Advanced Searching : Seven Search Tips

My
plump
starfish
quickly
lowered
Lincoln's
tie.
minus
plus
star
quotes
lower case
link:
title:
-exclude
+include
wildcard*
"phrases in quotes"
case MATTERS
find pages linked
find words in the title

These rules apply specifically to the Altavista Search Engine. They may also be used on other search engines.

Include and Exclude (+ and -): My Plump

The first two basic tools to practice with the simple search are the use of + and - to include or exclude words.

Example: +Technology -Computers

Note: There is no space between the + or - and the word it precedes


Use the Wildcard (*): Starfish

One mistake that is made is to inadvertantly narrow a search by excluding variations on a word.

Example: +computers

This entry would exclude all of the instances of the singular form of the word (computer)

So, +computer* would be a better choice. The * (wildcard) stands for "any letter or variation".

Use "Quotes" to Look for a Phrase: Quickly

A sequence of words as a query will look for documents that contain any of those words. To find those words as a phrase, put double quotes around the sequence of words

Example: technology in the classroom

This entry would look for documents or web pages that include any of these words.

Example: "technology in the classroom"

This entry would look for documents or web pages that include these words as a phrase.

use lower case (usually): Lowered

Unless you are after a particular spelling of a word, use all lower case in your search terms.

Example: "Technology in the Classroom"

This entry would find documents or web pages that include this phrase only as it is presented with the capital letters.

Example: "technology in the classroom"

This entry would find documents or web pages that include this phrase in any form including with the capital letters.

Use the link: Tag to Find Pages Linked to Another Page: Lincoln's

A search for a page that has a link to a certain URL may be an search term by using the (link:) tag. If you use all or part of a URL after the (link:) tag you will get pages that are linked to the page at that URL.

Example: link: http://www.computerarts.co.uk/

This entry would find web pages that are linked to this URL.

Use the title: Tag to Focus Your Search: Tie

This tag will help you locate pages by looking for pages that have your search term in their title. This narrows your search.

Example: title: education

This entry would find web pages that have the term "education" in their title.

The source for this information is http://edweb.sdsu.edu/WebQuest/searching/sevensteps.html

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