Tag Archives: site search

Top 10 Search Tips from Edinburgh – March 2008

CILIPS organised an advanced search workshop in Edinburgh, which I led. The participants were from a variety of types of organisation including academic, publishers, public sector, health and commercial. At the end of the workshop they compiled a group Top 10 Search Tips. This is their list:

  1. Yahoo! Finance – http://finance.yahoo.co.uk/ for the UK version. Yahoo! Finance gives an overview of quoted companies on the major stock exchanges around the world. Information includes current share price information, downloadable historical share price figures, charts, recent news, company profiles and director dealings.
  2. Make use of the file format search available in Google, Yahoo, Live and Exalead (but not Ask). Use the advanced search screens, the filetype: command in Google, Exalead and Live, or originurlextension: in Yahoo. For example filetype:ppt . Search for ppt or pdf when looking for presentations; PDF for government, official and industry/market reports; xls for spreadsheets containing statistical data; and rss or xml to locate RSS feeds.
  3. Looking for papers by an academic? Find out where they currently work, or have worked in the past, and conduct a site search to see if any of their articles are in an institutional repository.
  4. People are an invaluable source of information and help. Join discussion lists to tap into their knowledge, for example JISCmail at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/ has a wide selection of lists covering many different topics.
  5. Use the site or domain search to look for difficult to find information on a particular web site, or to limit your search to types of organisation for example gov.uk for UK government or ac.uk for UK academic pages. Use the advanced search screens of the search engines or the site: command for example site:statistics.gov.uk car ownership.
  6. Make more use of the advanced search screen options including intitle, inurl and search engine specific features. For example Google’s numeric range search and Exalead’s phonetic and approximate spelling options.
  7. Combine commands in the main search box for more complex search strategies, for example: carbon emissions trading ~forecasts site:gov.uk 2012..2015 filetype:xls OR filetype:pdf
  8. Use the link commands to find pages that link to a known page or web site. This usually helps you find pages of similar content and type. Live.com’s link commands have been de-activated but Yahoo’s still work. To find pages that link to a specific page on a site use link: followed by the full URL of the page, for example link:http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/stats.htm . To find pages that link to anywhere on a site use linkdomain: followed by the domain, for example linkdomain:rba.co.uk. Live.com’s linkfromdomain command, which is still working, lists all the external links on a site, for examle linkfromdomain:rba.co.uk
  9. View the search engines’ cached copies of pages to highlight and locate your search terms in long documents.
  10. Try the Wayback Machine at http://www.archive.org/ for lost pages, documents or sites.