University of Nebraska Medical Center

Become a Google pro with these search tips

Submitted by Cindy Schmidt

Need to find a government report on hazardous waste disposal, or want a table that outlines the data on the age-specific efficacy of the shingles vaccine?  You’ll want to start with a  an internet search, probably a Google or Google Scholar search.

There are techniques you can use to make your Google and Google Scholar searches more focused and efficient.

Perhaps you want a CDC-produced table that shows the efficacy of herpes zoster vaccine in different age groups.  Try:

site:.gov intitle:zoster OR intitle:shingles intitle:vaccine OR intitle:immunization efficacy “age groups” table

(When you review the results, remember that the tables may be linked to the document rather than embedded in the narrative (Use the “find on page” feature to search for table 1, then table 2, etc.))

site: limits your search to web addresses that contain the specified characters.

site:.gov , for example,  indicates that you want to retrieve only those websites produced with a .gov domain (this includes all U.S. federal and state government agencies).

intitle: limits your search to web pages with the specified word in their title

OR indicates that one or the other of the adjacent terms must be present.  OR is used to join synonyms or words used for a single concept.

intitle:zoster OR intitle:shingles , for example, means that the titles of the retrieved web sites will contain either the word “zoster” or the word “shingles”.

” ___”  (double quotes around a phrase) indicate that the enclosed words must be found adjacent to each other and in the order you’ve specified.

“age groups” , for example, will  not retrieve a webpage just because that webpage contains the words “groups” and “age” in separate locations as in an article that  “mentions that some groups of investigators feel that shingles vaccine should not be given to members of the general public under 50 years of age”

Perhaps you want to look for articles about “Vitamin E” from websites that do not sell vitamin E.  Try:

“vitamin e” cart

-_____  The minus sign, when placed immediately in front of a word (no intervening space), indicates that you do not want that word to be present in the results retrieved.

“vitamin e” -cart , for example, retrieves webpages that mention “vitamin e” but do not contain a shopping cart.

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