Tips on Searching

Search Terms and Phrases

*Search terms and phrases may be used and reused in Proteus. When you enter them and select a search engine, you may return to the Proteus Search Page and jump to another search engine. Click on the BACK button of your browser to get back to PROTEUS. To start a new search, click CLEAR and enter a new query.

* Due to the way various browsers are configured and information is cached in memory, you may have to resubmit your search terms occasionally.

Search Engine Delays

Depending on what search engine you use, the time of the day you access it, and the search terms or phrases you've used, there may be a brief or extended delay as the remote server processes your query. If there is a considerable delay, you may instantly select another search engine by simply clicking on a different button on the Proteus menu.

"No Hits" or Few Websites Found

If you've entered a query that has returned few or no results, you do not need to revise your search terms/phrases immediately, unless you are intent on using a specific search engine. Instead, you may attempt to resubmit your query to other search engines to see what results they may (or may not) produce. As every search engine uses different criteria in indexing and ranking topics and words, your query will almost certainly produce different results between two or more search engines. If at some point it becomes apparent your terms are not producing desirable results, click CLEAR TERMS and initiate a new search.

Too Many Websites Found

If you are getting too many results for your search, you are probably not being specific enough with your search terms. Consider all the possible words and phrases associated with your search and try to come up with specific things that would narrow the number of sites returned.

Also remember to use "quotes around exact phrases" and to use the Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) between words and phrases to further inform the search engine what you're looking for. When all else fails, try a different search engine. Every search engine uses unique indexing algorithms, and you will find different websites by issuing the same search terms to different search engines.

Search Strategies for Proteus Users

Specificity makes for quick search results, good or bad. You will learn, if you haven't already, it's preferable to see zero hits rather than 1,000,000 hits. Whenever possible, initiate your search as specifically as possible, then expand your search into more general terms if search engines report few or no results.

If you are researching a subject as opposed to something singular, such as a name or a company, think of all the words/terms/phrases that would most likely be associated with that subject and enter them in the input box.

Take the time to learn more about each search engine and its unique capabilities. You may indeed use search-engine-specific commands in Proteus. However, when you do, also keep in mind that submitting such a query to other search engines not supporting an extended search syntax will likely result in errors or rejected queries.

For further specificity in searching and other search methods, try the Advanced Search. For example, with this tool you can research the titles of web pages, indicate terms you would not want in the results, and focus hits to a top level domain, such as .org or, more usefully, a country's domain.


Proteus Internet Search Tools
© Copyright 1996 - 1999 Robert J. Tiess