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AltaVista Test Form

Part I

  1. Please indicate your computer and browser type:
    Computer:
    If other, please specify:
    Browser:
    If other, please specify:

  2. We would like to find out which "Writing About History" seminars are being offered this fall and when they will meet.

    Enter query history. Time the interval required to return results.

    How many hits were returned?
    Look at the first 10 hits. How well did they match your expectations?
    How long did it take to return results?
    Does the product appear to have searched more than one site? Yes No

  3. The first search may have produced too many hits to be useful. Let's refine the query.

    Enter query writing history.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  4. Our last search found all documents that included either term or both terms. Let's restrict it to require that both terms be present.

    Enter query +writing +history.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  5. You suspect that the right documents might be found in the registrar directories on the main Penn server. Let's concentrate on those directories.

    Go to the advanced search screen.

    Enter query writing AND history AND url:www.upenn.edu/registrar.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  6. Let's use proximity as another way to avoid irrelevant documents. We'll specify that the terms must occur close to each other--if possible, in the same sentence.

    Go to the advanced search screen.

    Enter query writing NEAR history.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  7. As an alternative approach, let's try defining the course title as a phrase. This will ensure that the words are required to be immediately adjacent to one another and in the specified order.

    Enter query "writing about history".

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

Part II

  1. We are now going to look for information about modems. We'll start with a natural language query. Return to the simple search screen.

    Enter search What modems should I use to connect to PennNet?

    How many hits were returned?
    Look at the first 10 hits. How well did they match your expectations?
    How long did it take to return results?

  2. Let's narrow our search by looking for a specific model of modem.

    Enter search "U.S. Robotics".

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  3. Now we'll employ "fuzzy pattern" matching (invoked with a % operator) to ensure we find variant terms such as "US Robotics," "U.S.Robotics," "U.S. Robottics," etc. Select 'most' from the Word Forms drop-down list (invoking "morpheme processing", a feature that includes stems and other variant forms)

    Enter query %US Robot.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  4. Let's see if we can find out if the U.S. Robotics Sportster modem supports speeds high enough to use the high-speed modem pool. We will use a numeric search, invoked by the # operator.

    Enter query +"U.S. Robotics" +#>14.4.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  5. To direct that the numerical value we specified be applied only to modem speed, let's combine terms for the value and unit of speed. We'll use thesaurus mode, invoked by the ~ operator, to capture variations on the concept of baud, such as kb/s, kbps, etc.

    Enter query +"U.S. Robotics" +#>14.4 ~baud.

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

  6. Let's make sure the hits returned represent current information. Go to the advanced search screen and enter 1/Jan/96 in the 'Start date" field and 12/Dec/97 in the 'End date' field.

    Enter search "U.S. Robotics".

    How many hits were returned?
    Are you closer to the information you need or not? Yes No
    How long did it take to return results?

    .

Part III

  1. Let's search on a broad concept. Return to the simple search screen.

    Enter search undergraduate research.

    How many hits were returned?
    Look at the first 10 hits. How well did they match your expectations?
    How long did it take to return results?

  2. Observe whether the results report shows you any of the document context for each hit and whether the document URL is made explicit (for printing or saving).

    Is the context information helpful? Yes No

  3. We'd now like to browse to see what documents refer to the ones we've been given as search results.

    Do you find this a useful way to expand your search?

  4. An alternative way to explore this topic is to surf documents similar to those returned by your intial search.

    Do you find this a useful way to expand your search?


Please note: This material is no longer current and appears online for archival purposes only.
Use the search and navigation tools above to locate more up-to-date materials, if they exist.
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