Tips for effective search with Google
by Axel Boldt, October 13, 2006
All the following queries can be typed into google.com, followed by Enter.
Sometimes the results page will have blue “sponsored links” at the top or right; ignore
these, they’re ads.
What to type into What it does Remarks
Dutch flood Returns those documents that Common words such as “a” and “the”
match all of the given terms, either are ignored.Upper case and lower case
in the document itself or in a link are treated the same. The order of the
to the document. terms matters somewhat: the documents
The documents that are the target in which the terms occur in the same
of the most links from important order receive priority.
sites are listed first.
Dutch flood OR floods Gives more hits, as Google does OR needs to be all uppercase.
not automatically include plurals. Note that OR only applies to the two
Even better: Dutch OR immediately surrounding terms; all
Netherlands flood OR floods. returned documents will contain
“killing me softly” Returns all documents that contain Useful to locate song lyrics, or to hunt
the exact given phrase for plagiarism/copyright violations
“killing * softly” The star stands for one or more The star represents a sequence of whole
arbitrary words, so documents words within a quoted phrase and
matching “killing you softly” and cannot be used as part of a word:
“killing an asteroid softly” will “flood*” will not give you flood, floods
also be returned. and flooding.
prozac site:.edu Will only return documents Useful when general searches return too
George Bush site:.de residing on sites whose address much commercial material, as for many
Schedule site:metrostate.edu matches. medications, or when the search should
.edu: educational be limited to a particular country or site.
.gov: U.S. government Restricting to site:.gov for image search
.de: Germany on images.google.com is particularly
.com: Commercial useful, as the U.S. government releases
all its pictures into the public domain.
Click on “Advanced Search” Will return only documents Applies to all subsequent searches as
then choose a Language written in that language well, until you change it back
Labor –childbirth The minus excludes all documents Often useful when a term has two
viagra –site:.com that contain the given term. different meanings in two different
“killing * softly” –“killing Include a space before the minus, fields, or to exclude results from
me softly” but none afterwards. commercial web sites.
A -B C OR D OR E Returns all documents that contain
A but not B and contain at least
one of C, D or E
“find in a library: ” Newton Will return a link to the WorldCat This service is also provided by one of
Principia entry for the given book, allowing our library’s databases.
you to locate the closest library
that holds the book.
What to type into What it does Remarks
inurl:creation/behe.html Returns only documents that Useful when encountering a “broken
contain the given string link”: the document typically has moved
“creation/behe.html” in their URL to a new location, but part of its
(“Uniform Resource Locator”, the filename will often still be the same.
web address shown in the address If a broken link results from the server
field of the browser) being down, you can still access the
document by clicking on Google’s
Another useful service to locate “lost”
documents: www.archive.org a
complete archive of the internet going
back 10 years.
filetype:doc Will only return files of the given Searching for PowerPoint slides
filetype:pdf types: Microsoft Word, PDF, or sometimes gives nice overviews from
filetype:ppt PowerPoint slides, respectively talks on the subject. Most scientists
publish their papers in PDF format on
their home pages.
link:www.metrostate.edu Those documents that contain a Useful to find out who links to your
link to www.metrostate.edu personal webpage.
define: hyperthermia Returns one-line definitions for the As we know, truth is determined by
given term found on the web. majority rule.
patent 5123123 Returns a link to the given patent
in the USPTO database
3.4*sqrt(2)-sin(pi/2)+ln(2e) Computes the given expressions,
20 % of 600 performs the given conversions, or
20 dollars in euros returns the given constants.
0x5F in decimal
6 feet in meters
mass of earth in pounds
speed of light
Additional services from Google
(the operators explained above work on these sites as well)
Scholarly articles published on the web: scholar.google.com
Image search: images.google.com
Full text book search: books.google.com
Video search: video.google.com
Current news sources: news.google.com
Email updates about new material on the web concerning a given topic:
Maps and satellite images from every spot on Earth: maps.google.com, or a much
more comfortable free software download: earth.google.com
Translating web sites (crude): google.com/translate_t
Questions, comments, requests for an electronic version of these notes: Axel.Boldt@metrostate.edu
This document is in the public domain.