01 September 2009

Module 4 - Topic 2


Google has a variety of specialist search engines, many of which you are already familiar with. There have been new developments with these search engines within the last year. We will look at these and other similar specialist search engines within the different categories at the same time.

Google image search

Google has added search options to their image search engine which makes it so much easier to refine image searches and get the exact images you need.

Let's explore the options:

  • Right click on Google Images (open in a new window)
  • Search for Sport
  • Note: Size of images, Type of image, Colour - left hand column.
  • Choose any of the options and play around to see what results you get.

You could use any combination of the search criteria at the same time. Did you notice the Find similar images link under some of the images?

Many of these options can also be found in Advanced image search. Copyright is an important issue with image use so it is very useful to have the option to filter your image search by Usage rights.

  • Click on Advanced image search - note Usage Rights (2nd from bottom).

Just note that it is still your responsibility to make sure of copyright issues of any image you find on the web, even if you use the Usage rights filter.

Other image search engines
All the general web search engines we looked at in the previous post have image search engines – Yahoo image search , Bing image search and Exalead image search. Features they all have in common are:

  • Size options
  • Colour and black & white options
  • Style options – photo, illustration
  • Layout / orientation
Bing and Yahoo have a Related search option. Yahoo has a Reuse filter and Exalead has a File type filter.

More image search engines to try out:
  • Flickr has a huge database of images, but be aware of copyright issues. (It has a Creative Commons search filter.)
  • Viewzi: Do your search and then scroll through at the top to select the Photo section - mostly from Flickr and SmugMug - visually very appealing layout.
  • Picsearch - simple to use with most of the search options and filters you would expect from image search engines.

Google video search

There are two video search engines associated with Google:

  1. In New Zealand (under the .nz domain) we have access only to the YouTube search engine. (Google owns YouTube.)
  2. Google’s other video search engine (Google Video search) is available in some of the other country domains. You can access it by searching http://video.google.com/ or http://www.google.com.au/.

Let's explore further:

  • Right click on YouTube and select open in new window
  • Search for Reference Interview - have a quick look at your results
  • Click on Search Options - note the options, particularly Duration

The other general search engines also have video search:

They all work on the same principles and have most features in common. Another video search engine worth exploring is blinkx. It has a very interesting Advanced search where you can select the source of video through removing the source button from the list displayed.

Not surprisingly, YouTube sourced videos dominate the search results because of their immense database of videos. There is some duplication in the result lists because videos can be uploaded to multiple websites.

Google book search

There is a lot of controversy around Google’s book search tool, but it has some advantages for our work in the library. Before looking at the advantages let’s first explore some of the features.

Scenario: student has to find out why artifacts found at a burial site indicates that it is the grave of an ancient Greek priestess....

  • Search for ancient Greek priestess burial
  • Go into any of the books in your result list (Note: opens up on a specific page, options along the top, you can search for words within the book)
  • Click on Overview - scroll down and have a look at information available. Note especially the common terms and phrases represented in a tag cloud that can give you an idea of topics discussed in the book.

You can also filter your results according to viewing agreements between Google and Publishers/Authors:

  • Click on the Back button to go back to your results list
  • Use the drop down menu and choose Full view only - have a look at your results
  • Go back to drop down menu and choose Public domain only - have a look at your results
  • Let's go back to home page and explore the magazines featured. Many of the magazines are older editions, but some have up to date issues added.
As Always, the Advanced search makes it easy to narrow down your search considerably.

Using Google book search in our work:
  • It makes it easier to decide whether the book would be appropriate for a recommendation for purchase or because of helpful information on the book such as the table of contents, the words/phrases tag cloud, book reviews and book overview. Of course, you would also look at other resources such as the Global Books In Print database, Amazon, etc.
  • It gives easy access to books in the public domain. And, because it is full text search, it is easy to search for the quote you need.
  • It is another way of verifying facts through the snippets of information gleaned from the content views. (Verifying facts means you should consult a variety of sources.)
  • For fiction works it is sometimes useful to read the first few pages of an unfamiliar author's work before deciding whether this is the kind of book that appeals to you.
Have a look at this video of two people who found Google book search very useful. Though this video is part of the Google channel and is used as a promotion for Google book search it still serves as an inspiration for using the service. There are other videos about people using Google Book search at this channel.

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1 comment:

  1. The Wikimedia commons has a large database of images and other media files which is used by Wikipedia. - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    The introduction article to Wikimedia Commons explains how it works with links to some of the features and services on offer. - http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Spotlight_on_Wikimedia_Commons