Saturday, June 22, 2013

TipSheet for IRE 2013 ( #IRE13 )

Today we have a special edition of SearchResearch.  I'm attending the annual conference for Investigative Reporters & Editors and giving a 1 hour (fast!) tutorial on some aspects of advanced Google searching.  I figured everyone might like to see this presentation, so I've put my notes here...  This also serves as a TipSheet for the attendees at IRE.  


Digging in with Google: Search Tips & Strategies for Researchers 

        A tipsheet/presentation summary for Investigative Reporters
        and Editors Conference (2013) 
San Antonio, TX (June 21, 2013)  

Full slide deck of my presentation. (PDF) 


Links to relevant pages: 

Google's G+ Community for Online Education (which will include classes on how to search, how to use our Geo tools, etc.)  (the about this community)  (posts announcing classes)

Dan's Search Cheatsheet: 


Outline of my presentation:  

* 8 Key Skills that search experts have.  They all:

   1.  Know what’s possible to ask  
   2.  Use more than 1 resource 
   3.  Understand language 
   4.  Understand concepts of genre & media
   5.  Know capabilities of tools 
   6.  Know the structure of information 
   7.  Able to search for tools 
   8.  Know how to use different media types 
   9.  Links to resources you should know about 

* Motivating problem 1:  What kind of trees are these?  What's that bell? 

* Introduction:  Goals of this session: 
- skills  (define, filetype, site, control-F, antireading, search-by-image)
- strategies
- come up to speed on a topic
- what do you need to know about search to be good
- what you know about Boolean is wrong
- control-F story
- chrome searches
- Google Earth
- how to go back in time

* KEY skill 1:  Know what’s possible to ask 
-Problem: commonplace book
→ use a reverse dictionary
- Resource:  Google Public Data Explorer  (how to use)

* KEY skill 2:  Use more than 1 resource 
- choosing keywords (use simplest language; use words that you think will be on page)
- Demo: maquette keyword choice -- choose simplest, then use define to verify
- example:  Christ the Redeemer
- use multiple resources: Google define + Earth + streetview

* Key skill 3: Understand their language 
- Skill:  Choosing search terms (name the unnameable)
- Skill: Use obvious language
- Example: sun dog
- Gotcha: Side-effect of framing in synonyms (get trapped)
- Example: Forgotten city in SF bay
- Tactic:  Term choice… The 3 elses.. (how would someone else say it?)
- Strategy:  Related searches to expand your thinking on a topic
- Tactic:  Think about variations in language (syns for common terms)
- Regional variations in terms
- Skill: Antireading
- Skill: SERP reading
- Skill: Define  (words not in Dictionary)
- use of boilerplate language / repeated phrases

* Key skill 4: Understand terms / concepts / genre 
- Strategy: Using images
- Example: tritelia laxa
- Tactic: Add in a georeference as context term
- Tactic: Understand terms in genre (domain language)
- Example:  Use scientific name to find horticultural information
- Using Maps
- Example: Create a new map to find hiking distance
- Example: Find a B&B that has a view of this fog…
- Example: JFK ditches
- Maps tools – GPS location tool (CHECK:  Does this work in new maps?
- Use lat/longs
- Maps viewing modes
- Search in a location –

* Key skill 5:  Know the capabilities of their tools   (operators) 
- Minus (how to use to exclude terms from search)
- Quotes
- Filetype
- Site:
* Gotcha:  EDU  sites
* Example: Warsaw problem
- think outside your info box
- Google Earth as a resource

* Key skill 6:  Know the structure of their information space 
- Time restricted searches
- combine date restrict with content type
- cache:    gives access to the previous Google cached version of this page
inurl:     limits searches to pages whose URL contains the argument 
intext:    limits searches to pages whose PAGE contains the argument 
- Advanced search UI… when to use it -- how to get access to it  

* Key skill 7:  Search for tools when you need one  
* Google tools:
* grapher
* calculator
* conversions
* Alerts
* Trends
* Search in other languages

* Key skill 8:  Know how to use different media types
* YouTube
* uploads / voice of customer
* Images and their searches
* creative commons filtering
* diagram trick
* search-by-image
* Books
* Patents
* Scholar
* Legal opinions
* Data table search 



  1. Thanks Dr. Russell.

    It is very interesting: TipSheet, see how you outline your conference, learn new SearchResearch techniques and remember others.

    Thank you for adding this to your blog.

  2. Dr Russell, it's wonderful you're sharing and making this available. Great presentation and love the TipSheet.


  3. Thanks as always! Dan's Search Cheatsheet seems to have the + explained "in the old way".

    1. @Irinia -- Thanks for catching that. That IS a bug! My error. Will fix immediately!

  4. But WHY is the PDF file 46+ MB?

    1. Cuz I grabbed the wrong PDF. My upload error.

      The PNG file is now correct. (And only 192Kb.)

  5. I used your list to check out mashups {world emergencies} to see if our city that showed up. Sure enough it did. My city has just experienced flooding unprecedented for our region and has a city of 1.2 million still days after in a state of emergency. Thanks for the tip. P.S. I wasn't affected by the floods but can't say that for many friends. All ok however.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.