LightSwitch: Search Brighter

Please select a section:

{   Learn about LightSwitch Search Tools   }

{   Search Engine Basics   }

{   LightSwitch Learning Guide   (PDF)   }

{   Search Engine Help & Home Pages   }

{   Free Publications for Researchers   }

About LightSwitch Search Tools

LightSwitch is an educational search tool developed at Middletown Thrall Library with the intent of helping online researchers improve their searches and information awareness. LightSwitch links you with some of the very best general and specific search engines in the world.

LightSwitch Search Tools seek to motivate you to contemplate every single aspect of your search:
LightSwitch searches are not automated: you must think and construct your searches mindfully, drawing inspiration or ideas, if you wish, from keywords provided in LightSwitch's "enlightenment" section (which appears when you click the "+ enlighten your search" link)

It is our hope that you can use LightSwitch to enrich your searches and increase their specificity by adding standardized terms, subject headings, and otherwise challenging words and phrases (such as "onomatopoeia" or "quantum chromodynamics").

As different search engines produce a variety of search results, you are encouraged to see which search engines work best for each query. This is a major reason LightSwitch exists: to help you educate and expand your search techniques, to help you part with less effective research strategies, and to open your mind to other and possibly more appropriate search tools for any given search.

LightSwitch begins in a "General Topics" mode. You can quickly switch to other modes, such as Art or Astronomy, and incorporate related keywords, names, phrases, titles, and more into your searches.

For each topic you select LightSwitch also highlights related Internet resource guides developed by Middletown Thrall Library.

If you are new to Internet research or simply would like to perform your researcher with heightened confidence and awareness, you might want to download our free Web Checklist and Critical Thinking Skills guides (Adobe Reader/PDF format).

If you would like to learn more about doing research (on or beyond the Internet) as well as evaluating information in all forms, we invite you to visit our Critical Thinking Skills and publications pages.

You can also ask our librarians questions over the Internet.

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Search Help Pages

You are encouraged to explore different search engines to see which ones serve your inquiries best. You should also try to become aware if a search engine offers special search modifiers and advanced search modes, which can help you retrieve more relevant results than simple keyword inquiries.

With that in mind, please follow the links below to visit search engine home pages and help/about pages to learn more: Also check out our topic web resource guides and online documents page, where you will find downloadable guides on critical thinking, databases, Internet safety awareness, online research, and other electronic research services provided by Middletown Thrall Library.

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Free Publications for Researchers

Middletown Thrall Library offers a variety of freely downloadable publications as part of its continuous efforts to educate researchers and Internet users on all aspects of information.

Please feel free to download one or more of the following publications:
Documents are provided in the Adobe Reader PDF format.

Thrall also offers these free guides for any libraries interested in Internet resource classification and Web guide development:

Additional documents of interest to online researchers are available at this link.

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LIGHT & LightSwitch Search Tools
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