Wednesday, August 8, 2018

SearchResearch Challenge (8/8/18): How to find difficult to find web pages? (Part 1)



Every so often you know a web page exists, but it's tough to put your finger on it.  


This last week I had several search Challenges pop up in my work.  Here are a couple of questions I found myself asking, and was ultimately able to resolve.  Can you?  

This is Part 1 of a series of "Difficult Web Page" search Challenges.  These first two aren't so hard--Part 2 will be more challenging.  Each of these Difficult Web Page SearchResearch Challenges is intended to highlight one particular method for doing your web searches with precision and skill.  


A black racer rising up out of the grass. 
Thanks & P/C Continis on Flickr.


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1.  A while ago I remember reading an article about a famous US author that was having some difficulty editing his own Wikipedia page.  As crazy as it sounds, they wanted to have independent verification of what he was saying.  I found myself wanting to re-read that article so I could refer to it in my writing.  I needed to find it to confirm details.  This was my Challenge:    
Who was the famous US author that was involved in a dispute with Wikipedia over the accuracy of the entry describing his novel?   

2. See that image above?  That's a black racer snake.  I happened to see one the other day, and I remembered that the state of New Jersey had a few articles about snakes in their state, and I remember one about black racers in particular. 
Can you help my fading memory and find an article about the black racer snake that’s published by the state of New Jersey as part of their educational outreach program? 

To answer these requires a bit of Search Engine Jedi-level skills.  Can you answer both of these Challenges?  

When you do, be sure to tell us how you did it in the comments!  

Good luck in your quest.  

Search on! 



24 comments:

  1. After a bit of frustration, I arrived at the query [author wikipedia accuracy "his novel" -site:wikipedia.org] which revealed an article about Philip Roth from the guardian, and I was able to quickly find his article on the New Yorker. Hopefully that's right.

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  2. preview function/button doesn't seem to be working - will try to post anyway…
    …used wikipedia… (fwiw, also considered Aaron Swartz…)
    "the author Philip Roth is having a spat with Wikipedia over its coverage of his book The Human Stain"
    found here: [⌘F'd 'author']
    List of Wikipedia controversies
    not the NJ source you seek, but a nice pic
    Racer Coluber constrictor
    a NJFW pdf

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1. I tried a few different similar searches to no avail, but ultimately tried
    Google: dispute with author over book wikipedia entry

    The first page had the answer on the fourth and fifth links. Philip Roth.

    ~~

    The funny thing is I didn't notice that the answer was there at first, and I actually found the answer in a more roundabout way, because I noticed the link to the Wikipedia:Notability (Books) article (which was actually presented as the "boxed answer" on Google). There I saw the phrase "Wikipedia's Policy on Verifiability" and I figured that must have been involved in this case. So I searched
    Google: wikipedia's policy on verifiability book author

    On page 2, I found a link on "The Case of Philip Roth vs. Wikipedia", giving me the answer.

    2. I didn't try this, because I'm scared of snakes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1.
    Tried a bunch of queries like wikipedia author dispute novel \\
    but SERPs were not productive.
    Finally just tried
    author sues wikipedia
    And from those SERPs well take your pick of famous authors - there are evidently quite a few with bones to pick including JK Rowling

    2.

    snake "black racer" site:nj.gov

    4th search result

    https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/species/no_black_racer.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  5. tried : author dispute wikipedia : 10th down philip roth guardian article

    ReplyDelete
  6. tried : author dispute wikipedia : 10th down philip roth guardian article

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good Morning Dan and Dan-fans. Am working to avoid writing--always works to read email first! So, what we're trying to teach kids in doing searches like this is to 'think like Google' and not to get too wrapped up in a search that goes no where. I tried a few things within Wikipedia first -- like 'author'/controversy etc. but after 30 seconds realized that yes, I could probably toy with it, but better to try something else. So, back to my browser, where I searched ['correcting a wikipedia page' 'novelist'] and there, as first result was Philip Roth in a Fox News article (okay--not the most reliable, I get it) but result #2 was Roth's "open letter to Wikipedia" (https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/an-open-letter-to-wikipedia), published in the New Yorker. Google informed me that it searched without quotes (the quotes around 'novelist' were by mistake, but for some inexplicable reason (Dan?) they worked better, as I repeated the search without novelist in quotes and the best results were farther down. Total time: about 90 seconds. Why did I think of 'novelist' rather than author, as Dan's query specified a 'famous US author'? Because I, too, faintly remembered it was a prominent writer; novelist seemed like more of a unique search term than either 'author' or 'writer', both of which I would have tried had 'novelist' not panned out. Whenever I do something like this, I recall Betsy Sparrow's incredible work at Columbia that shows that we are encoding information in new ways in a digital society by remembering not the information itself but how we can recall it using our browsers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a great solution, but note that you don't need the single quotes in your query. (Google actually throws them out when doing the search... They are NOT the same as double-quotes! A search for [ "correcting a Wikipedia page" "novelist"] gives 0 results!

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  8. I searched american author wikipedia dispute. First result was

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NPOV_dispute

    Clicking on various links took me to this one and I remember this, as it was covered in the press, so I assume that is the one that you were looking for.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Seigenthaler_biography_incident

    ReplyDelete
  9. Who was the famous US author that was involved in a dispute with Wikipedia over the accuracy of the entry describing his novel?

    [wikipedia author entry his own novel] [wikipedia entry author controversy] [famous author dispute wikipedia entry primary sources own work]

    An Open Letter to Wikipedia

    In Spanish same translated query doesn’t work to get results [escritor wikipedia entrada propia novela]. Tried other changing some words and adding others, without results You need to [ Philip Roth Wikipedia]

    El día que Philip Roth se peleó con Wikipedia

    Answer: Philip Roth


    Can you help my fading memory and find an article about the black racer snake that’s published by the state of New Jersey as part of their educational outreach program?

    ["black racer snake" intext:"New Jersey" educational program]

    [New Jersey educational program intext:"black racer snake"]

    With these and similar just found

    Ohio designated the black racer snake (Coluber constrictor constrictor) as the official state reptile in 1995.

    Then remember Search Lessons and as the article Dr. Russell is searching is published by an State and it is official. Decided to try Site tool

    [New Jersey pages code internet] to find they use “NJ”

    [black racer snake site:nj.gov educational program]

    [intext:"black racer snake" site:nj.gov]

    2010 Annual Northern Pine Snake Monitoring and Radio-tracking Report, at the Stafford Business Park, Stafford Township, Ocean County, New Jersey

    [black racer snake educational program in url:nj]

    List of snakes of New Jersey

    Non-venomous Snakes Commonly Mistaken for Rattlesnakes

    ReplyDelete
  10. Used unedited string 'famous US author that was involved in a dispute with Wikipedia over the accuracy' in Google search box. Saw that Wikipedia has 'List of Wikipedia controversies'. Followed link on that page and did Ctrl+F to search for 'novel', which identified Philip Roth, and then followed the links to footnotes 204 and 205, the second of which took me to an archived blog entry which had a link to Roth's New Yorker open letter to Wikipedia.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Who was the famous US author that was involved in a dispute with Wikipedia over the accuracy of the entry describing his novel?

    [conflict of interest wikipedia] finds Philip Roth. [roth wikipedia] in News finds his open letter to Wikipedia in the New Yorker at https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/an-open-letter-to-wikipedia

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can you help my fading memory and find an article about the black racer snake that’s published by the state of New Jersey as part of their educational outreach program?

    [new jersey racer snake] finds at the top of page https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/snake_broch07.pdf

    It is a really well done folder/poster about snakes generally and particularly such as #9 your Black Racer

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  13. Searched more in Spanish about the Author as a credible source:

    With [escritor fuente creíble Wikipedia disputa] found

    Philip Roth enfrentado a Wikipedia por artículo sobre novela
    Is the same article, just different publisher. The difference was only in the way of finding it.

    Also found
    Not related but interesting

    About the snake:

    With [black racer snake new jersey government publications]

    Snakes of e Monmouth County Includes the definition of the 3 different types of snakes

    ReplyDelete
  14. I tried and but they both led to lots of Wikipedia pages about verifying and editing articles on Wikipedia. So then I tried and the fourth result was
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/sep/19/why-philip-roth-needs-secondary-source
    On reading that article I realised that the first result in my search list was actually the article Philip Roth wrote:
    https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/an-open-letter-to-wikipedia
    Didn't take long!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great (that it didn't take long). Do you remember your actual queries that led you to the answer?

      Delete
  15. Snakes: I searched for ["black racer" snake site:.nj.gov], guessing that the state government of New Jersery would have such a url. It does!
    https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/snake_id_south.pdf

    BTW I'm glad we don't have any snakes in New Zealand!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It seems like both these challenges were aimed at using site:, in the first one [-site:wikipedia.org] so that the term [wikipedia] in the search was looking for the word, not the site. And for the snake [site:nj.gov].

    ReplyDelete