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Effective Internet Search: Excerpts

Post-Processing Your Findings (from Chapter 2)

Note: Internal book hyperlinks have been deactivated below.

Although we consider this an important step in your search strategy, interestingly few references include it. Perhaps this is because most mainstream search engines can't post-process your search results with any level of sophistication. Meta search utility Copernic is one that can.

Why is it so important? In brief, post-processing allows you to:

  1. Keep organized records of your search histories.

  2. Manipulate the results list.

  • searching within results;

  • grouping;

  • sorting;

  • extracting findings;

  • translating webpages;

  • making annotations of particular findings;

  • backtracking;

  • accessing the findings for yourself from the Internet;

  • general sifting through your findings.

  1. Follow up on changes since you last did a search in your search history by tracking changes to searches or particular webpages.

 


To expand on the above, post-processing allows you to:

  1. Keep organized search histories

The first step is to organize records of completed searches into appropriate categories, say, using a system of folders hierarchically arranged. In this way, you can duplicate the same search under different conditions, modify or replace it to produce an alternative version, or delete it from the search history. Your search tool should ideally be able to record any previous annotations or record processing of findings already completed in the search histories.

  1. Manipulate the findings list

Each search will require different manipulations. Since Copernic provides a relatively complete set of functions, you might wish to browse some of them, referring to the Reference Manual sections below:

  • Reference Section 5.2: Findings Display & Handling Interfaces

  • Reference Section 6.3: Findings Display & Handling Parameters

  1. Follow up on your search

In some situations you may wish to periodically rerun your search and be notified of any new or changed findings. Or, you might want to keep track of changes to a particular finding.

Wave of the future

When conducting complex searches, you may actually spend more time processing the findings than in producing them. Therefore, this functionality will become an increasingly important feature for mainstream search engines to adopt.

At present, the few references that address post-processing of results are directed to programmers about "scraping the results list" to extract the findings into a spreadsheet for further manipulation.

This approach is taken in the book Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools: www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596004478/
ref%3Dnosim/researchbuz03-20/102-1651225-2500151
.

In the meantime, meta search utility Copernic, which already has this functionality, is leading the way in this new and important frontier. For more information on this topic: Chapter 6: Post-processing of findings.

Key takeaway: Take advantage of search tools that post-process your findings, saving you valuable time when doing complex searches.

 


Effective Internet Search: E-Searching Made Easy!      Baylin Systems, Inc., 2006