Search Tips

BE A BETTER SEARCHER

In this column I will share some advanced search techniques to use with Google and databases. Try them. I guarantee they will make you a much better and more serious searcher.

And ask Mr. Chioini for a personal crash course.


MARCH 2021

GOOGLE TIP #6 - INTITLE: and INURL: searching

INTITLE:

Find pages with a certain words in the title.

Example:
[intitle:health database]


INURL:

Find results with a specific word in the url (address).

Example:
[inurl:apple]


FEBRUARY 2021


GOOGLE TIP #5 - FILETYPE: searching

Google's filetype search is a powerful tool that allows you to restrict your results to a certain type of files such as PowerPoint (ppt), pdf documents, flash files (swf), etc.

Simply add [filetype:+ the extension of the type of file] to your search query to get the desired type of document files.

Example:

["american government" site:edu filetype:ppt]

All results will be PowerPoint presentations.



JANUARY 2021


GOOGLE TIP #4 - SITE: SEARCHING


As you know each website contains a domain (the website name), and extensions. The better known are:

. Domain extensions: .com .edu .org .gov .net

. Country extensions: .fr .de .ca .ch etc.

What you may not know is that you can restrict your search results to specific extensions with Google's [sitesearch].

When you add [site:+extension] to your query, your results will only contain sites with that extension.

Example 1: I'm looking for research on climate change in Canada

["climate change" research OR studies site:ca] will give you result with sites that end with a .ca country extension (Canada).

Example 2: The same search but using educational sites only (mostly universities)

["climate change" research OR studies site:edu] will result in sites that have a .edu extension (education)

Example 3: The same search on the New York Times website

["climate change" research OR studies site:nytimes.com]


With a bit of practice you'll find that sitesearch is a powerful operator.



DECEMBER 2020


GOOGLE AND DATABASE TIP #3

  1. "quotation marks", or phrase searching
  2. Define
  3. The importance of word order in your query
  4. Search page command


1. "phrase searching"

Using quotations marks in your query will guarantee that the search results contain all those requested words, spelled as is, and in that specific order. This is a good habit to take, particularly when using databases. Google is getting better at guessing what you want by looking at the combination of words but sometimes it may give you false results.

E.g., "eating disorders", "once upon a time", "american school of paris"


This is particularly useful when you search song lyrics, proper names, phrases and expressions.
All search engines and databases accept phrase searching.


2. Define: (Google)

If you search for one single word, Google will often give you its definition by forced result (at the top of the results page). But not always.

To force the definition of a word, then, simply add the word [define] in front of it. Examples: [define tube] [define forego]

Exercise: Search

A) [trump] then [define trump]

B) [forego] then [define forego]

Big difference!


3. The importance of word order (not world order ;-)

With Google, in particular, word order can make a big difference. Write the words in the order you visualise them in your results.

Exercise: Search

A) [paris hilton]

B) [hilton Paris]

Same family but very different results.


4. Search page command F/G Crl F/G

In case you don't already use this search command, keep reading.

A) To find a word on any digital page, use:

. [ctl F] (for PC)

. [command F] (for mac)' finds the occurrence of a word in a page.


B) To find the next occurence of the word on the page, use:

. [ctl G] (for PC)

. [command G] (for Mac) or use the enter key



NOVEMBER 2020

GOOGLE TIP #2 - USING THE [NOT] OPERATOR

Using the Boolean operator [not] in your query will make sure the word you exclude will not appear in your results. Google, still different from what databases do, requires that you use the minus sign [-] attached to the word or phrase to be excluded.

So, the query [vikings -football] will retrieve everything about the vikings (the big, tough guys) and exclude everything about the football team.

Other example searches:

["government intervention" -europe]
["eating disorders" -anorexia]


DATABASE TIP #2 - USING THE [NOT] OPERATOR

All databases (EBSCO, Opposing Viewpoints, etc.) use the Boolean operator [not] as well. Unlike Google, though, you must write out the whole word in small letters.

[vikings not football]
["government intervention" not europe]
["eating disorders" not anorexia]




OCTOBER 2020


GOOGLE TIP #1 -
USING THE [OR] OPERATOR

Using [OR] in your search query will expand the number of hits you get, which means you'll get more results. If your query is [cats OR dogs] that means that either one of the terms must appear in the results, either the word "cats" or the word "dogs". We often use the [OR] operator with words that are synonyms.

Example searches:

[adolescents OR teenagers]
[house OR home]
[vehicle OR car OR truck]

Notice the way we write [or]. Google will only recognise the word as a Boolean operator (instead of the English conjunction) if you capitalise it: [OR].

CLICK HERE for a detailed explanation and for some tutorials on how to use Google well!




DATABASE TIP #1 - USING THE [OR] OPERATOR

All databases (EBSCO, Opposing Viewpoints, etc.) use the Boolean operator [or] as well. Unlike Google, though, you must not capitalise the word.

Example searches:

[adolescents or teenagers]
[house or home]
[vehicle or car or truck]

CLICK HERE for a detailed explanation and for some tutorials about Boolean logic.