Combinatory Search Technique

It is hard sometimes to find the information you want, and harder more to stumble across something new and interesting. With the steadily declining results returned by Google I have been forced to develop new techniques for searching and finding interesting resources and information. One of these techniques is what I call “combinatory search” where I take a couple interesting n-grams—whether from my own thoughts, or an article I’m reading—and I will search with both in quotation marks (to get exact matches). This narrows down results by quite a lot, often returning somewhere between 1 and 1000 results for any given search, and frequently leads to discovering particularly interesting resources that I would not otherwise have discovered.

I like to think of this technique as “exploring nearby thoughtspace” as my hypothesis is that if someone else is using one or two terms or ideas that I find particularly compelling, then they might be thinking along the same lines. Interestingly this has also led me to stumble upon a number of pieces by people I know and follow, a friend’s thesis, a twitter aqcuaintance’s article, and of course sometimes I end up stumbling upon my own website!