09 News Search exercises


Looking at the general news services

  1. Yahoo News
    1. Search for [US financial crisis]
      • Be sure to put the search terms in the “news” search box and not the “Web” search box at the top of the page. Confusing!
      • Note that you can search for “All news” (what you'll use most), “News photos”, and “Video/audio”. However, as far as I can tell, when searching for “All news”, both photos and video results are returned at the top of the news listings. So, generally, just choose “All news”.
    2. Click on the “Advanced” or “Advanced Search” text to the right of the “Search” button.
      • Note the different choices you have here: sort, source, location, and categories.
    3. Browsing Yahoo News
      • Go back to the Yahoo News homepage
      • Click on the “Politics” tab
      • Note how much of a Web-based newspaper this feels like. Look for each of the following sections on this page:
        • Subtopics right below the “Politics” tab (in dark blue)
        • The top story
        • More top stories (some from each one of the subtopics)
        • The most popular political stories (either emailed, viewed, or recommended)
        • Political news from different original sources
        • Pointers to elsewhere on the Web (amazing, actually!)
        • RSS feeds for each one of the politics subtopics
        • Political stories from local newspapers (if you have signed in to Yahoo and set your location in your profile)
      • As you might guess, each of these features is also available for the other topics, including “Business”
  2. Google News
    1. Search for ["long-term capital management"]
      • On the results page, you have a whole bunch of things to look at:
        • Time-based selection on the left (under “Recent” and under “Archives”)
        • A timeline (a link near the top of the page) that helps you browse all of these resources
    2. Click on the “Advanced news search” link near the top of the page
      • Note the different choices you have here: date, source, and price (so you can just choose to see free articles if you so desire)
      • As you do more searches, you should be very careful that you don't end up in Google News Archive search. You'll be able to tell because you won't be able to sort by relevance any more. (That's one indication, as is the URL of the page.)
    3. Browsing Google News
      • Go back to the Google News homepage
      • Sign in to Google if you haven't already.
      • Personalize your news front page by clicking on the link on the right side of the page to edit this “personalized page”
      • Click on the “Business” link on the left side of the page. Look for each of the following sections on this page:
        • Top stories in business
        • Summaries of financial markets
        • Quotes of specific stocks
        • And, at the bottom of the page, all of the international versions that Google News currently is available in.
  3. AltaVista News
    1. Search for [US financial crisis]. Set the drop down boxes to “All topics”, “All regions”, and ''Last 7 days''. Note how many documents this retrieves.
      • Now change it so that the region is “United States”. Again, note how many documents are retrieved.
      • Now change the time to “Today/yesterday”.

Creating RSS feeds

You are now going to use either Yahoo or Google to create some RSS feeds relevant to your term project.

  1. Go the the appropriate home page.
  2. Enter a query relevant to your project into the news search box.
    • Go to the advanced search page and limit the results to the last day.
    • Sort the results by relevance.
    • Keep refining it.
    • Only continue when you're happy.
  3. Once you have found a news search that you're happy with, subscribe to the page with Bloglines (browser button if one's available).
  4. Do this as many times as you would like for as many search queries as possible.
    • You will probably continue to add to, and refine, these queries for the rest of the semester.
    • For the queries you end up using in your Bloglines account, in your project wiki you should have a description of the query and the source of the data (i.e., Yahoo or Google) and what type of information a user might expect to find in the feed.

This is very powerful and very convenient. Think of the ways that you might use this:

  • Suppose you have an interview coming up with a company. Define a query on this company a couple weeks before the interview, create an RSS feed on it, and then be up-to-date on that company when you walk in.
  • Suppose you were following a topic for a semester project (hint hint). Define several different queries about your topic using both Yahoo and Google, compare and contrast the results that you get over several days, see which one (if either) is better than the other, and then use those query results to stay current on the topic for the rest of the semester. Every other day pick out a big story and make a timeline of stories (and referenced articles) related to your topic.
  • Suppose you followed a sports team. You could define a query, subscribe to the results, and get the news about that team delivered to your RSS feed reader every day.

And so on.

Specialized News Search

  1. Use News Voyager to find the paper for Dodge City, Kansas.
  2. Historical news
    1. Go to Google News Archive search
    2. Enter [atkins diet] as a search term
    3. Notice the dates listed under “Archive” on the left. Click on “Before 2001”.
      • Now several other date ranges are shown here. It seems there is some limit on the number of different date ranges that are shown at one time.
    4. Again, search for [atkins diet] (so that you get the original list of dates back).
    5. Now click on “Other dates”.
    6. You are asked to enter a different range of dates. Enter 1970-1978 (and then search).
    7. Now you see a set of dates between 1970 and 1978. But this time click on “Timeline” at the top of the page.
    8. You now can see that the bulk of the references came in early 1973. Click on the bars in the barchart for 1973.
    9. This brings up a second barchart. This shows that the bulk of the references in 1973 came in March and April of that year.
    10. Click on the March bar.
    11. The first article listed (at least when I read this page) says “Mar 1973 — In fact, when the American Medical Association released…” At the end of this summary it says this snippet is from What if it's all been a big fat lie?. This article is from 2002.
      • Think about what's going on. An article from 2002 is listed under the 1973 timeline. Why? Because it documents that something specific happened in 1973. This little piece of this one article from 2002 has been referenced in the 1973 timeline! Think about all of the (computer based) text analysis that has to be done in order for this piece of text to appear in this timeline.
      • So, what do you really find in a timeline? Is it a timeline of publications? Or what?
  3. International news
    1. Go to World News
    2. Search for [guiness] (looking for mention of the beer company)
    3. When the search page comes up, scroll down a bit and scan through the headlines and text that are displayed — a fairly impressive set of results from around the world!
    4. Let's take a look at what's going on.
    5. Click on the “Advanced search” link in the upper right of the page.
    6. Look through the choices in the drop down boxes on this page: language, sort, date, and search type.
    7. Go back to the home page
    8. Look at the subtitles (i.e., Regional, Languages, Entertainment, etc.).
    9. Scroll across them with your mouse pointer and read the subtitles below them.
      • If you are following an international story, this seems like a good place to start your reading and searching.
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