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ENG102 First-Year Composition (Witzke)

How librarians use Google

For better results in Google, librarians will use various strategies which include: 

Domain searching -- Limits results according to a website's top level domain.  For example, .gov (government websites), .edu (education) and .org (organization)

  • site:domain search term(s)
  • “computer mediated communication”
  • "text messaging"
  • virtual reference 

Site searching -- Limits results to a particular website

  • site:url search term(s) 

  • zombies

Boolean operators -- 

OR - Broadens searches by only requiring either of the search terms it combines to appear in the resulting webpages.

  • search term(s) OR search term(s) 
  • censorship OR suppression OR ban

NOT - Narrows results by requiring certain terms be eliminated from the search. Instead of NOT use the minus sign (-)

  • search term(s) -unwanted term(s)
  • censorship "children's literature" -"young adults"

AND - Narrows searches by requiring any of the terms appear in the resulting webpages. Google defaults to AND so it is not needed

  • censorship school libraries

Phrase searching -- Although Google looks for all of the terms entered they will not appear as phrases unless quotations are used 

  • "search phrase"  
  • "Miranda v. Arizona"
  • "friend of the court"
  • "ex officio"

Truncation -- Broadens the search to include various word endings  

  • search term*
  • child* = child, child's, children, children's, childhood
  • censor* = censor, censors, censorship

Postcode limiter -- Limits the search to a particular zip code

  • search term(s) zipcode
  • "family farm" 85083
  • "medical marijuana" 85281

Related limiter -- Limits search results to websites that are similar in content

  • related:url 

Statistics -- Use the tilde (~) to find data related to search terms

  • unemployment~statistics
  • "arizona unemployment"~statistics

This handout, created by GCC Librarian Linda Schallan, offers tips and techniques for producing better Google search results.

Ask a Librarian