This is the "Search Tips" page of the "Comm 1 Summer" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Comm 1 Summer  

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Search Tips Print Page


Librarian Rule # 3: Not Every Search Tool Is As Smart As Google - Not Even Google

  • Google seems to always give you what you want - or does it just convince you to want what it gives you?
  • Most other search tools (library catalogs, magazine databases, etc.) have no "smarts" behind the scenes, so you have to be the smart one - big responsibility.
  • Garbage in, garbage out!

Don't surrender control of all of your searches to the tool you are using - Fight Mind Control!


Search Tips -- Techniques you can use most anywhere

Each information resource has its own search methods for you to use, from point-and-click handholding to lots of refinement and focusing options for zeroing in on just the right information. One of the most powerful search tools is called Boolean searching, a fancy way of saying you can use AND, OR, and NOT logic.

Narrows a search, requiring more than one condition to be present. Broadens a search, used with synonyms or equivalent concepts. Narrows a search by excluding one or more terms. Use with caution...

This logic may look different in different search tools, but it always works as described above. You can often use parentheses to separate the concepts in your search to make sure the computer does not produce unintended results.

A few other key search techniques that can be used in many search tools:

  • Double-quotes, to force 2+ terms together (works almost everywhere)
    • "to be or not to be"
    • "someday I'm gonna get it right my life"
  • Truncation (often an asterisk), to search terms beginning with same letters (mostly catalogs & databases)
    • educat*
    • homeless*

Now let's see how these techniques can be used in various information sources:

  • Cabrillo Library Catalog, ProQuest & EBSCOhost databases: (california or oregon) and (exam* or test*) and "real estate"
  • Google search engine: california OR oregon exam OR test "real estate"


Search terms: choose your search terms carefully in databases and library catalogs - these tools are not as sophisticated as search engines like Google. Try searching the sentence what are the best public speaking tips in various search tools.


Loading  Loading...