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My desperate search for information scent

June 25th, 2009 by mdmcginnis

Web searchers have been compared to hunters and gatherers, trying to find the most likely sources of food without using up their strength. In the Information Age, when we don’t hunt berries much, we’re looking for information scent to tell us which websites, which web pages, are most likely to give us the answers we need. But even today, sometimes people literally search the Web to survive. I experienced that during a health problem which my wife recently experienced.

The risks to her health made it clear I needed to learn more – quickly, effectively, and efficiently – as a search engine professional and husband. I was Googling as I had never done in my life. I remembering scanning the search results of medical articles from Google Book Search and Google Scholar for hints of which ones were most reliable and relevant to us. I was looking for certain combination of medical keywords in the title and the snippets, and looking for other keywords that would help me evaluating the source and philosophy behind the information.

Thankfully, what I learned made our decision-making easier. The news is good now: my wife has completely recovered and is no longer in any danger.

My search for information scent may be different than yours. Hopefully yours are more relaxed! I didn’t have time to click on irrelevant results, let alone read them leisurely. But whenever you search the Web, or when visitors search your website, the goal is the same: to find the most satisfying clusters of answers in a field of billions of pages.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 Search
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