Shortcuts continue to proliferate in the web search world. I just discovered this page that lists all of Yahoo’s shortcuts and noticed a few new ones (at least they are new to me). Using the proper “shortcut” term (in some cases you don’t even need to add any extra terms to your query) will place a potential answer and/or links to find more info at the top of the results page. It would be wonderful if the search companies would query busy reference librarians to help create new shortcuts.
Use the suffix “facts” (search terms). For example: Tasmania facts. Content comes from the Columbia Encyclopedia.
Use the prefix synonym (search terms). For example: Synonym tired. Content from the Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus.
Use the term Hotels after a location. For example: Seattle hotels
Use the term Traffic after a location. For example: Baltimore traffic
After reviewing the shortcuts page you’ll note that Yahoo now offers many of the same shortcuts that Google makes available. These include airport info, aircraft number registration info, package tracking, patent search, UPC Codes, and VIN (vehicle identification number) info. Yahoo also recognizes ISBN’s and will produce a link allowing you to compare prices for the book via Yahoo Shopping database. Finally, for the search historians out there, search shortcuts were first introduced by AltaVista (now part of Yahoo) in February 2002.
Gary Price is the Editor of ResourceShelf and a librarian, information research consultant, and writer based in suburban Washington D.C.