Before You Leap!
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.
Quotes Around Your Phrase
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.
Boolean Operator NOT to Filter Results
When searching for a common subject, use the NOT operator
to filter out what you don't want, like this: columbia
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.
to use the Boolean Operator AND to
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
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.
to use OR
for best results
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
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.
to use NEAR to narrow your search
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
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.
Boolean operators for powerful search results
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.
the Plus & Minus (+/-) Signs Instead
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.
Can Help with Complex Requests
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.
to Use the TITLE Search to Find Pages
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.