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Finding Conventions: The Internet is Your Research Buddy

21 March 2011 2 Comments by

Is there an anime con near me? When’s the next Star Trek convention? Are there any gaming events in my State?

There’s a great way to answer these questions, one I’m sure you were told many times as a kid; “Look it up.” Which is all fine and dandy to say, but how is a person to do that?

Well, you’re in luck because I can tell you just that. At CFB we’re always combing the interwebs and cruising the convention lists to put together articles on upcoming events. Here are some of my tricks, techniques, and sites you can use yourself to make the internet your convention research buddy:


Okay, this one may seem obvious at first blush but there are tricks to using keywords in a search engine.

  • Use phrases instead of single words:

    pinball will return 33,200,000 results while pinball convention 2011 returns just 3,440,000

  • Be as specific as possible with as few words as possible:

    conventions march 2011 instead of what conventions are happening this month?

  • Use quotation marks to tell the search engine that results MUST include a certain phrase:

    convention “cosplay contest” gives only pages that contain the EXACT phrase ‘cosplay contest’, convention cosplay contest will return any page that has the words ‘convention’ and ‘cosplay’ on it with only some of the results also having the word ‘contest’ lurking around somewhere.

  • Use minus symbol to tell the search engine to leave out a certain word:

    gaming convention 2011 -pax -fragapalooza will EXCLUDE all results mentioning either PAX or Fragapalooza; in this way you can find new conventions without just getting results for the same events you already know about.

  • Use plus symbol to tell the search engine that results MUST include a certain word:

    movie memorabilia convention will return pages even if they don’t have the word ‘convention’ while movie memorabilia +convention only includes results about cons.

So, in short…

Want to find out if there are any horror conventions in the Michigan area this year? Enter horror convention Michigan 2011in the search field of your preferred engine.

“Find” is A Wonderful Thing

So, you’re looking at a huge page listing every known anime convention in the world. How do you find out if there are any in your city without scrolling until your eyes cross?

Browsers come with a Find feature. The keyboard shortcut for it is ctrl+F, which translates to pressing the Control key and the F key at the same time. (Option+F if you’re using a Mac)

You can also locate the Find feature in your browser’s menu, though every browser puts it somewhere else (which is one of the reasons why keyboard shortcuts are also a wonderful thing).

So, once you have the Find feature of your browser open just type the word or phrase you want to search for into the field and the browser will show you the first instance of that word/phrase on the webpage. Then click the “next” arrow in the Find box to go the next place your keyword is mentioned.

And, if the word/phrase isn’t mentioned on the page, or is misspelled, than nothing will happen. (unless you’re using Firefox, than the Find field will turn red)

Good Calendar Sites For Conventions

And, of course, there’s always going to a site with a good list of the latest conventions. Here’s the handful I commonly use to put together our Conventions This Month posts:

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