A cherished dream of Internet users is that a query on a topic will return a short list of references that will exactly match the user's needs. While this happens occasionally, more often than not a query returns a lot of material that is irrelevant or of poor quality The chances of a successful search can be increased by some forethought and care.


Parameters affecting the quality of a search:

(1) commonality

(2) search engine

(3) content quality

(4) accessibility of content

(5) user needs



(1) name or term that is common or which has multiple meanings

(2) name or term shared with a popular performer, movie or other media

(3) name or term with an enormous amount of information available


Search engine:

(1) algorithm for ranking content for retrieval

(2) advanced search capabilities or ability to limit retrieval

(3) extent of the entire internet included



(1) redistributed content from a single source (for example, health information made available to hospitals for patient education)

(2) content that is biased or misleading

(3) poor quality of content

(4) poor usability



(1) not available on the Internet

(2) restricted to subscribers, officials, etc.


User needs:

(1) requires an immediate response (easily frustrated)

(2) requires a specific bit of information that may be little used

(3) poorly formulated question

(4) using terms different than the terms used to index content


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