Two Google tips

One of the things I like most about KM and IA is the variety. Some days require you to put your head in the clouds and considery strategy, policy and other abstract concepts. Other days, you'll need to nosedive back through those clouds and get stuck in with some practical, 'here-and-now' solutions.

I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a workshop titled 'Practical Internet Searching'. As the name implies, I'm taking a pragmatic approach. Google seems to be a bit of a dirty word in the info management field these days (this could uncharitably be interpreted as motivated by either hubris or fear) but, although we can and should educate users about the vast array of tools at their disposal, most simply want to use their favourite tool more effectively.

I’m afraid I’m not able to publish the full course contents, but I’d like to share two nice features for your arsenal. Give them a whirl and let me know if you find them useful.

Numrange:
Example:

Best Picture Oscar 1950..1960

This searches for any number within the designated range. Particularly useful for dates, model numbers, or even prices.

The ~ (tilde) operator:
Example:

US ~foreign ~policy

This seems to be Google’s first step towards integrating synonym searching and maybe even taxonomy. I’ve no idea how the authority list is constructed or maintained, but my first impressions are that it successfully blends Google’s strong usability with a dash of the more sophisticated techniques that ‘our kind’ have long been wishing for.

Cennydd Bowles