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SEARCH TIP ARCHIVES
Read and use them to help you find what you're looking for!

Search Tips for 2000

Look Before You Leap! (10/00)
Hold your mouse over the buttons or site names of the EZ Engine to read the caption of the link BEFORE you click to search! Each site has been hand-picked and has a specially-written description to help you decide where to go next and how to search. Give it a try right now.

Use Quotes Around Your Phrase (11/5)
Sometimes it helps to use quote marks ("")to search for an exact phrase. Put them at the begining and end of your phrase, like "rhino lining" to find that brand of spray-on truck lining more quickly, instead of searching for rhino or lining separately. Give it a try right now.


Use Boolean Operator NOT to Filter Results (11/12)
When searching for a common subject, use the NOT operator to filter out what you don't want, like this:
columbia NOT shuttle. Be sure to leave a space between your words, and check the engine descriptions (October's Tip) to see if your favorite engine supports boolean operators, indicated by [b + -]. Give it a try right now.

How to use the Boolean Operator AND to your advantage (11/19)
To get a better search result, use AND to include a term that must be included for a good result, like brand and model number in this example: digital cameras AND Olympus AND 490. This forces the search engine to only look for pages where all of these terms appear, instead of just some of the terms. This is especially powerful in combination with NOT operator (see Nov 12 Tip). And remember to leave spaces between the words. Give it a try right now.


How to use OR for best results (11/26)
Another tool in your searching toolkit is to use OR to include a term that could be included for a relevant results, but is not necessary. Example: Bush OR Gore OR election results. This is the same as just putting in the words together, separated by spaces, like this: Bush Gore election results. This is the default for most engines. The engine will look for any of the terms, not necessarily in any particular order. Remember, when you combine it with other operators like AND or NOT, then things really begin to happen! Give it a try right now.


How to use NEAR to narrow your search (12/3)
One more tool to use is the NEAR operator. This tells the search engine that you want the two search terms close together on the same page. Here's how to enter it: "Supreme court" NEAR Florida. This helps exclude any results about web pages or articles that discuss the Supreme Court but aren't about Florida. The quote marks force the engine to see Supreme Court as a phrase (Nov 5 tip), and not individual words. For best results, remember to capitalize the boolean operators. Next week we'll combine some operators for very powerful results! Give it a try right now.


Combine Boolean operators for powerful search results (12/10)
Recently we've used the NOT, AND, OR and NEAR operators to help filter search results. But the real power is in combined use. To get information on Justice Scalia's decisions before the 2000 presidential election, try: "supreme court" AND Scalia OR Souter NOT recount on the Inference Find search engine. This tells the engine the result must include a) the Supreme court, b) any reference to Justices Scalia or Souter(fairly likely), and c) exclude any results about the hand recounts. Play with combinations of operators to get the results you're after, and try them in different engines - you'll get a variety of results. And remember to capitalize the boolean operators. Give it a try right now.

Use the Plus & Minus (+/-) Signs Instead (12/17)
You don't always have to use the standard AND, NOT, OR & NEAR operators to use advanced filters. The plus sign (+) and minus (-) do pretty much the same thing as AND and NOT. But beware, some engines won't recognize booleans written out as AND, but they will the plus sign. The same goes for NOT and minus. To see what engines accept what operators, hold your mouse over the links in the EZ engine and look for the [b + -] indicators. If they have both, then you can search using either way (b=standard boolean). Give it a try right now.

Nesting Can Help with Complex Requests (12/24)
Sometimes you need very specific information. This requires a more complex way to filter for specific keywords. Use parentheses ( ) around the second level of detail you want to search for. This is called Nesting and most major engines support it. Copy and paste retail sales (Christmas OR holiday) into the search field above and click on Lycos. To see what engines support what features, see the Search Engine Features page on Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch site. Give it a try right now.


How to Use the TITLE Search to Find Pages (12/31)
Most of the search engines support a TITLE search. This means that you can search just the <TITLE> tags of web pages instead of all the page text that the search engine normally indexes(hint: the title appears at the top of your browser window). Enter this in the search box: title:"weather predictions" and click on the Altavista link. And don't put a space between the colon and the first word or it won't work correctly. NOTE: In Yahoo you must use t:(term) instead of title:(term) and in Lycos you must use their Advanced Engine. In the example above, the phrase is enclosed in quotes to make sure it searches for that exact string in the TITLE tag (see Nov 5 Tip). To see what engines support what features, see the Search Engine Features page on Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch site. Use our EZ Engine and do a search on your favorite subject right now.

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