by Sheena Williams

You Have A Question. You have a burning desire to get information. Happenstance has caused you to require the answer and

by gosh, you are going to get it! Swell, you turn to the library and then you turn to the internet, and your search has yielded nothing. Not a single thing. You are no closer to reaching your goal for researching than you were when you first started needing this information. Well, don’t worry! We are going to outline a few things that might help you on your way to gaining the knowledge that you need!

Keywords. Let’s say that your question is something like “What is paper made of?” Well, of course you’re going to turn up literally thousands of answers by just googling. But what if you wanted to find out about how a certain type of paper was made? This particular paper is made from the parchment of some exotic tree on the banks of the Nile. Farfetched when you could just google the paper, but when you don’t have anything else to go on than a location and the type of item, it makes for hard research. This is where keywords come in. You can go to any library or web browser and start searching for the words: paper, Nile, parchment, tree. The keywords not only narrow your search, but it will give the browser or book log — something to grab onto when searching. By narrowing the results down or separating them into parts, you come up with a whole that will lead you to the answer.

Phrases. Much like keywords, phrases will help you search for exact items dealing with the subject you are trying to get information on. You are searching for a book and you don’t know the title, the author or where the book can be found. You are looking for a song and you are unable to remember the song lyrics or you don’t know the name of the song. By searching for the whole phrase, you are giving instructions for the computer or library database to look for a string of words that are in sequence. It narrows the amount of searching that has to be done because of the very specific information you entered in the search engine.

Spelling. Spelling what you are looking for properly cannot be impressed upon enough. By spelling the name of what you are speaking of properly, you can find whatever you are looking for much faster. Unfortunately, in our world of creative ways of doing things, what you may think is the proper spelling of a word may not be the proper spelling of what you are looking for. If you are looking for a packaging and all you have is the word lid, the company may, in fact, have lids. They may, in fact, even be called Lids. But what you don’t know is that Lids is spelled Lydz. What you didn’t know is that the name of the item is a play on the spelling, and also the name of the owner, Lydia. The world of printing is not subject to the same laws as the rest of the literary world.

Ask Friends. When you hit a road block with your search, bounce some ideas off your friends! They may not only already know exactly where to look and give you suggestions, they may also know of another way of looking for something. They may have a phrase or some keywords you haven’t even thought or imagined. They may know more of that song you were searching earlier. They may know the address of that packing company. They may know that the business you are looking for is spelled a little differently. Your friends and family are a fount of information that you may not have tapped into who can get you that answer that much faster!

Frustration. Don’t, under any circumstances, get frustrated with your search. There is a lot of information out there which means there’s a lot of information you’ll have to weed through. There will be times when you will find everything around the subject, but not the exact subject you are seeking. There will be times when you see the exact title of what you want, but due to mislabeling, you turn up a site about the rain forest. That’s all well and dandy, but you were looking for information about card board boxes. Know that when you start the search that you may not come up with much the first time around. In fact, you may have the opposite and have too much information thrown at you with not only different pages, but different opinions. Just take a deep breath and wade through. You will find your targeted item or song or company.

Remember, with a little elbow grease and a few of the suggestions listed above, you will be able to find anything you desire on the internet or anywhere! △