Category Archives: Top 10 Search Tips

Top Search Tips from Derbyshire – Updated

I am currently in Derbyshire giving a course on Searching Beyond Google. As usual, the group is asked to come up with a list of Top Tips & Sites. This is it!

1. BUBL A good starting point for evaluated sites and portals covering a wide range of subjects and industry sectors.

2. FITA Links to sources of information on trade, export/import, business and companies worldwide.

3. Trovando Enables you enter your search strategy once and run it in different types of search tools one by one for example web, images, news, blogs, audio, video.

4. Narrow down your search by limiting by filetype for example xls for tables of statistics in spreadsheet format, ppt for presentations on a subject, PDF for official reports or long documents. Available in most of the major search tools.

5. Use to compare the overlap – or lack of it – in the first 100 results from pairs of search engines.

6. Blogs and blogging are worth exploring both as sources of information and as a means of disseminating information and current awareness.

7. BvD free directory for a list of companies by sector and/or country or for tracking down the location of a company and its subsidiaries.

8. Make use of the lesser known features of Google: Synonym search, define:, numeric range search

9. RSS feeds – a technology to be investigated as a means of keeping up to date with events and for SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information).

10. Official Company Registers for information on SMEs (Small & Medium-sized Enterprises).

Three lists for locating registers on the web:

Company registration around the world
World-wide Registries
Official Company Registers

Advanced Internet Search Strategies – Top Tips and Sites

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 ( in the health and medical area. Use Pinakes ( or RDN ( to help identify them.

2. 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 ( for a different approach to presenting results and for suggestions on additional or alternative search terms.

5. 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 ( 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 ( 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 (, Morguefile (, Picsearch (

10. Visit Google Labs ( 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.

Top 10 Search Tips

At the end of every advanced search workshop that we run, the delegates vote on their 10 top search tips. The latest course was run for UKeiG (UK eInformation Group) on Friday, October 28th and was held at CILIP in London. A summary of the tips is given below but a more detailed explanation will appear in the UKeiG members newsletter eLucidate, and in the members area on the UKeiG web site.

1. Use domain/site search to limit by type of site and to search individual sites that are difficult to navigate.

2. for a quick way to run your search in different search tools one by one.

3. Use Yahoo for complex nested Boolean searches.

4. Think about the format that the information might be in and use the filetype options to narrow down your search.

5. “Disappearing” pages: use the search engines’ cached pages for recently disappeared pages or the Wayback Machine for older pages and sites.

6. Use the Google numeric range when searching for ranges of prices, distances, weights, temperatures, years etc.

7. Don’t give up! If your favourite search engine is not working, try another one or a different type of resource.

8. Graball for comparing the results from 2 search engines side by side.

9. Copernic Desktop for desktop search.

10. Yahoo Mindset to adjust the ranking of results (“shopping” versus “research”)