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Find Anything

Updated 01/11/2006. Below is a link to Google. Power users may prefer their advanced search page. Google has become the all-purpose "find anything" resource on the internet, so this page is now contains only the sites I actually use, plus a "How to Search" section at the end for beginners. In cases where I am generally satisfied with a mainstream site (e.g. weather.com) that is the only one listed. I have removed this page from the Psych Web resources bar on the left of the main page because this page is not really a psychology-specific resource. However, it is still here, in case you have bookmarked it or jumped to it from a search engine.

Books

Maps

News (U.S.)

People Finders (e-mail, addresses, phone numbers)

Formerly this required a specialized site; now Google and Yahoo do as good as job as anybody...except zabasearch. Zabasearch is a meta-search engine (drawing from other sites) and it seems to be the best way to find some reference to a person who lacks a strong presence on the internet.

Psychology Degree Programs, Online Courses, and Distance Learning

Shopping on the internet

Software, especially Shareware

I generally use Google searches now instead of particular shareware sites, but nonags.com (below) remains a favorite.

Weather

When weather.com is not specific enough, I go to web sites of local TV station to get radar images. Weather.com has good satellite and radar imagery of large regions, for tracking major weather events.

How to Search

To get specific instructions for a search engine, look for a link on the search engine site to a "How to Search" or "Help" page.

The most critical decision you make is the selection of search terms. If you aren't having any luck, ask some expert on the web to suggest relevant search terms. This is not much of an imposition, so such questions are usually answered quickly and seldom resented.

The most common advice I give out to people frustrated by unsuccessful searches is to use quotations marks. Whenever you are searching for a phrase, instead of isolated words, use quotation marks; then the search engine produces a list of pages which contain those words in that exact order. This can make a world of difference. Searching for "psychology" and "law" (as two separate words) would produce a zillion pages which happen to contain both those words. Searching for "psychology and law" will produce only a quarter-zillion pages, and the top-ranked pages will probably be about the topic of "psychology and law."

Google does not use the + modifier, but it helps greatly with other search engines such as altavista.com. A "+" means the search term is mandatory. Otherwise, it is optional. (Google treats all search terms as mandatory by default.) A "-" means to exclude pages with that term. If you were looking for information about Masters Degrees you might use +masters -golf (although it might be even smarter to use quotation marks and look for "masters degree"). An asterisk is a wildcard character at most search engines; it can stand for one or more unknown characters. If you wanted to find references both to "Masters Degree" and "Master's Degree" you could search for "master* degree" to find both. Note that I do not capitalize search terms, as a rule. If you capitalize a search term, the search engine will look only for instances which are capitalized. If you use all lower case, the search engine will ignore the case, which is usually what you want except with names of specific people and places.

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