We have been running our Advanced Search Strategies workshop again, this time in Sheffield. As usual, we asked the participants at the end of the day to come up with their top tips and sites. This is the list.
1. Use evaluated subject listings to filter out the rubbish, for example OMNI (http://www.omni.ac.uk/) in the health and medical area. Use Pinakes (http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/irn/pinakes/pinakes.html) or RDN (http://www.rdn.ac.uk/) to help identify them.
2. Ranking.thumbshots.com to demonstrate the overlap – or lack of it – between search engines, and to convince colleagues and users that Google is not always the best or only tools for an enquiry.
3. Use the filetype format available on all the main search engines’ advanced search screens to narrow down your search. For example spreadsheets for statistics, Powerpoint to find information on or from experts on a subject, PDF and Word files for “meaty” market and industry reports, or government reports.
4. Try Kartoo (http://www.kartoo.com/ for a different approach to presenting results and for suggestions on additional or alternative search terms.
5. Trovando.it to run your search quickly in several different search tools, and as a reminder of the different resource types and tools that are available, for example reference.
6. RDN Virtual Training Suite (http://www.vts.rdn.ac.uk/) to bring you up to speed on key, reputable resources in an unfamiliar subject or industry sector.
7. Google numeric range search to look for anything involving a range of numbers. For example, “top” banks may be top 10, 15, 20, 100 (top 10..100 banks), or for identifying forecasts (TV advertising spend forecasts 2005..2012).
8. Pattern search in Exalead (http://www.exalead.com/). For example /psych.*ist/ finds pages containing psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst etc.
9. Image specific search tools are often better than the image options of the general search engines. For example Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/), Morguefile (http://www.morguefile.com/), Picsearch (http://www.picsearch.com/).
10. Visit Google Labs (http://labs.google.com/) to keep up to date with what is new and experimental at Google, for example Google Suggests, Google Sets, Personalized Home Page, Search History.
11. Use the Google synonym search to include synonyms in your strategy. Precede your term with a tilde (~), for example ~bank will also find banks bankers, banking, financial, commerce.
12. Use the site search option on the advanced search screens of the main search engines to limit by type of organisation, for example government or academic, or to search a specific site. Particularly useful for searching massive sites whose navigation and internal search engine are dire.