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Re: Babble/Google searching, checking archives » Dr. Bob

Posted by spoc on April 7, 2004, at 21:07:31

In reply to Re: checking archives, posted by Dr. Bob on April 6, 2004, at 21:41:50

> But remember, you can lead a horse to archives, but you can't make him search...>

I actually think many people aren't as familiar with searching to any degree of efficiency as we may assume. I've been surprised more often than not, and I don't mean with just older people. Often they just haven't seen the options and the benefits/results from a proper search. I've demonstrated for friends with on their own general info needs, and they are always amazed and hooked on using those tips for any further quests. I think Babblers would be too. Many people posting “urgent” informational requests about, say, a med/combo or a certain psychotherapeutic method probably really do want data more so than chat and interaction. While that may be nice to follow up with I don't think they'd use it first, as the path of least resistance, if they'd seen firsthand how much more easily and thoroughly they can get at the info. (But hmmmm, instead maybe there's a job in here for me somewhere!) I think it's just a combo of flukes and unconscious assumptions that keep more people from trying it full steam. Most people don't even realize the "Advanced" option exists in search engines. Entering “prozac” with or without “side effects” or “CBT” with or without “benefits” into a basic search could only be a hairy nightmare.
> FYI, I may be removing Psycho-Babble Search function entirely, it's getting really outdated and takes up a fair amount of space. But the Options and Examples would stay...>

I assume you mean just remove the search box on the main page? Well -- either way, Babblers should then know that if they do click on "Advanced" at Google as I mentioned, they can scroll past the entry lines to the options boxes, and set it to return hits from your site (“Domain”) only. I think they could even place that filter and then save that version of the blank Google search page to their Internet "Favorites," so they don't have to reenter it each time.

> > I'd also add that when they are taken to Google from here, it's imperative to then click on "Advanced Search," so that they can narrow the avalanche of data found otherwise.
> Speaking of which, what do you do there to narrow it down further? That's something I could add...>
> Bob

Wow, where to start. This is the kind of thing I'll want to post back to with additional examples every ten minutes for the rest of my life! But I'll try to curb it (try, I said). I use Google most but this is similar for any of the search engines. (I know *you* know this but here goes...) When you go to Google via Babble (or otherwise), click on "Advanced" there. You get slots labeled "With ALL of the words:" "With the EXACT phrase:" "With AT LEAST one of the words:" and "WITHOUT the words:"

Often, as mentioned, putting all of your search terms into the standard one-line slot from the Babble or the Google main (basic search) page will return a prohibitive number of hits. And forget it if you are researching some combination. The results you get will often not even find occurrences of the two words/criteria in *conjunction* with each other in the threads or even whole board pages found. I'm just making up the following examples so I don't know if these pan out, but you'll get the idea. It is usually best to start off relatively broad -- UNLIKE the dream-world scenario I progress into below (it’s mainly for illustration purposes). I’ll come back to this, but do start somewhat broad; and THEN after you get a pool of returns that is still too large or unfocused, use the "Search within results" option at the bottom of the results page. When you do that, you only get one slot that time, so be sure to use good old-fashioned Boolean operators (quotes around words to keep together, AND, OR, etc.) I’ve pasted a link to some of Google’s Boolean operators later.

Anyway! Enter any old word into the Babble/Google search line just to catch a ride to Google, and then click on "Advanced" when you get there. If I were only interested in 2003 and 2004 hits about Ritalin and klonopin used together, I’d think about how they would appear in most sentences. I may try combos of the following until I start getting where I want: In the "Exact phrase" line I'll take stabs at "Ritalin and klonopin;" "klonopin and Ritalin;" "Ritalin with klonopin" and "klonopin with Ritalin." Because, how many other ways could the words appear if being posted about together. (Actually Google ignores some small connecting words but this way you’ll get hits where your terms are immediately together rather than in different sentences or even just anywhere on the same page together.) Sometimes I'll cover both brand and generic name combos too.

I would try similar combining if my objective were, say, to research insomnia caused by something: "insomnia (from, because of, due to, etc.) Ritalin;" AND then reverse/play with where "insomnia" and "Ritalin" fall in the phrase.

Then, on the "With AT LEAST one of these words" line, I will put in 2003 and 2004 (sometimes that still brings up out-of-range threads because they were added to/bumped over time, but many less). Or -- and now this has really become just an illustration, because it would be getting TOO narrow, for Babble at least -- enter another parameter you have, such as "diabetic" or "diabetes" if applicable. You want to toy with various *versions* of words like that too.

For further tailoring, enter other applicable words you may have into "With ALL these words," such as "tolerance" and "dose" if those are what you are also checking for. But in reality before this point you probably would have had to keep it broader and THEN start plugging parameters into "Search within results." From there or any place else logical in the options I've described, you could track down withdrawal, weight gain, liver damage, whatever you need to from your main topic objective. If you narrow too much you can obviously get little or nothing, but if your first few attempts don’t pan out, keep switching words and terms around in the various slots and viola, one day you’ll catch your rhythm and be hooked.

I really don't ever recommend using the "WITHOUT the words" slot, because it really will skip anything using those words, even if it's just on the same board page. It can help with *general* searching though, such as if you're researching how the sun rises and keep getting Hemmingway or poetry matches.

Dr. Bob, I could probably search for a more concise article on using "Advanced" if you'd like! Here is a link to Google’s tips on tailoring a search *without* using "Advanced," but this wouldn't be easier. They didn’t seem to have their own tips on “Advanced” available, I guess because they think it’s self-explanatory.

Often I email myself a link to my search results page if I've toyed and toyed with word combos and finally struck gold, but don’t have time to read through it, and don’t want to write down what the winning combo was. This may all seem like a lot of trouble but the returns you get after a few minutes of tweaking words are so much more useful. And anything's better than getting 1,673,249 matches to a search and then just giving up after reading only two loosely related items. I actually find it to be a fun and challenging game and enjoy it! What, no time for that? Do you have time for the other 1,673,249 posts?? Or hey! Why not start a NEW thread…. Ha ha, kidding, I really don’t think that’s the logic when someone is “desperate” in regard to something like Effexor withdrawals, or an initial consultation with a therapist who practices a method they're not familiar with. I think they'd often invoke their God-given right to get the best info possible if they are more aware of options.




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