Finding Info. 1: Google and Search Engines... How to use...

Finding Info. 1: Google and Search Engines... How to use them more effectively
Consider for a moment the vastness of the types of information available, and the sources of those
informational items. We are researchers in a time of more-than-enough information, and often too much
information. It’s growing more and more difficult to know what a good resource is when we find it on the
"web." This is particularly relevant in the specialized fields of gaming and multimedia where often
breakthrough type research is communicated informally through blogs, wikis, personal websites, commercial
web sites and what might otherwise be considered unproven sources. How do we make the initial
determination of which of these types of sites are good sources for our research? Or better stated:
How do we navigate through a search engine using it as a research tool?
Search engines like Google are fabulous information gathering tools. They are superb in helping gather
pieces of information; dates, the price of ice cream in Thailand, learning how to make stuffed mushrooms
and what type of soil daffodils grow in. Information is everywhere, but have you ever wondered why? Search
engines do not exist out of educational altruism, they exist as businesses (to make money). They are
commercial entities, and this is something to be mindful of when you do your research on the internet.
What does this mean to a researcher?
Good researchers have a healthy degree of skepticism about all resources
Anybody can publish on the internet, the internet is not peer reviewed. So who exactly is publishing
this information?
Ask yourself when you get to a site "Are they trying to sell something?" if so what are they selling? Is
what they’re selling influencing the content of the information the site is providing? If so how?
Ok, that being said how do I know the difference between different web sites?
Domain names often reveal something of the type of organization sponsoring a page. It is a three-letter code
that is part of the URL and preceded by a "dot." Here are the most common domains.
educational institution
Even though a page comes from an educational institution, it does not mean the institution endorses the views pub
students or faculty members.
commercial entity
Companies advertise, sell products, and publish annual reports and other company information on the Web. Many
newspapers or journals also have .com names.
Federal and state government agencies use the Web to publish legislation, census information, weather data, tax f
many other documents.
non-profit organization
Nonprofit organizations use the Web to promote their causes. These pages are good sources to use when compar
different sides of an issue.
for internet service providers
for the military
for the air transportation industry
general use by businesses
restricted use by cooperatives
for both commercial and non-commercial sites
for museums
for use by individuals
restricted to professionals and professional entities
Remember-- the domain can only tell so much. If you ever have doubts about a website, study it well.
What to know about search engines
Every search engine develops its own rules for searching, and typically they keep how they search becomes
proprietary (i.e. it's a trade secret, and we won’t know how Google really searches since this is how they
make money).
When you use a specific search engine take time to look at its search features to customize your results.
Some search engines or databases will use "+" or "-" instead of "AND" or "NOT." Check the Help Files for
specifics for each search tool. Most search engines will accept the use of quotation marks around a phrase
and search for that exact phrase. Some search engines accept truncation. Example: in some engines
Educa* This example will pull up documents with the terms: education, educate, educators, educating,
educated, etc.
There is a LOT of information out there, and to be successful in finding good and or relevant
information you need to learn to effectively limit your searches.
Try advanced searches to limit your results. I'll use Google as an example below.
Google's advanced Search page (below) allows you to customize the results in various ways. You can
include words, delete words, sort by language, search for updated pages, limit domains (see the list above),
and limit searching based on content (safe search).
The key to using advanced searching well is to EXPERIMENT. Do not limit yourself to one type of search
or to one search engine. Further, be aware that limiting yourself too much could push out a good source.
Advanced Search
Find results
Advanced Search Tips | About Google
with all of the words
Kitten Training Tips
10 results
with the exact phrase
with at least one of the words
without the words
File Format
Return pages written in
return results of the file format
any language
any format
Return web pages updated in the
Return web pages containing numbers between
Occurrences Return results where my terms occur
anyw here in the page
Google Search
return results from the site or domain e.g., .org More info
not filtered by license
Return results that are
More info
No filtering
Filter using SafeSearch
Other types of searches you may encounter include….
Page-Specific Search
This is best used when you are looking for a type of page (for instance, if you have a favorite
technology resource and want to find similar content on a different site). Further, Google uses
technology similar to (discussed in a previous lecture) to show how pages link to each
other. Here’s a screenshot of Google’s tool… other search engines may look different but will
behave similarly:
Find pages similar to the page
Find pages that link to the page
Topic-Specific Searches
Proquest offers this service where you can search by subject keywords. Google breaks down their
content similar to the following (not a screenshot). These types of searches are excellent when you
have a specific topic in mind (similar to the surfaces searches we already covered). They are less
helpful when you want to do a broader search.
Google Book Search - Search the full text of books
Google Scholar - Search scholarly papers
Google News archive search - Search historical news
Apple Macintosh - Search for all things Mac
BSD Unix - Search web pages about the BSD operating system
Linux - Search all penguin-friendly pages
Microsoft - Search Microsoft-related pages
U.S. Government - Search all U.S. federal, state and local government sites
Universities - Search a specific school's website
As you can see, there are many tools available even on the basic web. Each of these various search
methods will call up different resources. In addition, choosing smart search terms will also prove helpful to
you. What follows is a run down of the most common search methods. Experiment, experiment,
EXPERIMENT!!! Each engine will respond differently.
Links to further resources:
Explore Google Scholar by visiting and
For more information on website evaluation, visit:
o, or
Finding Info. 2: Library Resources
Let's take a look at the UAT Library webpage, accessible through the intranet.
Here's a run down of the sources available:
Proquest: One of the most helpful places to find full-text articles, scholarly sources, and other
publications. It's covered below.
Lexis Nexis: Archives newspapers, periodicals, and often media transcripts. It's covered below.
First Search: Hold some articles, but is used primarily to find resources on any topic. It's helpful
when requesting inter-library loans, discussed below.
UAT Library Catalog: Lists all of UAT's holdings on campus
Net Library: Holds over 8,000 full text books. Off campus students will need to email Susan
White to create an account.
Proquest is a very easy-to-use database.
When you click into Proquest from the UAT Library website for the first time, you will get an
error where you see a screen asking for a user name and password. If you run into this error,
click the back button on your browser and click into Proquest again. It will work.
If you are not near a library, I'd suggest limiting your search to full text documents only. This will
avoid frustration.
If you're using "advanced searches," I recommend selecting "citation and document text" from
the pull down menus to the right of the search text boxes. This will provide a wider range of
resources. By default, Proquest's advance search only searches "citation and abstract" which
can be unnecessarily limiting.
Lexis Nexis:
This resource can be very helpful if you want to find data from the news. While the search interface is
really basic looking, don;t be fooled by appearances. Lexis Nexis provides the full-text of over 18,000
sources including newspapers, journals, wire services, newsletters, company reports and SEC filings,
case law, government documents, transcripts of broadcasts, and selected reference works.
How to find books...
1. If you are close to campus, check the UAT Library
2. Any UAT student can check Net Library (available through the UAT Library webpage) which holds
over 8, 800 full-text e-books
3. Check Google Books for a growing assortment of full text items:
4. Check your public library. If you need help finding their online catalogue, just ask me.
5. Check ASU’s library or your local college library. Often, these libraries will provide access to materials
for a fee. In the case of Arizona State, the fee for Arizona residents is $100 for a library card.
6. Do an Inter-library loan
You should do this either at UAT (if you live near enough) or at your public library. If you have
borrowing privileges at a local university library, they can also complete an inter-library loan.
My method for doing an inter-library loan follows:
Find a book by searching titles on or First Search.
Here’s a quick guide for using first search.
o Go to, and click on First Search. Toward the top of the first page,
you’ll have the option of picking a database.
o Select WorldCat.
o Fill in the form. I've had more success using the author than the titles of books. You can
select “books” as an option toward the bottom of the screen.
o When you find your title, you should note not only the usual pieces of information for
your bibliography, but make note of the Class Descriptors (they usually appear like this
“LC: PS551; Dewey: 813/.01/08975”) for help in finding books, especially at a public
library and the “Accession No” (which might look like this: OCLC: 18908432).
Regardless of where you search, when you find a book, record the following information:
o Author
o Title
o Publisher
o Year/Edition
o ISBN Number
 And if you check First Search, you should also note the class descriptor
number and the Accession (OCLC) number. These make the librarian’s job a
lot easier.
To request an ILL…
Local libraries—talk to a librarian
UAT: Talk to (or email) Nancy Mavor ([email protected])
Allow at least two-three weeks for your books to arrive. This is why you should search for books
FIRST-- they take a while to arrive and you’ll need time to read them!
Finding Info. 3: Advanced Internet Resources
1. Deep Web Search Sites and Directories
Many specialized topics are addressed through databases or database-supported Web sites that, although accessible through the
Web, are not indexed by conventional Web search sites. These sites are referred to collectively as the Deep Web or the Invisible
Web because they are not easily found by the search technologies used by leading search sites. To search the Deep Web, use
the following search sites and directories:
Academic Info:
Complete Planet:
Direct Search:
2. Subject Directories
There are distinct differences between "subject directories" and search engines. By definition, a subject directory is a 'selected'
set of URLs, usually hand-picked by editors and categorized into a hierarchy of subject fields, much like a library is made up of
selected and classified material. Users typically browse the collection and delve or 'drill down' through ever-narrowing categories
or layers to get to more and more specific topics based on the discipline the directory references.
Here are two examples of the various levels in the subject hierarchy taken from Yahoo, a general-interest subject directory. If you
read from left to right you will see how the first categories are very broad and become more specific. This is exactly how the layers
are arranged in a subject directory.
Education--Distance Learning--College and Universities--UAT
The value of subject directories
The contents of the World Wide web are not catalogued or edited for quality assurance like many print publications. However,
there are techniques and strategies that can aid in determining the best information available. The academic subject directories
described below are a first step toward improving the quality of web sites when you are searching for research information,
because these links have already been selected for inclusion.
Web-based subject directories exist for almost any topic you can imagine. Look carefully at the producer or sponsor of the web
site. At the same time, in this age of information overload, we cannot afford to keep 'reinventing the wheel.' If a reliable individual
or institution has already created a good bibliography, use it, that is what it was created for.
How to Find Subject-Focused Directories for a Specific Topic, Discipline, or Field
There are thousands of specialized directories on practically every subject. If you want an overview, or if you feel you've searched
long enough, try to find one. Often they are done by experts -- self-proclaimed or heavily credentialed. Here are some ways to find
Use any of the Subject Directories above to find more specific directories.
Here are some tips:
In the Librarians' Index, Infomine, or Academic Info, look for your subject as you would for any other purpose, and
keep your eyes open for sites that look like directories. Read through the descriptions. Sometimes these resources are
identified as "Directories, "Virtual Libraries," or "Gateway Pages." These three directories are small enough that you can
read through the results of a search.
In Yahoo! and Google directories, try adding the terms web directories to your subject keyword term:
>civil war web directories
>weddings web directories
In, search by topic and look for pages that are described as "101" or "guides" or a "directory." is written by "Guides" who, themselves, often are experts in the sections they manage. Sometimes they write
excellent overviews of a topic.
Academic Info
Google Directory
Size, type Over
Over 120,000 Rich selection of
Over 2 million About 4 million web pages, About 2
Great, reliable about 25,000 pages, Generally good selected by the Open
Compiled annotations.
selected as "college annotations
Directory Project and
by public
Cooperatively and research level
done by
enhanced by Google
librarians in compiled by
Internet resources"
"Guides" with searching and ranking.
information university &
aimed at "at the
various levels Often useful to find "better" annotations.
undergraduate level of expertise.
results, especially on broad Often useful,
business. academic
or above." Brief
or widely covered topics.
especially for
librarians of the annotations.
popular and
quality sites UC campuses.
only. Great,
Phrase Yes. Use " " Yes. Use " "
No. " " make searches Yes. Use " "
Yes. Use " "
Yes. Use " "
|term term|
requires exact
Boolean AND
AND implied
OR implied between No.
OR, capitalized, as in
Yes, as in
between words. words. Accepts AND,
Google's web search engine Yahoo!
Also accepts
OR, NOT and ( )
Search web
definition) words. Also OR, NOT, and ( Recommend AND
search engine
accepts OR ).
between words in
and NOT,
most searches.
and ( ).
Truncation Use *. Also Use *. Also
Use *.
stems .
stems. Can turn
Not accepted
definition) Can turn
stemming off.
stemming Use " " or | | to
off on
search exact
Advanced terms.
searching Search
parts of
URLs, and
Select boxes
under search
box to limit to
KW (keyword)
SU (subject)
GSU (genl su
TI (title)
AU (author)
AN (annotation)
RT (resource
RA (resource
access fee/free)
and more.
As in Google's web search As in Yahoo!
engine .
Search web
search engine
List of additional links... includes some lesser known subject directories
Internet Public Library:
Open Directory Project:
Web World:
Finding info. 4: Technology Resources
Gartner is available through the UAT library webpage, accessible through the student Intranet under
"academics." According to their webpage, "Gartner offers the combined brainpower of 1,200 research
analysts and consultants who advise executives in 80 countries every day. We publish tens of
thousands of pages of original research annually and answer 200,000 client questions every year."
Gartner is also known for their "hype cycles," a tool used for tech forecasting.
The best way to learn to use this resource is to view their interactive
Theses are the final product of a master's level of research and dissertations are the final result of
someone's PhD research. Both may use case study as a methodology employed to prove their thesis.
Theses tend to open doors to further research while advancing a component of a subject. They range in
length between 75-120 pages. Dissertations are the more comprehensive results of a longer period of
study, ranging into the hundreds of pages. What makes a dissertation especially valuable to a
researcher is the following:
A Dissertation is one of the most critically evaluated, peer-reviewed and scrutinized pieces of
research one can find. A PhD Candidate will often have his/her work critically reviewed on multiple
occasions by experts in the field.
A PhD dissertation is approved by a committee of experts in the field.
Dissertations tend to use the latest information.
Dissertations tend to have exhaustive bibliographies.
Places to search for dissertations and theses:
The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations:
CalTech's dissertation and thesis archive:
Proquest also archives dissertations and theses. Access is available on the UAT library page.
Do a Google Search "dissertation archive" to reveal many more results.
UAT archives all Master's theses in the library.
Why conduct a patent search?
People search patents for many reasons, most often because they have an invention they hope to
patent. A search will determine whether an invention has patenting potential. Others search patents to
find alternative approaches and suggestions to help resolve technological problems. Studies have
shown that 80% of all patents hold information that is not published anywhere else in the world.
Types of searches:
Classification searching utilizes the U.S. Patent Classification system (USPCS) which has been
used and updated by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for over 100 years. The
system organizes patents by the features of the invention described in the patents. For
example, all patents for pickup truck bed liners will be found in the same classification
regardless of the actual words used to describe them.
o Advantages: Since classification searching relies on the features of a patent, rather
than the words used to describe the patent, all patents that utilize specific features will
be returned as a search result. Additionally, classification searches will retrieve all
patents from 1790 to present; there is no date restriction.
o Disadvantages: Searchers new to the concept of classification searching will ideally
spend time learning how to find and use classifications to retrieve patents. Also, the
development of new classifications is a reactive process which means that the USPTO
develops new classifications as a result of new patent trends. Consequently, new
searchers may have difficulty finding patents in very new technological areas.
Keyword searching enables an individual to search for and find patents by matching one's own
search terms to the actual words contained in patents. The searcher may also specify the
"fields," or parts of patents, in which you'd like the keywords to be found.
Advantages: Keyword searches are quick and don't require highly specialized search
skills. Keyword searches are also most appropriate for very recently developed
technology for which the USPTO has not yet developed classifications.
Disadvantages: Keyword searches depend solely upon the searcher's ability to
anticipate and guess at how an attorney or inventor may have described an invention.
Additionally, the oldest patents in this database date from 1976 only. Older patents
must be searched by classification or patent number.
Where to search:
US Patent and Trademark Office:
Patent Electronic Business Center:
Google Patent Search:
Finding Information 5: Government Resources
The US Government has a tremendous number of resources which may aid your research. The
following are a list of Web-accessible or other Government Document databases that librarians
use to answer reference questions regarding laws, codes, statistics, etc. Depending on your
project, these sources may or may not be used. Check with your instructor if you should have
It is encouraged you to try anything that looks helpful and experiment with keywords.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1. U.S. Census Bureau -
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Department of Labor) -
3. The Library of Congress -
4. U. S. Patent and Trademark Office -
5. ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) -