Searching the Web

September 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

Searching the net I start with a single website or file that makes sense and has some key words on it related to my search. If possible I then triangulate three of the major search engines that suit my quest. Meta engines are handy for that. Most meta’s allow queesters and seekers to set which search engines will be asked for their gathered wisdom.

http://all4one.com (tho currently not available), http://favitt.com, http://file-extension.net/seeker, http://ilectric.com, http://monstercrawler.com/, http://seekky.com are great starters for a wide variety of searches.

Invisible search

If I want to search without being seen, I use personal search engines that allow for stealth mode, or Firefox with TrackMeNot. TrackMeNot works not by means of concealment or encryption (i.e. covering one’s tracks), but instead, paradoxically, by the opposite strategy: noise and obfuscation. With TrackMeNot, actual web searches, lost in a cloud of false leads, are essentially hidden in plain view. For other strategies and tactics, anonymous is still a woman.

URL investigation

I use things like Google’s related:www.site.wherever to find similar pages.

Pearl culturing

When pearl culturing, I start with a small set of relevant keys used in image searching, music searching, and multimedia searching to hunt for what’s associable. I keep track of potential additional subjective keys like words and images (doodles really), associations with tunes and rythms, and meanings made on a piece of paper – and regularly redraw the emerging scapes on ever bigger and bigger pieces of paper.

Mining weblogs

When mining weblogs I search through subject specific information portals, collaborative portals, expertise portals and knowledge portals and directories, including blog portals and aggregators.

Going way, way, back …

Wayback Machine to find deleted pages. Wayback now has full text search. With that I can fold some time, as I can gather how a site came to be. There’s also an archive of historic versions of the Wayback machine.

Who is or was that?

On occasion I use Whois, for which I run two tools on my local machine. There’s also a Whowas on the web. Very handy for background checks.

Mining Yahoo groups and social networks

Yahoo groups and such large scale group hubs are often named as part of the “invisible web”. There are many tools for which none of the information in such groups services is “invisible”, no matter what security a group is set for … This is more a word of warning for people wanting to discuss private matters over mailing lists, and a word of warning with regard to how free IT people may feel on a yahoo list or social network environment, knowing how vulnerable the data is.

Viewing combinations of keys with a clustering engine

I used clustering when I was tracking what happened with Rick Brenners message to the world on conflict resolution. The visual clustering was fun, and supported building a landscape from the gathered data.

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