While there are dozens of search engines available (Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos, etc.), Google has emerged as one of the favorites. However, few really know how to use it to its fullest.
Before we go any further, let’s use Internet Explorer to go to Google (
There isn’t much to the Google main page. It consists mostly of a search box and a few links to additional information and alternate ways to search. For the purposes of this activity, we’re going to do all our searching from this main page.
Important things to know about Google:
- Google first looks for phrases (all the words typed in as a single phrase), then adjacencies (words near one another), and finally weights (number of time word(s) appear on page).
- Google recognizes “” around words to be searched as a phrase.
- Google’s Boolean default is AND (search for library science is treated as library AND science)
- Boolean operator of OR should be in all caps (OR)
- Google is not case sensitive
- Google has limit of 10 keywords
- Google ignores stop words (a, about, an, and, are, as, at, be, by, from, how, in, is, it, of, on, or, what, the, this, to, we, what, when, where, which, with)
- Google can be forced to search for a stop word by putting a + in front of the word (to be or not to be would need to be typed +to +be +or not +to +be)
- Google does support whole word wildcards (*)
- The order of your keywords does matter
With all that said, let’s try out some searches using some of the information above. Spend 5 minutes or so doing this before moving on.
Name one thing you learned from trying out the above tips? ______
Below are some ways in which you can modify your search query using some little known modifiers. With these, you can type in your search word or phrase and then limit your search for a particular file type, in a particular URL or domain, etc. Let’s take a look:
You can search for a particular filetype using this one. For example, if you wanted to find only PDF documents on a particular subject such as libraries, you would search libraries filetype:pdf
You can limit your search to words that are found only on pages with the title of your choosing. For example, you could search for libraries only on pages titled American Library Association. You would therefore search, libraries intitle:“American Library Association”
You can limit your search to words that are found only in a specific URL. For example, you could search for libraries in only the ASU website by typing, librariesinurl:appstate.edu.
You can limit your search to words found only in certain domains (ie. edu, org, com). This would be done by typing, libraries site:edu to search for the keyword libraries in only the .edu domain. You can also exclude domains by using a – sign before the word site. (libraries –site:com to exclude pages that end in .com)
Two fun ones…
Try link:URL to find all the pages linked back to another (link:appstate.edu to find all the pages that have links to the ASU website)
Try define:term to find definitions for words. (define:verso to find the definition for the word, verso)
Let’s try out some searches using some of the query modifiers above. Spend 5 minutes or so doing this before moving on.
Now, let’s complete this station by using something new learned here to identify a website that focused on the effective use of technology in the library.
List the site’s URL here: ______
Explain briefly what new strategy you used to locate this site: ______