Have You "Googled" Lately?

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

Have you googled or checked Yahoo or Gigablast lately? The internet has certainly changed our language. Think of all the terminology that has entered our everyday conversation in the past ten years -- and what has already disappeared. Gopher and Lynx are back to what you might find in a zoo. Veronica and Archie have returned to comic book characters. Mosiac is done with stone again, no longer using a computer. And there are dictionaries online (such as NetLingo (www.netlingo.com) and Net Dictionary) (www.netdictionary.com) for those that don't understand "computerese" or don't remember the historical significance of those words to the Internet.

But the first sentence of this column was serious. If you haven't explored the transformation of Yahoo (www.yahoo.com), the explosion of services on Google (www.google.com) or a relatively new search engine, Gigablast (www.gigablast.com), you need to. These services have unique (and amazing) features for uncovering professionally-relevant resources that are "out there somewhere."

Yahoo was the first, and largest internet "directory." People would submit their sites and the Yahoo staff would put the information into appropriate categories. The Yahoo directory (http://dir.yahoo.com/) is still available, but Yahoo has morphed into an automated search engine, and has some interesting features. Directories are also available on Google (Google directory) and Gigablast (Gigablast directory). Directories can be helpful for large, general search topics such as information on "cleft palate" or "aphasia."

All three of these search engines have a "cache" or "archived copy". If a Web site is indexed in one of them, and the link doesn't work, you will still be able to view what the site looked like before it disappeared. I found an article from The Atlantic Monthly (January/February 2003) on an approach to intervention for autism called "Floor Time." The Atlantic Monthly, puts articles online for a short time and then archives them in their password-protected, fee-based subscriber Web site. The link to the article had expired. However, the entire article was still available in the search engine "cache." Gigablast goes one step further by linking to "older copies" -- a direct link to the "wayback machine" (www.waybackmachine.org) which archives past versions of a site as well as sites that are no longer online.

Yahoo and Google provide ways to limit your search to particular domains (.gov, .edu, .com, .org) with an option under "advanced features." In 2003, ASHA adopted a position statement on Auditory Integration Therapy (http://asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/2003/q3/030805c.htm). It is very revealing comparing a search of AIT, first using the .edu or .org functions and then the .com function.

Yahoo and Google also have an excellent "full-text" function and image/video search. If you are looking for a particular quotation (or checking to see if someone has plagiarized an article without citing the source), put quotation marks around a phrase. If the quotation is in the database of one of these search engines, it should emerge. If you are looking for images or videos to enhance class or inservice powerpoint presentations, Yahoo and Google are among the places to look.

Google has translation services available. However, World Lingo (www.worldlingo.com/en/products_services/worldlingo_translator.html) currently provides free services to translating more languages (English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish). I have been corresponding with a person in Brazil who stutters, and although I know no Portuguese and he no English, using any of these translating services we can usually understand what the other is writing.

But Google is still where I go first for not only for standard Internet searches, it also has many exciting features for professionals. A past column (Uncovering Google Goodies - http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/part40.html) featured

  1. the huge archive (over 700 million posts) of Usenet newsgroups dating back to 1981 (http://groups.google.com/)
  2. specialized searching for professional treasures by using a +pdf or +ppt after your keyword search
  3. the mega catalog (http://catalogs.google.com/) where you can comparison shop for professional materials from many catalogs at the same time (much more quickly than from print copies).
Since then, I've explored several other important features. My favorites: Google, Yahoo, and Gigablast have additional tools worth exploring. The creative energies evident in all three are worth keeping a wondering eye on "what's next?"

Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster's Internet columns are on ASHA's Web site in HTML format with active links (www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/news.htm), although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

Kuster, JM, Have You Googled Lately?, ASHA Leader, November 29, 2005, p. 39.