Lesson 8  Searching with AltaVista

       You may want to have AltaVista open in a second browser window to refer to while reading this tutorial (refer to Two Browser Windows if you need help).

How to Use AltaVista

       The standard search service is easy to use. Just type a question or your keywords in the search entry box, click the Search button, and the AltaVista search service promptly returns your results.

The Search Criteria:

The Results:

       You will see that the results are ranked so that the most relevant matches appear at the top of the list. Also notice on the page that AltaVista provides you with a list of related searches as well as linking you to Amazon.com for books related to your topic. For most searching needs, the standard search service will prove powerful and helpful to you. However, as you become a more savvy searcher, you will want to explore the Advanced Search Options provided by AltaVista. This will give you the added value of searching by date or using Boolean expressions (which you will learn about in our Advanced Searching module).

You will note that AltaVista returned 19,350 web sites and that only 10 of them show up on the first page. In order to get to the next page (or any subsequent pages) of results, click on any of the page numbers listed in Result Pages.

Finding the Answer to a Question

       One of the really neat features of AltaVista is its ability to search for the answer to a question. Suppose you wanted to know the name of the mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska and how to contact him/her. Put it in the form of a question:

The Search Criteria:

The Results:

As you can see in the red circled area above, AltaVista knows where to send you for the information! It also gives you the typical list of web sites if you choose to go that route. Here is the information it took me to when I clicked on the Answer button for finding out who holds political office in Fairbanks:

Next: Lesson 9 - AltaVista Searching - Exercises
Previous: Lesson 7 - An Introduction to AltaVista
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