November 22, 2007
Last Blog Entry
When I first started this class, I only knew a handful of tricks for searching information on the internet. Most of my searches were done by using the Yahoo Web search engine. My queries were generally simple and broad. I wasted valuable time weeding through the search results, typically looking past three pages of results. If I wanted information on a certain topic, I would enter the topic name and add the word “wikipedia” after it. If lucky, there would be a Wikipedia article on the topic and I would get the information that way. I also extensively used quotation marks. For example, if I needed to find lyrics for a certain song, I would put a section of the lyrics in quotes and hope that the artist I was looking for would show up.
As it turned out, I learned a great deal about using specific queries with full-text search engines. I rarely used Google before this class, but now I use it much more often. Learning about the search syntaxes drastically increased the number of relevant results on the first page of search results. The various principles presented by Web Search Garage were valuable such as the Principle of Onions and the Principle of Nicknames. Perhaps the most informative chapter of Web Search Garage was the first chapter where it talked about the different types of syntaxes that could be used with Yahoo Web and Google.
One major topic that I did not understand too well going into the class was RSS feeds. These turned out to be very helpful in searching and trapping information. In the long run, they saved some of my time spent typing in website URLs that I visited daily by aggregating all the information into one source. I found Bloglines to be particularly useful for both keeping track of RSS feeds and searching for blogs. I felt that Bloglines could have been emphasized more. It was a very clean website for managing RSS feeds as opposed to Technorati which I found to be a sub-par service based on my own personal experience. Also, I had never even thought about creating my own RSS feeds, thus, Feed43 and Dapper came as an innovative shock to me.
Even though I did not use page monitors or e-mail alerts too often, they are still useful in trapping information. I had no idea what either one was before taking BIT 330. In the end, I just found RSS feeds to be the most convenient. I abused RSS feeds way more than page monitors and e-mail alerts. However, if I had to use a page monitor or an e-mail alert service, I would choose WatchThatPage or GoogleAlert (third party), respectively. These are both services that I would have otherwise not known about unless I took this class.
I will definitely use the various syntaxes that I learned in this class. More specifically, I will certainly remember chapters 1 and 12 from Web Search Garage. These chapters showed me how to use the search query syntaxes. The ones that I used most often were site:, inurl:, and intitle:. I will also continue to use Bloglines as my RSS feed aggregator for indexing topics that interest me as well as the websites that I visit daily. Lastly, I am addicted to flickr. I am a loyal Yahoo fan, but I was unaware that they owned flickr. This website turned out to be very a useful tool for searching images with tags. I used flickr to find pictures for my marketing group presentation and it proved to be just as, if not, more helpful than Google and Yahoo’s image searches. Furthermore, it is almost as addictive as Facebook (almost!).
Overall, I felt that BIT 330 was very helpful in teaching students about the basics of effectively using the internet for searching and trapping information. I believe that it can be improved in a few ways. Perhaps by requiring students to do only one of the two wikis for their term project might make receiving information on their topics less hectic. However, this might make the class too easy, so I would also recommend making the search tool comparison report more intensive and challenging. This can be achieved by making students search more than one query and including more web search and blog search engines. Also, I found that there was a decent amount of overlap between Tara’s two books. In my opinion, I thought Web Search Garage was generally more useful and easier to read but the RSS aspect of Information Trapping made it a fundamental part of the class as well. Because these books are outdated by a few years, maybe some new materials for the class wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
In the end, I really enjoyed the course. I will be able to take away the tools and skills that I picked up in this class and apply them to my everyday life such as in other classes or even in my future jobs and career. I will be sure to recommend BIT 330 to aspiring junior and senior business school information trappers.
Thank you Professor Moore for hosting BIT 330. It has been a blast!
Posted by mjiao at November 22, 2007 01:58 AM