Search Engines

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Image courtesy of Sharif

A number of specialized search engines and services have been set up to make finding OER easier. If your aim is to find resources to combine and mix with your own and with each other, it is important to understand the licensing implications. See Licensing and specifically Which License Should I Choose? and License Compatibility. Each search engine has different strengths and may not provide the accuracy and speed of standard web searches. The list is constantly growing, but some examples include:

Effective search with search engines

If you are already familiar with different search engines and BOOLEAN search you can skip this section.

For a normal search simply enter one or more keywords or a phrase into the search box of your favorite search engine and click on the "search" button for the results. Most search facilities offer "boolean" capabilities which permit the use of special keywords (e.g. "and", "or", "not") or symbols (e.g. "+", "-", ":") to refine a search. You can use the same methods and techniques as you would for a general search.

Boolean search is a type of search that uses words to establish the relationship between search terms. There are three Boolean operators:

For example, if you wanted to search for the fruit "apple", you could exclude all results which also refer to "computers" and "macintosh" with a request like:

apple AND fruit NOT macintosh NOT mac NOT computer

Every search engine has its own rules, but nearly all of the major search engines understand the following request:

:apple +fruit -macintosh -mac -computer

If you are looking for a phrase, you should set the phrase in quotation marks. If you are looking for a "big apple" plant and are not interested in New York - which is often called "big apple" you could write:

:"big apple" -"New York"

The colons (":") used in the search examples are meant to give greater weight to one of the search terms over the others. For example ":Apple+fruit" would have the search results ranked differently than ":fruit+apple."

Notes

  1. http://ariadne.cs.kuleuven.be/silo2006/NewFederatedQuery.do
  2. http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm
  3. http://www.oercommons.org/
  4. http://ariadne.cs.kuleuven.be/silo2006/FederatedQuerySubmit.do
  5. http://search.creativecommons.org/
  6. http://www.col.org/colweb/site/pid/2919
  7. http://www.free.ed.gov/index.cfm
  8. http://www.learning-objects.net/index.php
  9. http://ocwfinder.com/
  10. http://www.oerrecommender.org/
  11. http://www.oercommons.org
  12. http://learn.creativecommons.org/projects/oesearch/
  13. http://learn.creativecommons.org
  14. http://learn.creativecommons.org/education-search-engines/
  15. http://www.techxtra.ac.uk/index.html

Source

Schmidt, P. (2007, November). "7.1 Searching and finding OERs." UNESCO OER Toolkit Draft. WikiEducator. Retrieved March 21, 2008, from http://www.wikieducator.org/UNESCO_OER_Toolkit_Draft#Search_engines

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