Salaries, Overlap, and the Perils of Phrase Searching
Summer's over, so it's time to start posting and updating SearchEngineShowdown again. I'll start off with yet another screencast of unique results found at only one or two search engines, but this search is also an example of the peril of relying too heavily on lengthy phrases for finding the best answers. The story: I ran a quick search at Google in response to a question at the reference desk about the starting salaries in engineering. I found a site with data from a 2005 NACE survey. Since the NACE site only makes its data available for a fee, I thought I'd try a phrase search for the most recent report. Unfortunately, "nace salary survey fall 2007" found nothing at Google. Yahoo (and a few days later, Live) was the only search engine I tried that found some results, which gave the information for which I was looking. Yes the lesson from this example was more than just to be sure to check more than one search engine. There is also the lesson about relying too heavily on phrase searching.
If I change the search from a single phrase to two phrases: "nace salary survey" "fall 2007", Google finds 19 hits, several with information from the correct survey. The same is true for Yahoo! and others. Leaving off the phrase marks altogether can even work for this particular search. Anyway, here is a screencast with audio, this time using the free Jing Project software. I'm curious to see how well its embed coding works in Movable Type (the software I use to run this blog). Sorry. I know it is too wide and will overlap some of the right hand column unless you have a pretty high resolution. (If, due to bandwidth limits, nothing is displayed below, try the backup.)