Yesterday while attending Frank Nguyen’s session on EPSS there was a discussion around whether people have good search skills. My belief (based on anecdotal evidence and surveys) is that the vast majority of knowledge workers know how to do only the most basic things with search engines. There wasn’t much dispute around this, but the question was raised by someone in the audience:
If I had five minutes to learn to search better in Google, what should I learn / where should I go?
In a way, this is a horribly unfair question. Clearly the topic is bigger than five minutes. Most people lack lots of related skills such as evaluation, understanding of different types of searches, etc. Further, without the context of the kinds of searches that they do, the goals of the search, it’s quite likely that answers will lack important linkage to practice.
In other ways, this question is a brilliant encapsulation of what people seek. They want to evaluate if there really is knowledge that can help them quickly. They are willing to invest five minutes, and would drill down on more information as it appears relevant / needed. They want some value from a small investment of their most precious resource: time.
So, in the spirit of the Big Question on the Learning Circuits Blog, I would like to ask for your help. If you provide a comment with a link to your post, I will link to you in this blog post. The basic question:
What could someone learn quickly to help them become better at using Google?
or more appropriately
What is a method that you use with Google that you believe is not widely known that could help someone?
If you don’t believe that this is a horrible exercise in futility, etc. feel free to express that as well. Almost every big question that I’ve ever asked has had at least a few responses like that.
As an example, a post I did a while ago around finding example RFPs is the kind of thing that we are trying to find.
Posts so far:
We will try to summarize responses so that maybe we can find five minutes of learning that would help the average knowledge worker.
On a different note, if you are interested in working on the summary OR a fuller, richer version of this kind of information, please let us know through a comment or via the form on the Services page.