Advanced Search Strategies – Top 10 Tips

Another advanced search strategies course successfully completed at Manchester Business School with the usual eclectic mix of participants, and a new top 10 tips and tricks at the end of the day. It is interesting that RSS feeds get a mention this time around, and it does seem that more people are starting to use them for news and alerts.

  1. Trovando – Enables you to type in your search strategy just once and run it across dozens of search tools one by one. Tools are grouped by type, for example web, blogs, audio/video.
  2. Remember that each search engine is different. Each has unique search features, has different coverage and sorts yoru results in a different way.
  3. Seek out evaluated subject listings and specialist tools for subjects or industries that are new to you. For example Intute (, TechXtra (, Alacrawiki (
  4. AlltheWeb Livesearch – Starts displaying results as you type in your search so that you can quickly see when you start to go wrong. It also displays related and alternative search strategies that can help you if you are new to the subject area.
  5. Wayback Machine – For tracking down copies of pages or documents that have disappeared from the original web site. Type in the address of the web site or the full URL of the document, if you know it. (Note: this is not guaranteed but worth a try for older documents that are unlikely to be in the search engine caches.
  6. RSS feeds. More efficient than email for monitoring topics and managing search alerts. IE 7 and Outlook 2007 can both read RSS. If you would prefer to try a web based reader try Bloglines (, Newsgator ( or Google Reader (
  7. Keep up to date with who is best at which type of search. For example image search, blogs and feeds. Obviously, this can quickly change so use RSS feeds to monitor announcements and blogs that assess and evaluate what the search engines are doing.
  8. Make the most of the Advanced Search options to narrow down your search, for example filetype or format, site search (can be used to search individual sites or types of site such as academic or government sites).
  9. Search Engine Showdown – Excellent site from Greg Notess with summaries of the major search engines, unique features and news on what they are up to.
  10. You are not going mad! Pages do disappear without trace and Google does do strange things. Try another search engine or a totally different approach. Above all, trust in your abilities.