When Did You Last Practice?

If you don’t know how all the search options work on a site, have you practiced using them for person you know is in the index? A good way to get better at using a search interface is to see how many ways you can find the same person using different search approaches:

  • with no first name,
  • with no last name,
  • with no name at all,
  • using wildcards creatively,
  • using only a location,
  • using keywords,
  • etc.

It’s easier to see how other search options work when you use them to find someone you know is already in the database–then you can focus on learning how to use them creatively and improve your search skills by asking “how many ways can I find this person in the database?”

Then…when you feel better about your ability to use the search features of the database, look for those people whose presence in the database is not already known.

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