Friday, October 8, 2010

A skill of searching: Anti-reading (noticing unfamiliar words)

One of key skills of an expert searcher is the ability to read through a SERP (or a landing page) and spot the word(s) thaey don't know, but that still might be relevant to their task.

I call this skill anti-reading because you're not really reading the word, you're reading right up to that point, then recognizing that it's not a known word, but it still looks like it might be important.

Here's an example to show what I mean.  Suppose you're looking up possible causes for white spots that appear on your skin in the summertime.  Your very reasonable search might be something like:

[ white skin spots summer ]

Just scanning this page and anti-reading (scanning for unknown words) lets you find "leucoderma" and "vitiligo."  A great heuristic to use when learning about a topic for the first time is to spot those words that are unfamiliar, and then go figure out what they are.  If you go to a landing-page (such as the one entitled "White patches of Skin - Dr," you'll still find unfamiliar words, pityriasis alba, for instance and a few other words that might pique your interest.

Of course, your individual mileage may vary--but everyone is a newcomer at one topic or another.  And it's a great trick to have in your repertoire as you go searching.

This is often an especially handy trick to have when looking for new words or terms to help your search.  An easy example to use for this is to discover what the technical term is for a fresh water pond near the ocean in Hawai'i.  Given this clue (now that you know they exist), can you figure out what this kind of pond this is?

1 comment:

  1. [fresh water pond near the ocean in Hawai'i]

    With anti-reading words:
    Anchialine pools
    Brackish ponds

    [fresh water pond near ocean Hawaii]



    [anchialine Ponds]
    Why is the water in `Ahalanui pond so warm?

    For every meter (foot) above sea level where the water table is located, there are 40 meters (feet) of fresh water below. This 40 to 1 ratio is often called the Ghyben-Herzberg principle, named after the two men who discovered it.

    Anchialine pool From Greek ankhialos, "near the sea"

    Hawaii's Anchialine Ponds

    [brackish pond]

    Brackish water

    [define anchialine ponds]

    What is an anchialine pool?


    An anchialine pool is an enclosed water body or pond with an underground connection to the ocean.