Phil Bradley is a Librarian and he writes a really useful blog that highlights many new applications that Librarians should be aware of. I have him to thank for my interest in the Web. When I returned to Teacher-Librarianship in 2002 (after many years working as a classroom teacher, holding various positions of responsibility and having two children!) I was instantly mesmorised by the new landscape of information. I had to figure out how to get around it and a book about internet search techniques written by Phil helped me to do this. I learnt how search engines retrieve results and techniques for exploring the Web in greater depth. He made me realise that I was skilled and should remain working as a TL. People can have enormous influence on you without them even realising it. Phil has been poorly of late – he wasn’t posting as frequently which was unusual. I posted a comment inquiring about his health as I was concerned – I think it’s important to express humanity even in a digital environment. To my way of thinking, life is all about relationships and our interconnectedness with others. Phil sent me an email thanking me and then posted on his blog about the kind expressions of interest he had received from readers. Pleased to know you are feeling better Phil – your blog is a must read.
That brings me to the point of this post. Phil has pointed out a new search engine called How Do Ya? The search box has ‘How do you…’ already inserted, and you then put in whatever it is you want to know how to do. Some of the examples appearing on the front page include plan a wedding, write like Kurt Vonneget, paint like Pablo Picasso and fly a plane. Phil tells us that;
“The engine goes off and finds pages that give you that sort of information, and it also provides various ways of narrowing the search down, such as ‘what do you need, who can help, why do it and where should you go’. ”
It is powered by Exalead, a new search engine that Phil recommends in another post. I had a look at Exalead and it looks pretty good. I like the fact that your search results page provides you with thumbshots of sites and allows you to load a preview. Phil points out numerous other features so make sure you read his post. I have to admit to being overeliant on Google – it’s habit and I do like my iGoogle page. I do think it’s important to explore and be aware of other search engines, particularly when you are teaching students to be discerning users of the Web. Give Exalead a go.
(Picture – accessed from howdoya.com)