Finding Information on the Internet
In the J2100 News course, you will be tasked with gathering information for stories you will create. You may use MU licensed databases to locate some information, but most will be retrieved through Internet searches. It is important to understand how search engines work and how to evaluate the information they retrieve.
- Internet search engines are used to pull information from the vast amount of content on the Web.
- Search engines use complex algorithms, "spiders" or automated program "crawlers" that search Web pages for words to index. Google assigns a page rank and presents the information on a search engine results page (SERP).
Search Results and PageRank
An important feature of Google's algorithm is its PageRank System
PageRank assigns a score to every search result. The higher the score, the further up the results will appear.
Scores are determined by:
- Placement and number of keywords.
- Keywords in titles and headings are ranked higher than those dispersed throughout the page.
- The number of other Web pages linking to the target page.
- Greater number of links to the page = higher the ranking.
- Links from high ranking Web pages count more than from low-ranking sites.
- The number of links on the page.
- Too many links away = lower the ranking
- Longevity of the site.
- The older the site= higher the ranking
- Strength of the domain name.
- The stronger the domain name=higher the ranking
Web personalization and the "Filter Bubble" - a term coined by Internet activist Eli Pariser in his book by the same name.
- Describes a phenomenon in which search engines use algorithms to selectively guess what information a user would like to see, based on information about the user (such as location, past click behavior and search history).
- The search enging results page (SERP) tends to present links to information agreeing with the user's past viewpoint, effectively isolating the user in a "bubble" that tends to exclude contrary information.