Tips on searching the internet
A website that helps you find other useful websites is called a search engine. A “query” is the text that you must type into a search engine (your question) and a “results page” is the list that the engine produces (its answer). Here are some tips on getting the most from your internet searches.
Teoma or not Teoma. By far the most popular search engine is Google (www.google.com). A more recent engine is Teoma (www.teoma.com), which provides even better results but is not as well known. Every tip below works in both Teoma and Google
How to ask. The more specific your query, the more helpful the results page. For example, if you’re searching for the success rates of hip replacements in the UK, your query should not be “hip replacements”. Try “hip replacements success” instead
Who to ask. For a website to be included in the results page, the site must contain words that were part of your query. If you’re looking for a site written by doctors, use medical words. Try “hip replacements efficacy”
Where to ask. You can also restrict the search engine’s answers to a certain set of pages by adding “site:” at the end of your query. For NHS sites, try “hip replacements efficacy site:nhs.uk“. For a paper on a Cambridge University professor’s website, try “hip replacements efficacy site:cam.ac.uk“
10 words. Most search engines accept only the first 10 words of your query. Choose carefully
Images. The results page includes a link labelled “images”. Try “hip prosthesis” then click “images” to see pictures of hip prostheses. This is extremely useful for presentations
Peer review. A search engine uses the internet for “peer review.” The more websites link to a particular website, the higher its rank on a results page
Read a book. Carry the excellent Google Pocket Guide (O’Reilly, 2003, ISBN 0596005504) in one of your coat pockets.
published in the January 8th 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal’s Career Focus