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Top 10 Search Tips
- Think before you Google! Are evaluated subject listings and directories more appropriate? How about free and priced databases? Try specialist tools such as Scirus, TechXtra. Use a range of search tools for example Google, Yahoo, Ask, Exalead (see Intelways for a good listing of alternatives). Try a meta search tool to look across several tools at once.
- Try and imagine how your perfect page would look and search for terms you would like to appear in that page.
- Use double quote marks around phrases to look for words immediately next to one another, for example "air quality"
- Repeat the most important term or terms in your search one or more times.
- Change the order of the words in your search strategy to see a different set of results. Search engines tend to 'think' in phrases.
- Search for pages that have links to a known page. This gives you an idea of the authority of a page and is a way of finding similar pages.
- Limit by type of file or format, for example PDF, Word, Excel, RSS.
- Limit by type of site or domain to look for a specific type of organisation, for example .gov for US government, or to search within a site.
- Make use of the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT where appropriate.
- Have a look at Advanced Search in your favourite search tool for a greater range of options.
Business Information Key Starting Points & Search Tools by Karen Blakeman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported License.
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