Search engines help you find what you need on the Web, but various engines perform searches in different ways. This week, we provide tips to help you get results when using search engines.
This Week's Tips
Operators Narrow Search Results (Monday)
Use operators to help you get the results you need when using a search engine. Operators are the rules or specific instructions used for composing a search (or query) in a keyword search. A well-defined query greatly improves the chances of finding the information you are looking for. Most search engine Web sites have HELP links that will provide you with further information on how to refine your search.
Case Sensitive Search Engines (Tuesday)
Use lowercase text when entering search terms. If you search using capitals in proper nouns and don't get the results you want, try searching again using all lowercase text. This may improve your results because some search engines are case-sensitive. When you use uppercase text, some search engines will only find instances where uppercase results exist, thus ignoring matching terms whose case doesn't match.
Find Phrases with Search Engines (Wednesday)
When searching for an exact phrase, include quotation marks around the phrase. The search engine will provide results in which the words in your phrase occur together on the Web page. Using quotes limits the results of your search and is ideal for searching authors' names, titles of works and exact phrases.
Boolean Operators Help You Search (Thursday)
Try using Boolean operators when you need to limit your search. "Boolean" operators are words such as AND, OR, NOT, or NEAR and are used when searching for a specific combination of words. The operators are placed in between search terms to group, exclude, or detect two words that occur in close proximity to one another. Boolean operators need to be in all capital letters.
Search Engines Support + and - (Friday)
Use plus (+) and minus (-) signs in your Internet searches. These operators are used to include or exclude words, much like the Boolean operators AND and NOT. To include a word in your search, place a plus sign (+) immediately before the word (no spaces). To ensure that a word is excluded from your search, place a minus sign (-) immediately before the word (no spaces).