By Renee Comet (Photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What does iced tea have in common with database searching? Good tea recipes and good search strategies both come from careful refinements.
I had blended two types of tea. When the resulting batch tasted too much like one of them, I used less of that tea–and more of the other–in my next batch.
Likewise an initial search may not be spot on, but we use the results to shape our next search. Did we get too many hits? We can use tighter limits or narrower search terms. Did we get too few hits? We can loosen the limits or try broader search terms. We can even add or remove search terms.
Also, I had chosen the two teas based on my experience that they should go well together. Background knowledge helps us choose initial search terms as well.
I can use the recipe analogy the next time I talk about database searching. In the meantime I’ll pour myself a glass of iced tea.
P.S. For those of you who are into tea, the successful blend was 8 bags of Earl Grey and two bags of a lavender green tea.