I’m Feeling Lucky
Presentation adapted from:
Karen Blakeman: All about Google: regain control of search
Virtual Training Suite: Developing internet research skills
Aim of session
• Search Google effectively and precisely
• Evaluate what you find on the web
• Confidence in using sources found on the
internet in your academic assignments
Google is just one tool which you will use to
research your assignments.
• Library catalogue
• Discovery service
High quality academic material
• What do we think about Google?
• Google introduction
• How Google works
• Searching Google
• Google Scholar
• Google book search
• Other Google tools you might want to try
• Evaluating websites
Google searches the whole web
1. Agree 50% 50%
Searching is easy
1. Agree 50% 50%
Everything important is free
1. Agree 50% 50%
Everything is truthful,
authoritative and accurate
1. Agree 50% 50%
There are lots of search Share of Searches
why are we just looking Yahoo 16%
Top Search Providers for August 2009
(data from Nielsen, SEW Ask.com 1.7%
A lot has been happening over the
• Google has been doing lots of “stuff”
– semantic search
– adding social media to the search mix
– new search features
• Social media becoming part of search
• Results are getting “busier”
Google: inconsistent and
Results depend on country version used, browser, version of
browser, operating system, platform, logged in to a Google
account or not, web history, naughty lists, searcher location
specified or not, language, which server Google happens to
send your search to, Google experiments, is there an r in the
month, is there a full moon.....
Google increasingly ignores commands and does its own
Presents problems for those of us who help and advise others
on search strategies.
Learn How Google Works: in Gory Detail
How they work
• “Google, Bing Have White Lists Of Sites Not To Be
Impacted By Algo Changes”
• Schmidt: Listing Google’s 200 Ranking Factors Would
Reveal Business Secrets
• “Dear Bing, We Have 10,000 Ranking Signals To Your
1,000. Love, Google”
– over 200 hundred “signals”
– many have over 50 variations
• Google automatically tracks your searches and what you click on
– results are “personalised” based on your searches and page views
– you do not have to be logged in to a Google account
– stored in a cookie on your computer - machine and browser specific
• Web History link or cog wheel appears in upper right hand corner of
results page screen
– click on the link for option to disable/enable Web History
04/07/2012 www.rba.co.uk 15
What does Google think you’re
• Get a rough idea from your ad preferences
– do not need to be logged in to a Google account
– browser and machine specific
• Availability depends on country, browser, platform
• Tries to predict what you are searching for as you type and
changes results accordingly
Click on magnifying
glass next to page title
Type of search affects the results that are selected
and the way they are displayed
Google trying to be clever!
Hewish mild First result correct.
typing error for the
rest - Jewish mild
More searches on beer over the
next few days and Google now
agrees I really do want Hewish
Use +Hewish or quotes “Hewish mild” !
When searching Google...
• Look very, very, very carefully at your results
and at what Google is trying to do to your
– automatic assumption of typos
– automatic searching for variations and synonyms
• Use plus signs to try and force an exact
• Use the minus sign to exclude pages
containing a term (but use with caution)
• Change the order of your terms
• Repeat one or more of your terms
• Use advanced search commands
Google Advanced Search
• Can build up more detailed search strategies by using
commands rather than Advanced Search screen
• Maximum of 32 search terms
• By default, the main search tools look for all of your terms or
variations of it in a page
• use a plus sign (+) before a term or phrase to force an exact
• Google sometimes will pick up pages where terms are only in
links that point to the page
• Use OR to specify alternative terms
• OR must be in capital letters
• sometimes helps to enclose the ‘ORed’ terms in parentheses
• statistics UK production (oil OR petroleum)
• Use filetype to limit your search to format and types of
– pdf or doc for government or industry/market reports
– xls for data and statistics
– ppt or pdf for presentations, experts on a topic
– renewable energy UK filetype:ppt
• MS Office 2003 extensions such as doc, ppt and xls will not
pick up docx, pptx, xlsx
– include in search strategy e.g. renewable energy UK
(filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx)
• Search sites or domains using the advanced search screen
or site: command
– nhs employment site:statistics.gov.uk
– nhs employment site:gov.uk
• “Where your keywords show up”
• Terms or phrase in the title of the page
– intitle: or allintitle: for example UK allintitle:karen
• Terms or phrase in the URL
– inurl: or allinurl: for example UK allinurl:karen blakeman
– terms or phrase in the text of the page
• phrases in double quotes
– “solar panels” should pick up solar immediately
followed by panels
• use the asterisk (*) to stand in for one or more terms
– useful when searching for people
– separates the terms by one or more words
– solar * panels picks up:
• solar PV panels
• Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Panels
• Solar Heating Panels
• solar water heating panels
• Solar Monocrystalline Panels
Stand on the shoulders of
Tool to search for scholarly or academic web page links
Abstracts and articles
Universities and other scholarly organizations.
Use the link available from the A-Z list of databases
• Freely available
• Familiar search interface
• Good starting point
• No information on coverage
• No source list
• Limited capabilities for searching, limiting, sorting, printing.
• Not comprehensive and omits many key scientific publications
• Does not use publishers’ meta data
• Author search unreliable, search on year of publication unreliable
• Sometimes does weird things with your search terms
Service cannot be seen as a substitute for the use of special abstracting and
indexing databases and library catalogues due to various weaknesses
(such as transparency, coverage and up-to-dateness).
Google Book Search
Google Book Search
• Launched 2004.
• Full text of seven million books scanned by Google.
• Basic bibliographic information provided plus “snippets” of text
showing the search term in context.
• Users can read and download entire works in the public
• Google has partnered with select libraries around the world to
digitize their collections and include them in GBS.
Google Book Search
The books in Google Books come from two sources.
• The Library Project
– Google have partnered with libraries around the world to include
their collections in Book Search. For Library Project books that
are still in copyright, Google results are like a card catalogue;
showing info about the book and, usually, a few snippets of text
showing your search term in context.
– For Library Project books out of copyright, you can read and
download the entire book.
• The Partner Programme
– Google have partnered with over 20,000 publishers and authors
to make their books discoverable on Google. Preview pages of
these books are available.
Google Book Search
• Library catalogues do not search inside books
• Google Book search allows you to search inside
the book to identify books containing information
on your topic
• Search our Library catalogue to find out if we
hold the book
Other useful sources...
• Booksellers website
– free access to the merged online catalogues
of many major University, Specialist, and
National Libraries in the UK and Ireland,
including the British Library.
Google News http://news.google.co.uk
Google News archives
04/07/2012 www.rba.co.uk 38
• Said to search Twitter, Facebook, news, blogs but Twitter dominates
Nearby and Custom
Location uses location in
tweeter’s or poster’s profile
The quality of information on the Internet
The Internet has no standard system of quality control so
it's important to be careful about which information you
use and not to trust everything you read.
There is a danger that the information you find on the
– Be from a source that is unreliable, lacking in authority or
– Have content that is invalid, inaccurate, out-of-date
– Not be what it seems!
Choosing appropriate resources
You need to question the quality of information you find on
the Internet before you use it in your research.
To evaluate websites use the WWW approach:
• Who? - question the source of information
• What? - question the content of information
• When? - question the currency of the information
It's important to identify who is providing
the information and to consider whether
they can be relied on to provide the
information you need.
• Who is the author?
• Who is the publisher?
• Who sponsored or funded the site?
• Do you recognise them as an authoritative source?
• What are their credentials, qualifications, background
• Has the information been edited or peer reviewed?
• Are the sources trustworthy?
• What are their motives for publishing the information?
• What standpoint do they take: impartial? Biased?
Can you trust the content of the information?
In selecting resources to quote in your essay would you
- A Management journal article with a full list of references
to all the sources of evidence used?
- Opinions on a personal blog by a manager with no
• Relevancy - does the information help answer your research
• Validity - are the arguments rational and logical, and supported by
evidence? Can you differentiate fact from opinion?
• Accuracy - are the arguments well reasoned, and is supporting
evidence relevant and correct?
• Bias - What perspective is the author coming from? Are they giving
both sides of the story? Or are they arguing from a particular
position / worldview, or with a particular motivation that might skew
their writing? Do you need to find counter-arguments that give an
alternative point of view?
• Evidence - what examples are given to support the arguments?
How has any evidence been gathered? Is all the evidence
referenced with a source that could be used for verification?
The accuracy of your source may be affected by the date it
was published. In some fields using the latest research
is very important - as the findings might have been
disproved by more recent discoveries.
If you were looking for information on this year's top
brands, would you choose statistics or surveys on
websites that has not been updated for three years?
• When was the information originally produced?
• Has it been / will it be updated?
• Is it still useful or has the work been updated,
• Look for a publication date on the title or home
page, last updated dates in the header or footer
or explore the About page for clues about
• You must critically evaluate material found
on the internet
• No quality control
• Much of the material is not of sufficient
quality to be used for academic