in categories. The user can consult a directory in two ways : by going downwards in the directory structure, or by just searching websites/categories with a keyword.

For example, if someone wants to build a website but does not know how to start, he could go into, for example, Yahoo’s directory. At the highest level, he would be in category ‘computers and internet’, from here he could go to subcategory ‘World Wide Web’, and then some subtopics like ‘CGI Scripting’, ‘HTML’, ‘Page Design’ etc.

Directories are very useful if you want to find relevant websites in a short time. Ideal for exploring a subject. There are not many resources, but they are all qualitative well, just because they are selected by an editor. You also have directories that are specialized in 1 subject, where the quality is even higher. Another way for exploring a domain is by using webrings, meta pages or online encyclopedias.

4. Search Robots

Search robots, like Google,Alltheweb are special indexing programs, called bots, spiders or crawlers, who do the indexing. These sniff around on the internet, constantly searching for new or updated websites. Search engines are easier when you just want to do a fast search. It is also useful when the user has a specific information question like ‘the birthday of Einstein’. A search robot indexes all relevant keywords from the website and saves these in 1 index. When a user searches this keyword, are all the pages reflected in the search results where this keyword occurs.

5. Meta search

As I already said, you have to bear in mind that the search engine only deals with 40% of the internet. Directories deal with only 10%. In some cases, is it necessary to consult as many sources as you can. So you will possibly search with the same keywords on different site. This is when the meta search come in handy, as it search in several search engines. Popular meta searchers are Search, Metacrawler and Museseek.

6. How to search

Because there is so much information on the internet, it is really important you use the right method, and especially the right keywords.

6.1 Keywords

You have to use a keyword that is specific enough, but yet not too specific. If you need information about a grizzly bear you would better search on ‘grizzly’ then on ‘bear’. It is also useful if you use synonyms (you can find some on Thesaurus, and plenty other sites) or different spelling variants (for example color/colour, disc/disk, .. ). Capitol letters and punctuation marks are ignored by the engines, just as little words like ‘the, so, to, of, how, why, …’ . Last but not least, is it recommended to use 2 or more keywords, because you will find to many results by using only one.

6.2 Method

6.2.1 Keywords

Keywords can be combined by 3 boolean operators:

  • The AND(+) operator looks for the documents using all provided keywords, although you can drop the AND in most engines because this is standard. In this way you can also search for little words. Example: ‘computer AND history’, ‘+the +little’
  • The OR operator looks for at least one of the provided keywords. Example: ‘mohamed OR muhamed OR muhammad ali’
  • By using the NOT(-) operator you can exclude keywords. Example: ‘bush -president’, ‘nerd NOT music’ (if you don’t search for the group N.E.R.D)

You can also search for a specific combination of words/phrase. Just put “ around the words. For example: “black panter”

This booleans are pretty familiar among the people. Most people even do not know there are many more. I will explain some in the next paragraphs.

6.2.2 File Format
You can search for a specific file format, you do this by typing filetype:yourformat , for example:
Word: filetype:doc
Linux variant for Word: filetype:odt or filetype:abw
Excel: filetype:xls
Acrobat Reader: filetype:pdf
Powerpoint: filetype:ppt

6.2.3 Numeric Ranges

This function makes it possible to search for webpages between 2 numbers. You can do this by putting 2 dots between them. This comes in handy when you for example want to search for a digital camera between 50 and 100 euros. This is how your search would look like: “digital camera” $50..$100

6.2.4 Occurrences

You can determine where on the page google has to look for your keyword.
allintitle:keyword Searches in the title for your keyword
intitle:keyword1 keyword2 Searches the first keyword in the title and the second in the rest of the page
allintext:keyword Searches in the text of the page
allinurl:keyword Searches in the URL of the page
inurl:keyword1 keyword2 Searches keyword1 in the title and keyword2 in the rest of the page
allinanchor:keyword Search in the links of the page
site: You can search in a specific site/domain. For example: bush or weather
I assume you do not need an example for the other ones, they speak for their own.

6.2.5 Information about a site/page
The next give you more information about a site/page:

info: This gives the information google has about the page. Here you also get a link to the other kinds of info (what I am now going to discuss)
link: Shows all the web pages who links to that site/page
related: Shows sites who are related to this one. You will mostly get a site who deals with the same subject.

6.2.6 Other
Maybe you already noticed you can do this all by using the advanced search. This just goes much faster, and that is part of a good search, right? Although there are things you cannot use in advanced search:
define: This gives a definition
~: This is, in my opinion, really useful. It does not only search for the keyword, but also for a synonym of the keyword. It even searches for derivatives of the word. If you type ~solution , it will also search for solve and solutions etc. It is also handy when you search a tutorial/article/guide etc. For example ~tutorial search for all those things.

7. End

I hope you all learned something from this article. You can now search much better and faster. Now you also have to use it! So if you have a question, just google it first, with the right method of course, and if you still have not found an answer, you can ask it in forums etc. Good Luck!

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Belgium License.


April 14, 2007 at 6:37 pm 1 comment

Incredible Brain

Daniel Tammet

Watch “The boy with the incredible brain” ; logical thinking as you have never seen it before.


March 20, 2007 at 4:12 pm 1 comment

Google’s growth is ‘insane’

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation, said “Google’s growth is insane“.

I agree Google’s growth is insane, but I find this very positive. Google’s number of employees is nearly doubling each year. This helps to avoid unemployment in the world, right?

Their search engine and search ads are really great, no one can deny this – not even Mr. Ballmer. Although he doesn’t deny it, he does say: “Google’s other efforts have been ‘cute’“. He can’t understand how “a random collection of people doing their own thing actually creates value”.

He might have a point in saying Google’s best business is their search engine and ads, and yeah, it is, and I’m sure Google wants to keep it this way. Lots of their effort goes in this.

That Google’s search engine is the best is already proven (check Google ;) ). The fact that they bought Youtube and several other sites is because they want to show their ads as to many as people possible (And it also proves they have plenty liquidity to pay the law suits). Google is popular for good reason; they know their business.

So Mr Ballmer, aren’t you just jealous of your big rival Google ?

March 16, 2007 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

Computer virus history

There isn’t anyone who hasn’t heard of computer viruses. Except maybe people who doesn’t know a computer, but this is a minority. Well, maybe the people who use Linux ( :p ), and you can’t blame them ;-). I have noticed people don’t know anything about the history of viruses, and computers in general. This is actually really interesting, it is even not more than 50 years ago.

Maybe some of that later, but let’s go on now to the first computer virus. There might be some discussion about it, that’s completely normal, it depends where you see the boundary line for a virus program. If I’m completely wrong, you may tell me; actually, you have to tell me.

For me, the first real virus was ‘Elk Cloner’ written by Rich Skrenta in 1982. Rich was 15 years old, a high school student. It was the first virus that has spread ‘in the wild’, and it infected the Apple operating system. The virus infected a floppy disk, and this is also the way it was spread. The good news is it didn’t harm your computer.

The people then hasn’t heard about computer viruses, so they weren’t aware about it. Just like there weren’t any virus scanners and/or firewalls.

An interesting fact is that the virus is made due to annoyance. Rich wrote little games, which stopped after you played it like 50 times. He gave this to his friends. It’s really frustrating, when you begin to like the game, you can even say they already where addicted, the game stopped. So his friends learned not to trust Rich his programs. This is why he wrote his virus, now he could annoy his friends without their knowing.

Oh yeah, it even had a little poem on every 50th booting:

Elk Cloner: The program with a personality

It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes it’s Cloner!

It will stick to you like glue
It will modify RAM too
Send in the Cloner!


So far the first computer virus …

February 27, 2007 at 7:21 pm 4 comments

World Sailing League

World Sailing LeagueSince 2OO4 there were rumours about a new sailing circuit. On the 8th February Coutts, Cayard & Lagos announced the creation of the World Sailing League. There had been some stops & start, but this announcement confirms it will take place.


They intend to bring sailing to the public by racing near the coast. There will be very short races, targeting 30 – 40 minutes. Due to this is tacking and jibing very important, and it will make the race very exciting, and that will be great. The sailing races are really spectacular, but the thing is the big races, like the Volvo Ocean Race, Americas cup and so on, are all offshore. That’s why you can’t enjoy of it like tennis or soccer, but that’ll be changed due to this. Outside the fleet racing, there will probably also be time trials and slalom racing, but this isn’t officially confirmed yet. I don’t know what the slalom will look like, probably something like the surfing or so. The time trials are pretty awkward, because the wind can blow much harder for the first boat than for the second. So everyone wants to go on a particular moment, because the boat with the biggest squall will definitely win. I guess this all will be tested when the prototype is ready, and then we’ll have more information.


Coutts & Cayard love exciting and fun sailing, and that’s precisely what you get on a Catamaran. It is light, powerful, really fast, and it can sail near the coast. So they have decided to use 70-foot catamarans. They think you will need an eight men crew. I think they probably won’t need to put up or drop a sail, because the races are short, and they’ll have a special spinnaker (something like a code-0).


Catamaran World Sailing LeagueThese catamarans are very expensive. Lagos has committed 60 million dollars for the design and building of the 70-foot catamarans, and the rest will probably be used to help get the circuit rolling. The teams need a budget of about five to six million, what isn’t that much, because this is the same for the volvo ocean race in a year, and they only get like eight boats at the start.


A team, including Marc Van Peteghem and Lauriot Prévost have designed the boats. By summer 2007 the design should be ready, and the first boat should be in the water at the end of the year. They hope to have fourteen catamarans by 2009, when the first race starts, each represented by a country. The races will take places in several top locations, and the winner gets 2 million dollars. There is also a huge container ship to transport the boats.


Cayard, Lagos, CouttsIf everything goes like they planned, it will definitely be a nice experience, and a nice race. No wonder, with Russel Coutss (44), listing an Olympic gold medal and three Americas cup victories as a skipper. Paul Cayard, the first winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, has won seven world championships. Together with João Lagos, a Portuguese sport promoter, they are a perfect team. They even intend to join the race themselves, each with his own team. The battle will be great.


I’m looking forward to it!

February 20, 2007 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

X doesn’t like me

I guess X hates me. Yesterday I started my computer, and my resolution was changed. I tried to fix it, but I did not work, somebody in the IRC channel advised to reconfigure my xorg, and so it happened. Hopla, there was the X message. Exactly the same as the day before (see ‘In the middle of the night’). ProfoX told me what he did then, so I did the same, and it still didn’t worked. Even stranger. We’ve been working on it for a couple of hours, and eventually profoX fixed it, again. Thanks a lot mate, what would I do without you :P. My xorg really insures problems, I guess I’ll have to report it as a bug. But I first need to figure out where.

February 18, 2007 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

70% Sites hackable

Acunetix says so. Since the beginning of 2006 they have scanned over 10 000 programs and 3200 sites for vulnerabilities. They say that 70% of the sites can be manipulated & sensitive information can be stolen by hackers.

Well, I hope it’s a hacker who discovers the bug in your site, because they will gently report it to you, if you’re lucky they’ll even give you a fix. The crackers however, that would be dangerous. I do believe many sites can be hacked, 70% however, is a little exaggerated. Maybe if they have checked only little sites they would have reached this amount, although Acunetix says that they’ve checked lots of business sites, and other big sites.

Beside this, it’s also nice to know what kind of hack is possible. We now that 50% of the hacks can be made by SQL injection, and 42% by cross scripting. But can you hack a simple webmaster-forum, so you have 2000 user names and passwords? Well, they may have it, just reset the forum, and register again. If they can hack sites of banks, that’s another thing.

I’m not the only one who thinks 70% is exaggerated. Joel Snyder, a security expert, says this is just sensation-loving nonces. He is sure they can’t realize what they say, and this is how he mentioned it:

Let’s get their list of 3,200 sites, pick 10 at random, and see if they can ‘steal sensitive data’ from those sites. They say they’ll be able to hack into seven of them. I’ll bet $1,000 they can’t steal personal data from three of them.

Pretty nice challenge, and Acunetix has accept it. They actually had to, who wouldn’t accept it with that much money. But also because their statement would be very unbelievable if they hadn’t accept it. Acunetix hasn’t done anything yet. Does it just take a while, or are we right when we say they overestimated it? I’ll let you know.

February 17, 2007 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment

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