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Research and locating hard to find information
6

Research and locating hard to find information

Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
*reposted from automotive engineering

How do you working engineers deal with this? Since the standard search engine became about nothing but selling something to users they've become useless. The search engines that aren't about sales are mostly too specific. Accessing university research papers can be helpful but limiting. The paid for commercial services aren't much better with "specific," or "specialized." I expect I will have to pay for the search engine when I find one but I'm having a hard tine finding one. If the question applies, what do you use?

Years ago I visited a working railroad museum in Pennsylvania where they restored old locomotives and without available information they hired engineering firms to do the necessary materials and design work. What would a they use?

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Please refrain from double posting

Your question is overly broad; I've not had that much of an issue with finding information; assuming it was digitized at all. For the most part, if the information exists at all, it's likely at least mentioned on the internet. You have access to literally millions of articles, or their abstracts, on Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, or any of the journals in print.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

I find that Google works just fine for most things. Granted, you may have to sort through the paid-adverts and such, but if I formulate my 'search string' carefully, I can usually find what I'm looking for in a minimum of cycles.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
Irstuff, My apologies for the double post. I first posted under automotive, as you already know, before I knew this forum topic existed. After finding it I thought the question might reach more members dealing with similar issues. It won't happen again though.

Believe me, I have been aggressive in trying to find information that 10 years ago was much easier to find. I have tried a long list of different search engines. The information I'm looking for is obscure. Not a lot of people are even familiar with the information but that doesn't really matter anymore. This past weekend I was trying to find dimensional and materials information on a known racing differential from the 50's and could find nothing on 4 different search engines. I did get pages and pages of places where I can buy differentials at that bear no relationship to the query I made. Information that should have been much easier to find than information on the few highly modified Russian Skoda's that were raced in the US in the early 30's. I also know there is information available because I've come across some of it in the past. You're fortunate if you don't have problems finding the information you're after. Remember, nothing on the internet is ever truly lost or so is often said but try finding an article from a little know racing journal that someone put up on the internet 20 years ago. Good luck.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
John, thank you. I agree and at one time wording made a difference. Not anymore for example:

1. Russian Skoda's raced in the US 1930's
2. Russian Skoda's raced in the United States 1930's
3. Russian Skoda's raced in the United States
4. Skoda's raced in the United States
. . . . . . .
#. Skoda race US

Any suggestions? In this I didn't even revisit the racing journals article.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

duckduckgo.com will give you a different set of results, though it may not be the set you are looking for. However, it sounds like what you really need to do is more research. What is the name of the journal you are looking for? What website was it posted on? What do you need to know about the Skodas? Who owned them? What races did they participate in, etc.? Find better search terms and you will get closer to finding your article. Then there is also the idea of posting on a racing forum dedicated to these cars, or something similar. Much of the obscure information of the world is held in our heads, rather than on the internet. All you have to do is ask the right person.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
cdill21,

You are absolutely right on with the information being in peoples heads. Unfortunately most of those people are passed on and what's left is what they documented before passing. I have been down all the routes you mention. The problem is finding where the information is indexed.

I'm not going down rabbit holes about my difficulties finding the information. I've talked to people working on the other side of our internet providers and there is plenty of information on how the changes to the laws regarding personal data and information changed the internet and the laws a changing more and more against the internet customer. The most recent changes had almost completely removed your right to say you don't want sites to collect personal data on you. Internet providers will tell you that they are tailoring you experience on the internet to your use habits. I spend most of my time researching automotive information. Easy enough with what's mainstream but the obscure has disappeared. About 6 years ago I was doing research on engine reversion and massive amounts of information was available. Pages and pages of PDF format papers. Search engine reversion now and see what you get. A lot will come up that might be suitable for garage mechanics but the PDF's are gone along with the professional journal publications. Maybe once you get to page 40 of a search something might show up but at one time it all started on page one. Unfortunately there is no option to remove all retails sales sites or sites funded by retails sales sites or organizations representing retail sales.

This is all no accident and it's no secret. There is some information available on how most of what was available has been squeezed out for marketing and sales. But even marketing and sales is limited. I recently did look for some H-Beam forged pistons for a Ford engine. The second site on the search result was a place that dealt with nothing but products for GM's. The search started with Ford but all the search saw was pistons. How do you properly word a search for Ford? I just did a search for "New Ford Cars," and the 5th result was an inventory of used Fords at a used car dealership.

What I would like and would gladly pay for is a search engine that is devoid of sales and marketing. Does that exist?

I'm just reminded that just this morning I had an error on my computer. It was a "blue screen" error code although I didn't have a blue screen. Using programs like task manager and program services I found out I had a driver error for Amazon.com's data logger and tracking service. I had no idea and I use amazon maybe once a year and that's being generous.

Taking my search engine question farther, I have doubts that we actually own our own computers anymore considering how little control we have over their operation. But that's something else to this.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
IRstuff,

I understand the need to limit over posting the same things but I also wonder if there aren't legitimate reasons for it? My question obviously has to do with the automotive forum so I posted there. Finding this forum I posted here to expand my question beyond automotive where the same difficulties may exist. I went through the first and about half of the second page here and other than myself there was only one other participant identified by automotive. Where else can a post go to reach more users without double posting?

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

In most cases, there are some non-overlapping forum subscriptions, and since everyone here is ostensibly a working stiff, it would terribly wasteful to spend a significant amount of time writing a tome in response to your question, only to find out that someone else, in a different forum, already answered with the same answer.

It's a matter of politeness and consideration for others. One option is to use only one thread for answers and have your other post point to the one thread to minimize duplication of answers and wasting peoples' time.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
IRstuff,

I completely understand and did before you posted. My question was directed more to the thought of, where does a generic engineering question fit? Maybe more rhetoric than requesting a specific answer.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

perhaps you need to try Advanced search operators. these can be used to greatly reduce the number of hits and target more on what you are looking for. see below for some examples. unfortunately, these are not well publicized, but you can google search to find them...

https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/bing-google-advance...

https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/246643...

https://help.bing.microsoft.com/#apex/18/en-US/100...

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
CVG,

Thank you for this. Some of this is new and some is a blast from the past. The operators ", -, +, < and > I used at one time all the time but again, their effectiveness seemed to have fallen off but I've also been given reason why that might be that has nothing to do with the search engine.

Since I was last on the computer I happened to run in to an computer\internet guru neighbor and got to talking to him about all of this. He told me there's a good chance I've been hit with a browser hijacker. He told me most aren't malicious in terms of some kind of identity theft and what they do is maximize the goals of a marketing or advertising service that has hired them. He told me a lot of what is behind this and how it's happening is mostly related to phone apps that crossover to a users windows and internet explorer use. I got some tips on how to look into this. He also told me it's becoming more and more common for internet service providers, including some of the big names, to break in to browsers and take over some of the search engine bandwidth. Without a good understanding of the coding used by Microsoft and internet explorer it's really hard to find out if this is going on.

I'm thinking about reinstalling some things he suggested tomorrow and see what happens. I will lose any settings I have that are involved with what affected with this solution though. I may even just reinstall everything to see if that solves any of what I'm dealing with. Even he said what I'm describing is in his opinion "over the top" to what I should be seeing going on. When I told him about my earlier search for "new Ford cars," he said I should have seen little about buying a new car and nothing about what Fords a used car dealership has on the first page.

Thanks again CVG and everyone else.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

2
Frankly, I find that in performing technical searches, the internet worked better 15 years ago than today. Search engines assume your are on the internet for shopping and push results that are the most typical things shoppers buy. As RRiver indicated, the operators ", -, +, < and > are mostly ignored anymore.

And searches on news websites! I've typed in the actual article title, author, and news source name, but if it is not the news-spin topic the site wants you to see, then the actual article will appear probably 30 hits down the page - if its in the search results at all.

I'm beginning to think AI stands for Automated Idiot.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

15 yrs ago there was, perhaps, 0.02% of the current stuff online, and you had to go to the company library to find a lot of stuff. It's like asking the internet for the secrets to CPM80 bios design. If it wasn't on a journal website, or Wikipedia, or internet archive, it might truly be gone. The internet is currently encroaching on 0.2 yottabytes of data. And while some stuff lives on, other stuff does get lost, particularly all that stuff in various self-published sites hosted by now-defunct ISPs.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
IRstuff,

I think you're right and 10% of what's been added is probably cat videos! lol

I did reload and restart some things this morning and it did make a difference in my searching. A noticeable difference. I really had no idea that might or could happen. But, I did also start up an old computer today also and dug up some old saved web addresses from the old Window days which was good for a laugh but some of those sites did come up with an address but not in searches.

I'll persevere and get through this. Thanks again for the help.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Bear in mind that search engines are essentially automated popularity contests in a microcosm; any search result that doesn't garner interest winds up moving downwards in the result listing. If your subject matter cannot be cleanly segmented from something that is more popular, you might do well to start with the 10th or 100th page of the results.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
LOL. Yep, a search strategy I'm familiar with.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

When I search on google for my own website, using a certain combination of keywords (say four), I am able to find my website ranked in the 1st page of google search.
If I do substitute one word with a synonymous or a word which has relatively close meaning (example: substitute evaluation by analysis), my website appears in 3rd or even 4th page of google search. So it is not only a Google / search engine thing, it is also how the website are inherently designed so their rank position in search engine stays optimal vs. numerous and various combinations / substitutes of key words.

If you plan an escape, you must succeed as if you fail, you will be punished for trying. Never say or write down your plan. Heart is the only place where secrecy is granted.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Agreed that its probably not a search issue as much as an availability issue. We had a big loss recently when the glassfiles website went down. It had thousands of papers in my area which are really not anywhere else.

For this reason and others, I think its important to have your own library of things which might go dark one day.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
glass99,

I have to agree. My question has led to learning a lot about searching beyond what I did know.

What does it mean though when it's often said, "Nothing on the internet is ever really lost?" LOL

I'm not sure what it means when you say "website went down?" Is it something you can pick up yourself and host?

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

RRiver: there is a conference in Finland called Glass Performance Days, and everyone who presented a paper had their paper published by the conference organizers. At some point the archive got switched over to a local university, but the university website isn't working any more (404 error). I assume they had some sort of tech error and there is no one at the school that cares enough to fix it. Maybe they just need to reboot their server? I don't know.

If you have permission, you could of course republish any kind of information you like. I think what they mean about the internet not forgetting is in relation to things you would prefer are forgotten.

The key to finding things in the internet in my mind is to think about who would have an interest in posting it.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

yeah, or cute kitten videos, which are probably going to be around for a very long time. Although, one can easily imagine that today's cute kitten video will be supplanted and shoved to page 100 of the video search results because there's a new kitten video being posted every hour of every day.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

(OP)
SparWeb,

Not that I remember but I do have it secured now and I appreciate your bringing it to my attention.

When I used the Skoda in this thread it was one of many examples I could have used. Specifically about the Skoda the research is for some information that exists or at least did at one time. There were some cars that came to the US for racing. Although I'm interested in anything I can find to document the cars and their history there is, or was, a need for the information on the funding that was supporting the imported race cars in the late 30's.

Thank you again SparWeb.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

I found it by modifying the search terms you listed earlier.
I don't know anything about Skoda at all, in fact.
I could tell that you are interested Skoda cars, but your terms may have implied "ONLY SKODA RACES IN THE USA" and "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE POSSIBLY RELATED". This is a common problem; how to make the search specific enough to find what you want, but not too restrictive that it eliminates things you do want... or would lead to what you want if only the search engine could give them to you.
Art more than science, at my user level, that is.

Also best to check your spelling, punctuation and grammar when searching. Search engines try to understand grammar, but I doubt Google does it well. My search terms used correct grammar or no grammar at all - yours implies a grammar that you probably don't intend. The punctuation police are knocking on your door.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

try searching library on line, most likely it will be in a book or manual in the archives.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Meh, the open internet is terrible for learning proper methods to do even simple tasks so I honestly could care less how great or terrible the search engines are. Even boards like this contain a ton of bad advice mixed with the good, so reader beware. Personally, I prefer to lean on industry experts whenever possible and will leverage the network to do so. Barring this, the various professional and society journals are my second-choice reference.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Try filtering out the undesirable search results. Do this by placing the NOT operator before the keyword you want to omit.

Randy Berg
http://www.tensorsoftware.com

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Searches are all manipulated today. Something new that I learned this week.

Into your search engine, type any random 3 or 4 digit number followed by the two words: new cases. All search results will be news for the current pandemic. Now, change the numbers slightly and repeat. Many of the search results will be the same articles you saw the first time, but with the numbers changed to match your new entry. As if the stories have changed.

Earlier this week when I first discovered this, you could type, example: "351 new cases wine", and all the results would be for the pandemic. But they've fixed their search-spin algorithm now and you will actually get hits on 'wine'. I just did this - I typed in a random number followed by new cases polypropylene, and all the hits were for the virus. By the time you try this, they may have trained their AI a little more. Play with it - it's fun to see the results.

I'm getting tired of these companies trying to herd us like a bunch of cattle. Unlike my earlier post where I stated that AI stands for Automated Idiot, in this case AI stands for Automated Indoctrination.

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

depends on the search engine. Bing does not report on virus at all when I type "351 new cases wine or "new cases polypropylene". google on the other hand, does. which is why i generally try to avoid google as my default search engine

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

Using duck-duck-go the terms "351 new cases wine" gives mostly wine-related hits with a few virus stories mixed in (the numbers do not match "351").

I stopped using Google after a combination of problems came up in my searches that gave me the creeps. Most notably, the immediate alignment of advertizing banners with my most recent searches, but also casual discussions of items found during a search that were radically different when compared with somebody else's computer with EXACTLY the same search terms. It was a game between myself and my sister for a while until it took a freakish turn when our "comparison shopping" became the source data of our profile updates. After that Google must have been convince we really wanted the crazy stuff we were searching for. Then I discovered ad-blockers and upped my firewall game and the internet has been much more serene ever since.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Research and locating hard to find information

The unusual results I posted above with searches was demonstrated to me by a co-worker who uses Google. I found it to be true with the search engine I currently use - DuckDuckGo.

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