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Power Searching with Google – Class 3

July 19, 2012

That Power Searching course with Google is as well powerful fast.  I just start with class 3 and class 6 already starts today. Additional I just figured out that I missed the deadline to take the mid-class assessment. I would have liked to see how good or bad I’ll do, putting myself in the shoes of a student. Well, it is nevertheless a very informative course and I will take best advantage of it and will also teach my students the newest search tricks I learn here.

Class 3 is about ‘Advanced Techniques’ and I am quite pleased with myself,  knowing the operators / filters already ;-). But, as always I learned how to perfect my search.

Daniel Russel introduces a couple so-called operators that help us filter the web and focus just on the information we really search for.

Operators

  • site:
  • filetype:
  • intext:
  • OR
  • -(minus sign)
  • “quotes”

Site:

This operator helps if you want to search just one particular website e.g. you want to search the WHO for a particular disease. You can also use it to search for educational sites – .edu or governmental sites .gov, thus you can search for particular top-level domains. Below extracts from the course.

  • Use the site: operator at the top-level domain and website levels. e.g site:.gov – without any space between otherwise it don’t recognize the operator / You can use the site: operator with or without the period before the top-level domain extension, so [site:edu] is the same as [site:.edu].
  • When using the site: operator at the website level, you must use the period between the parts of the web address: [site:ucla.edu].
  • You can use operators at any point in a query. [Jefferson site:archives.gov] is the same as [site:archives.gov jefferson].
  • Use a word you expect to appear on the target page to refine results.
  • You can use the site: operator within search, images and news results.

filetype

This operator allows you to search for a certain extension. Let’s say you want to find only PDF or PPT files to a certain search topic.

  • Use the filetype: operator to find and download different kinds of documents.
  • There should not be a space between filetype, the colon, and the extension: [filetype:txt]
  • You do not need to put a period before the extension; you can just use the three or four-letter code (swf, xlsx, jpg, gif, etc.).
  • Here is a list of file types Google indexes.

The example given by Daniel about the kml-file, was new to me. First I did not know the extension .kml but learned it is an extension for google earth. You can search for e.g. a route, download the file and display it on google earth, or you can also display it on google map.

Minus

  • Use the minus sign (-) to eliminate irrelevant results.
  • There must be a space before the minus sign, but there must not be a space between the minus sign and the word you want to eliminate.
  • A plus sign (+) does not mean “and,” nor does it force inclusion of a word. Google can search for certain plus signs after a word (e.x., C++ and Google+). A plus sign before a search term, used as an operator, looks for a Google+ Page by that name.

It is possible to use minus several times within a search query e.g. salsa -dancing  -tomato which leaves salsa recipes made without tomatoes.

OR and quotes

  • Use quotes to search for a phrase.
  • Quotes glue words together; there can be additional words before or after the phrase, but the phrase will always stay together in the results.
  • Use OR to include more than one way of expressing an idea.
  • If an idea on one side of the OR is more than one word, it needs quotes around it (e.g.: [handkerchief OR “facial tissue”]

It is important to use the double quotes for your search.

intext: and Advanced Search

  • Use the intext: operator to ensure the word you want is actually on the page you find.
  • Use the Advanced Search user interface when appropriate.

The advanced Search is recognizable at the gear sign at the right side of the google window.

You can combine operators to refine searches. You can e.g. use the site: operator in combination with the intext: operator.

The advanced search opens an extra window where you can further limit the search results. It allows you to narrow your search by e.g. language, region and/or usage rights and many more filters.

I used that operators a couple of times and they are really useful :-). Thus, keep them in mind to improve your search results.

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5 Comments
  1. Fantastic web site. Lots of helpful information here. I’m sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you to your sweat!

  2. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. However think of if
    you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!

    Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this site could certainly be
    one of the very best in its niche. Superb blog!

  3. I love to use all search operators, their combination makes the result more convenient.

  4. Thank you for the brilliant post . Will now more daily . Greetings from Cologne

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