Pumping Up Your Search Skills

    August 25, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

How good are you at finding what you need on the Internet? Are you fluent in the language of search? The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) has produced a tutorial to help you finely hone your web investigation skills.

Highlighted as the Resource of the Week over at Resource Shelf, the 21st Century Information Fluency Project (21CIF) provides free tools designed to make research more efficient with higher quality search results. From building an effective search query to keyword challenge exercises, the site received rave reviews from Resource Shelf’s deputy editor Shirl Kennedy.

“Digital Information Fluency (DIF) is the ability to find, evaluate and use digital information effectively, efficiently and ethically. DIF involves knowing how digital information is different from print information; having the skills to use specialized tools for finding digital information; and developing the dispositions needed in the digital information environment,” said IMSA.

Kennedy applauds the effort while admitting to sounding like an infomercial.

“As information professionals, we know that locating answers’ is the easy part. Locating the correct answers — and the best answers — is much more challenging in today’s online information overload environment,” opined Kennedy.

The 21CIF website offers a feature called the “Search Challenge,” which gives searchers 10 minutes to locate websites with certain information. For example, “What is the URL of a page that lists all the shows that have opened on Broadway since 1984, year by year?”

Also available is loads of information from instructional “MicroModules,” with guides covering issues like bias, copyright, plagiarism, and a host of others.

If you’re interested in becoming a better searcher, this service seems a great place to start. Thanks, Shirl, for the heads up!