Thursday, December 01, 2005
Tips for Searching Google
by Gary Price --> source: www.virtualchase.com
Limiting by date can be a problem. Genie Tyburski and I wrote an article about this last year. Date searching is reliable only when Google can consistently identify them as it does with Usenet message (Google Groups) and news (Google News).
A potentially useful way to limit the scope of a search is to use the syntax for file type (filetype:). For example, filetype:ppt google finds mention of Google in PowerPoint slides. Other formats include .pdf (Adobe Acrobat), .doc (Word) and .xls (Excel). Other search engines also let you query these formats.
You can use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard. Example: "George * Bush" finds George W.
Bush. Example: "To * * * to be" finds "To be or not to be". I've used this strategy to find email addresses: "email * * <domain>".
Some documents are not completely indexed by Google. Indexing of the text in Web pages stops after 101kb (For PDF, it's 120kb.)
Google limits the number of search terms to ten.
Not every Google version offers all of Google's features. For example, Google via the Washington Post does not offer the cache or similar page options.
Finding out who links to a Web page is popular. You use the link (link:) syntax. However, you
cannot limit the search using additional syntax. For example, you cannot discover which .edu sites link to the home page of The Virtual Chase. The search link:www.virtualchase.com site:edu does not work. AllTheWeb, on the other hand, lets you add additional syntax to a reverse link search.
For the most part, search engines display one result per domain. For example, enter "competitive intelligence" "new york". Google returns two listings from SCIP. To see additional pages from the same domain -- scip.org, you have to click the "more results" link.
Search terms are linked to dictionary definitions via Dictionary.com. Find the link near the top of the page in the blue bar. Other engines also offer this feature.
Using Google UncleSam, limits your search to material from government sites.
Findlaw also offers a focused version of Google. The filter boosts the relevancy of legal and government information. See LawCrawler.
Finally, learn about and bookmark specialized or, as a professor at Penn State calls them, niche databases. This can save you time and aggravation. Examples include the new keyword searchable version of The Wayback Machine or the even newer SMEALSearch, which indexes freely available, scholarly business information.
Gary Price (Gary Price Library Internet Research Consulting) is the author of the essential Weblog for searchers, The ResourceShelf.
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