Google Me This, Batman!
Maureen Pettitt, Ph.D.
Skagit Valley College
Did you know?
Making the Most of Search
What is the population of Mount
Vernon, WA?
mount vernon = 11,400,000 results
Every web page that Google has
indexed that includes the words mount
or vernon
mount vernon washington =
Every webpage that it has indexed that
includes the words mount or vernon or
“mount vernon washington” = 129,000
Instead of returning pages that include
mount, vernon, or washington, using
quotes will yield only pages that include
the entire phrase that you put in quotes
 Notice that the results still includes sites
about George & Martha’s estate in Virginia
(Notice that not too far down the list is the
Wikipedia webpage…)
 What happens if we reverse the state and
city name?
“washington mount vernon” = 212,000; with all
the top hits being George & Martha’s place
If we add population to “mount vernon
washington” we get 12,400 results
with the population of the city the first result
(from Wikipedia no less!)
Adding more search terms
Using the plus sign
Add +census to the search; the result is 622
 A plus sign forces pages to include the term
after the “+”
If we want to exclude Wikipedia (Batman
wants us to do so)
Add a minus sign in front of the term you
want to eliminate
 –wikipedia
 There are now 517 results
If we only want census pages, click on
Advanced Search and add to
the “Search within a site or domain field”
Holy Joy Hog, Batman!
We narrowed the search down
to 54 results from our original
11.4 million!
A Short Cut
If you are wanting only
government web sites,
add “*.gov” to your
search terms, but note
that this can broaden
rather than reduce your
Your government is
clearly here to help…
…and obviously a
Molasses Disaster
Molasses Disaster gets us 1, 570,000
Searching for “molasses disaster” (with
quotes ) reduced the number to 68,800
“molasses disaster” + Boston = 47,200
Adding “edu” in Advanced Search
under domain = 792 results
Dictionary Definitions
Synonym Search
Calculations, conversions, flight status, package
tracking, movies, get address from a phone
number, people search, etc.
Similar to using ProQuest or EBSCOhost,
but is available when you can’t get to
those resources, or want to supplement
your search
Scholar Preferences
Specify language, library, number
of results, or bibliography mgr
(i.e., EndNotes)
Advanced Search
Specify author/subject
information, publication, dates
My Go-To
Advanced Search:
Author Search
Advanced Search Tips:
The search [friedman regression] returns
papers on the subject of regression written by
people named Friedman. If you want to
search on an author's full name, or last name
and initials, enter the name in quotes: ["jh
When a word is both a person's name and a
common noun, you might want to use the
"author:" operator. This operator only affects the
search term that immediately follows it, and
there must be no space between "author:" and
your search term.
For example:
[author:flowers] returns papers written by
people with the name Flowers, whereas [flowers
-author:flowers] returns papers about flowers,
and ignores papers written by people with the
name Flowers (a minus in front of a search term
excludes results that contain this search term).
You may use the operator with an author's full
name in quotes to further refine your search. Try
to use initials rather than full first names,
because some sources indexed in Google Scholar
only provide the initials.
For example:
To find papers by Donald E. Knuth, you could
try [author:"d knuth"], [author:"de knuth"], or
[author:"donald e knuth"].