Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Maximizing Google Search Part 3 - Using Advanced Search Techniques

Google Search uses functions what called “operators”, which basically means terms that help you to narrow down your search to specific files, or reduce the irrelevant “noise” in your search. Operators help you narrow your focus more specifically. Access videos from the links below. The ideas in this post come from the free, self-paced course Power Searching. (there is also Advanced Power Searching) 

This operator allows you to narrow your search to something within a specific web site. For example, [site:historychannel.com Genghis Khan] will take you to all the links in the History Channel that have Genghis Khan. This can be done for sites such as [.gov] [.edu] Be certain to keep these things in mind:

  • No space between the colon and site
  • You can use country codes to narrow your search, such as [.jp] or [.ca] for Japanese and Canadian sites, respectively. 
  • You don’t actually need the dot “.” For Top Level Domains, such as [edu], [gov], [co.uk], [go.ca]
  • You can do this with images as well

This is used to narrow your search to specific kinds of documents. Extensions such as PDF, PPT, TXT, DOC, DOCX are common, but there are many, many other extensions recognized. Try [ancient Greece document based question filetype:pdf] to get sample DBQs on Ancient Greece, but in PDF format. Use this for finding info in KML files, which bring you to Google Earth images; seek resource boundaries, watersheds, famous expeditions in history, etc. 

Removing Invasive Results (the minus sign) -term 
By simply putting a minus sign (no space) in front of a term and you’ll narrow your search. For example, if you want Napoleonic history but nothing about his life on Corsica you can use [Napoleon –Corsica] You can use double minuses to narrow your search further [Napoleon –Corsica –St.Helena]

Using Double Quotes “ “
You can seek exact phrases if you sandwich the words in quotations.

  • When searching for synonyms you can do “term” OR “term”
  • Use capital letters for OR

When seeking a specific word or words (ie) a person, a place, a food, try the intext: feature.
After starting a search, click on the gear to the top right. It will bring you to all of these options to help you narrow your search. Be certain of the vocabulary you want to use. Words are important! For example, the query intext:ancient Rome restricts results to documents containing "ancient Rome: in the text. 

Learn more here.


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