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Gimpsy Help - Searching tips

This is a lengthy document! Can I have a summary please?

Sure. Gimpsy contains only interactive sites that allow users to perform various activities. To use Gimpsy efficiently, simply type what activity you are interested in doing online and any additional information related to it. For example:
  • buy curtains
  • play chess
  • learn Spanish
  • download a freeware screensaver for Windows

Alternatively, select one of the activity categories on the home page. Then, refine your search further by selecting subcategories until your search phrase is complete.

The search results are highly influenced by the settings of your preferences, so make sure they are correct for you. Finally, if you get stuck, simply type any relevant word and see what comes up. Try, for example, 'games'.

Content - detailed explanations

I am new to Gimpsy. What is this site all about?

An overview of the site is available in the Gimpsy - An Overview. Please read it first.

Which sites can I find in Gimpsy?

Let us consider first a different, yet related, question: What is it that you are after? In general, you may (at any given moment) be looking for one of two things: Information (to READ about) or Activity (to DO). For example, you may want to find out biographical details of the author whose book is now top on the best-sellers list or you may want to buy that book.Obviously, you may want to do both and you may well find sites that satisfy both requirements - but not always.

With few exceptions, Gimpsy is poorly equipped to help you with the first aim but very competent in handling the second. It deliberately and explicitly includes only sites that provide online activity. Hence, if what you are after is reading about something, Gimpsy is unlikely to find the right site for you - other Search Engines and Directories are more likely to serve you better in this respect.

Having excluded those sites from Gimpsy - what sites are left? Broadly speaking, any site that provides an online service is eligible for inclusion. The 'online service' is defined as any interactive use of the Internet. Examples are 'buy', 'sell', 'exchange', 'play', 'search', 'color' and many more. The implication of the strict selection criterion is that the term 'online' is redundant in any search phrase - they all are! The full list of the currently defined activities in Gimpsy is visible on the Home Page.

What search methods are available?

Gimpsy uses two search methods: The Category Structured Search and the Natural Language Search. In the first, you 'build' your search phrase by progressively narrowing down your requirements until you have identified them exactly. You would only need to 'point and click' to do so. In the second, you type your requirement directly in the field provided and Gimpsy immediately takes you to the relevant category.

Although distinct, Gimpsy allows you to seamlessly move from one mode to another. On every page you can choose to use one or the other.

How do I use the Category Structured Search (CSS)?

To start using the Category Structured Search, simply click on one of the activity links on the Home Page. The default view shows only a subset. These are not all the available activities. To see them all, click on the 'show all' link at the bottom of the list. Select one category, for example - 'apply', by clicking on it. You will now see several subcategories. Select one, say - 'job', by clicking on it. Now concentrate on the top right hand side frame, titled 'Subcategories'. Select one, say 'computing', by clicking on the link.

Now note in the (faintly) highlighted row across the screen the following words: I want to > Apply > job > Computing. This is the query that was created by you. All the sites appearing in the list provide that particular service (i.e. - you can apply online for a job in computing). If you want to backtrack, you can either press the 'back' button on the browser or, if you want to go back directly to a particular level - (like 'Apply') - just click on it. To get back to the highest level, where the major categories (activities) are displayed, click on the 'I want to' link.

How do I use the Natural Language Search (NLS)?

Simply answer the question 'What would you like to do?' that appears at the top of every Directory page in Gimpsy. Since Gimpsy expects you to always start your answer by 'I want to' - you don't need to enter these words. Type only the words you need in order to complete that sentence.

Having done the CSS example above, you now have a good notion of what you can search for. For some examples of good NLS entered by other users, click on the examples link from the Gimpsy Home Page. Only search phrases that were 100% successful are shown. You can try them out by clicking on any of them and examining the search results.

Good NLS examples are: 'download screensaver'; 'listen to religious story'; 'buy handheld computer' etc.

Does Gimpsy always find the right sites?

Of course not - it's only a computer program! Some searches are quite impossible even with real people doing their best to help. (Try, for example, 'find an ideal husband'). Gimpsy simply matches the search string with the available categories and attempts to find the best match. When a 100% match is found, that category is displayed. To see what other possible matches exist, usually partial matches, click on the 'other matches' link on the search results' screen.

Sometimes there will be more than one 100% result. For example, 'buy computers' has two possible good matching categories:

Buy > Computers
Buy > books & magazines > Computers & Internet

From the information provided, Gimpsy cannot tell which of the two you were actually referring to (most likely - the first, but that is not always the case).

When even less information is provided, then none of the matches will be perfect. Try, for example, to enter just 'games'. You will get a long list of categories, all dealing with activities related to games of one form or another. However, since the results are sorted, you can easily check whether your intended activity is among them. (i.e. - did you mean 'play games', 'buy games' or 'chat about games'?)

I got the message 'No sites found in this category'. What does it mean?

Gimpsy is continuously developing. You may have come across a category that was entered as a 'place holder'. An Editor judged that this is a good category to have, but no sites have passed the editorial process and got accepted. If you happen to know such a site, please use the 'Suggest a site!' link at the bottom of the page.

I got the message 'This category contains some sites but they were not shown'. What does it mean?

Gimpsy Editors are working hard to ensure that the sites in your search results actually match your requirements. In addition to what you have explicitly asked for (either via a NLS or a CSS), Gimpsy uses additional considerations to further narrow down the list of sites to just those that will serve you properly. The message 'This category contains etc. ' means that the combination of all your requirements was such that no site in Gimpsy was found to answer them all.

What 'additional considerations' are there?

Let's take a simple example. If you ask to 'buy groceries', one of the obvious limitations that you have implicitly imposed on Gimpsy is to find a site that will be able to deliver them to you locally. If you are in the USA, getting the tesco.co.uk is of no value at all! The 5 UK Pounds delivery charge will not cover the expense...

In Gimpsy, the Editor determines what geographical coverage a site has. In every search you perform in Gimpsy, your geographical location is taken into account. You will only get sites that cover your location. Obviously, some sites provide a service which is not bound by any particular location. For example, you can 'download software' from anywhere in the world. Not surprisingly, the coverage in such instances is called 'World'.

Your location is set, by default, to 'USA'. If you are an American you may not think twice about it. It's only natural, isn't it? The rest of the world may not be so sure, but as American represent the biggest single group - it is a logical choice. If you happen to be from anywhere else, click on the 'Preferences' link and change the country name to your own. In some countries you can set your location in a more precise manner (State/Region and City), but for the vast majority of searches the country will suffice.

In the 'Preferences' page you will note that there are additional considerations that may be of interest to you. Each of them has an explanation in the Gimpsy Glossary. Click on the underlined word next to each entry to see detailed explanations about them.

Why, then, does location selection appear on the result page too?

This serves two purposes. First, it makes you aware that Gimpsy selects sites according to the location specified, and tells you which location it is. More importantly, it allows you to change your location for the purposes of an ad-hoc search. Assume, for example, that you live in the USA and you plan a trip to London, United Kingdom. If you were to tell Gimpsy that you wish to 'reserve a hotel room' - you will get the list of sites that allow you to do so in the USA - according to your location! That is clearly not what you are after. Simply change the location to United Kingdom and click on Apply. You will now get the correct sites.

The difference between changing the location in Preferences and on the Search Result page is that the latter is temporary - for the ad-hoc query only. Gimpsy remembers your fixed, or permanent, location from the Preferences, and uses the temporary location only when explicitly asked to do so.

What are 'Additional filters'?

The additional filters serve the same purpose as the Preferences. They allow you to narrow down even further the list of sites so that it will match as closely as possible your exact needs. For example, in the 'download' category, you can filter the results by both the Operating System (e.g. - Windows, Linux, BeOS etc.) and by the payment method (freeware, shareware or commercial). If you were to type 'download video player Linux freeware' in the search box, Gimpsy would fill in the relevant details in the category filters. Obviously, you can change the filter selections at any time and have Gimpsy use them by pressing the 'Apply' button.

Where can I see the definition of all those terms?

Please consult the Gimpsy Glossary.
Help - using Gimpsy v5.doc




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